Night of the Seagulls (1975)

Night of the Seagulls (1975)

For seven nights every seven years, the Templar Knights rise from the dead to claim their sacrificial offerings from a fishing village in return for the safety of the rest of the townspeople. When a new doctor and his wife move to the village, they are ignored by the locals. But when night falls, an eerie distant bell rings and a flock of seagulls hovers around the beach at midnight, the doctor and his wife stumble upon the secret the villagers have.

 

The final instalment in the Blind Dead series, Night of the Seagulls once again pulls out the stops to create a moody, effective piece which sends the deadly Templar Knights off on a high. It’s briskly paced with quite a lean running time and once again assumes that the viewer hasn’t seen any of the other films by reworking the origins of the Knights so that although it’s the third sequel, it’s almost a standalone film more akin to something like The Wicker Man.

Night of the Seagulls adds nothing of real note to the series though and just slaps together the series’ trademarks of gore, nudity and a truly haunting atmosphere with a rather flimsy story which doesn’t do the Templars justice at all and gives them little reason to be in the film. The Templars aren’t on screen for that long and the residents of the fishing village have become the villains of the piece here, acting as generic horror film locals who fear outsiders and cast them aside (you know the type, The Wicker Man, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc.).

However when the Templars do appear, they are once again the highlight of the film. There is a highly effective siege sequence where they surround and then break into a house before fighting with the survivors inside. And there are plenty of slow motion scenes of them riding on horseback along the beach in pursuit of their nubile virgin sacrifices. They look as crusty and decomposed as always which really ups their creep factor. You never believe for a moment that these are simply men in costumes – they are zombie knights looking for blood. Their whole aurora is awesome – right from the sounds that they make to the slow, lumbering way they turn and just the whole sense that you can’t escape them despite their obviously limited speed. They are truly unique horror creations and it’s a real pity that they haven’t become as iconic or famous as Romero’s zombie hordes.

As I’ve already said, one of the trademarks of this series is atmosphere and Night of the Seagulls reeks of it. The day-for-night scenes of the beach sacrifices have a dream-like quality to them as if they’re not really happening. The white beaches contrast immensely with the procession of black robe-wearing villagers and then the horse-riding Templar Knights. I honestly can’t really pick too many faults with this film. I think the only main problem is that it tones down on the gore and nudity from the previous films which is a shame considering some of the virgins sacrificed are way too hot to be left that way! I guess the obviously toned-down budget had a lot to do with what they had to cut back on and unfortunately the most expensive things were the things that made the other films so successful – namely plenty of Templar action and lots of blood. And it does take a while to get going but like many similar-themed horror flicks, the pay-off is well worth the wait.

 

Night of the Seagulls is a strong final showing for the Templar Knights. It’s a brooding horror flick which delivers the goods with both jumpy visual shocks and more spine-tingling moments. Although not a patch on the original couple of films, it’s still a quality sequel to a series which really does deserve a lot more respect and fame than it gets.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

 

 

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