Night of the Seagulls is the fourth and final part of Amando de Ossorio’s Blind Dead films, following on from ‘Tombs of the Blind Dead’, ‘Return of the Evil Dead‘ and The Ghost Galleon.
The film’s original Spanish title is ‘La Noche de las gaviotas‘, but (specifically in the UK video market) it has also been released under the alternate title ‘Don’t Go Out at Night‘.
The film is the fourth and final in Ossorio’s Blind Dead series.
The films are essentially stand alone, so you don’t need to have seen the first three to watch this. Really the only thing the films have in common is their central premise of Satan-worshipping Knights Templar who are now blind and undead but continue to sacrifice the living to their master.
The film opens with an establishing sequence in medieval times in which a woman is kidnapped by the Knights (still alive at this point) and taken back to their castle. In the castle her heart is cut out and offered to a statue before the Knights eat her flesh.
Now the story jumps forward to the present day (1975) and to Dr Henry Stein and his wife Joan, who are moving to a remote seaside village. They get a cold reception from all but the mentally challenged Teddy and pretty young girl Lucy, who becomes their maid.To add to the couple’s concerns they are woken on their first night by a strange ritual on the beach. They go back to sleep and so miss a girl being chained to the rocks and horsemen coming for her. Her scream wakes them, followed by the sound of seagulls.
The following evening a girl comes to the doctor’s house looking for help, but her parents soon arrive to take her away again. Later that night she is chained up on the rocks waiting for the horsemen, who are of course the Knights Templar, now living skeletons shrouded in robes. They take her back to their castle where she is sacrificed just like the woman in the earlier flashback.
The following night the villagers come for Lucy who goes without protest. Teddy tells the Steins the whole story; the 600 year old Templars come every 7 years for 7 pretty girls to sacrifice; one a night for seven nights. The spirits of the girls become the seagulls. Dr Stein rescues Lucy just as the Horsemen arrive.
The next morning the village empties; they know the penalty for disobeying the Knights. That night the Knights come for the Steins, Lucy and Teddy (who was injured by the villagers for helping the Steins). Teddy is killed but the others escape on the Knights’ horses. Unfortunately the horses just head back to the castle and Lucy is killed on the way. Trapped in the castle with more Knights beginning to wake up around them, the Steins resolve to destroy the Knights’ evil statue. They push it off its plinth, smashing it, and the Knights drop to the floor, lifeless.
Despite having some creepy moments Night of the Seagulls is generally considered the weakest entry in the series. Compared with the previous films the Knights play a surprisingly small role and when they’re off-screen the film becomes far too slow and struggles to maintain its sense of menace. There are also some long lingering shots of crabs which seem to have some significance but it’s never clear why.
The standout feature of the Blind Dead series is probably the locations and atmosphere. Like the previous Blind Dead films before it, Night of the Seagulls is steeped in atmosphere and the locations used are genuinely eerie and unsettling. Even when the film hits its slow spots there is always a sense of tangible unease and spookiness that is maintained from the locations and cinematography, with mist and haze magnifying the otherworldly feel to the environments. The Knights Templar are also creepy (despite not showing up as much in this installment), moving at a glacial pace, and Anton Garcia Abril’s soundtrack and chanting theme are used again here to great effect.
All in all, Night of the Seagulls is serviceable and undeniably atmospheric, but if you’re keen to watch the Blind Dead series then this is not the place to start.
Watch the trailer for ‘Night of the Seagulls’
Watch the full film below
|Buy the film at Amazon.com|
|Buy the film at Amazon.co.uk|
Written by: Robin Bailes