More incredulous than the hooded, blind, deadly munchers in the Spanish Ghost Galleon (1974, aka Ship of Zombies, American release as Horror of the Zombies) is the fact that a swimsuit model is able to identify a multilevel sailing ship as a galleon.
She’s right, but not even her incredible vocab will save her from what’s crawling through the dark sea mist one fateful evening.
The third film in writer/director Amando de Ossorio’s Blind Dead series features the undead Knights Templar — Satan-worshiping mummies who Ossorio didn’t think of as mindless corpses but rather vampire-feeding entities that hunt by sound.
It’s just as well: we never seem them feed (folks only disappear in their presence). But I’ll concede that they have enough creep factor — accompanied by plenty of Temple of Doom chanting — to make for damn effective boogeymen.
Blood MoneyTwo buxom swimsuit models (zombies + 70s = someone’s gotta be buxom) are staging a publicity stunt in the middle of the ocean aboard a boat that appears to be stranded on the water. (Sidenote: how is this supposed to sell more swimsuits? Won’t everyone who hears the news story have a complete bummer association with their brand? Galleon Suits…Weren’t those the ones those poor, poor girls were wearing when they almost died?… I’ll take six).
Well karma’s a bitch, and these fate-tempting temptresses soon board a mysterious ghost ship that randomly appears. It’s full of coffins carrying blind, hooded mummies — not exactly the it crowd they hoped for. The money-hungry businessman who planned all this PR stunt business loses contact with the ladies and assembles a rescue party. But if his intuition is anything like his PR prowess, you can imagine how this all might end.
“Hi. Yes, can I get one Large Undead Cult? Oh, but please hold the Satan.”Ghost Galleon is nicely atmospheric — almost always misty, blue, and dark throughout. The opening shot of a satanic skull and the opening font are both gorgeous (Hipster tip: Screenprint the title card onto the back of a denim jacket and talk up how indie of a zombie film nerd you are! Nightmare Before Christmas honeys will flock). But aside from a very brief second skull appearance before the movie’s closing, the set piece doesn’t deliver on its unspoken promise of a sick satanic setting.
While we’re on the topic of delivering, nothing really happens in this movie. It moves at a snail’s pace and doesn’t build to climax. I imagine 1974 without thinking of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a touchstone, and just think of how much goes on in that little ditty. The older era is no excuse for slower pacing, and to not follow the normal zombie pattern of “build-up, build-up, payoff, repeat” leaves enough foreplay aboard to make anyone uncomfortable.
Like too many zombie flicks that have come before it, the coolest parts of Ghost Galleon are all in the theatrical poster — and of a scene that isn’t even in the film. Never a good sign, but I guess I can’t blame the blind Knights Templar for not seeing it coming.
This is widely regarded as the weakest film in the ‘Blind Dead’ series, but it’s not without its moments. The film is now in the public domain, so if you are a zombie-completest, or you don’t mind losing a little bit of your life to this atmospheric but flawed film, then you can watch the full movie below.
Watch ‘The Ghost Galleon’ below:
|Buy the film at Amazon.com|
|Buy the film at Amazon.co.uk|
Written by: Ben Mueller