The People Who Own the Dark (1976)

THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THE DARK (1976)
aka Ultimo deseo
Article 3028 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-22-2009
Posting Date: 11-28-2009
Directed by Leon Klimovsky
Featuring Nadiuska, Alberto de Mendoza, Tony Kendall
Country: Spain

A group of devotees of the Marquis de Sade are underground when atomic explosions rip through the country. They emerge to discover that they are the only ones with sight left, and they fight for their lives among increasingly hostile blind villagers.

Save for a couple of hints of the story to come, the first twenty minutes of this movie makes it look like it’s warming up to an exploitation-style horror movie. Then, once the bombs go off, it shifts to a survivors-of-the-apocalypse plot. A visit to the nearby village and an encounter with the blind villagers makes it look like a variation on THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS. Then, after some unfortunate murders, the angry blind villagers go on a rampage and the movie becomes a very strange version of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. The shear oddness of the concept is enough to hold your interest, and the cast (which also includes Paul Naschy, Maria Perschy and Teresa Gimpera) also helps things along. However, once your mind kicks in, you’ll see a lot of absurdity and silliness to the events. Why do the atomic blasts only blind the villagers with no other side effects? Why does the one survivor think he’s a dog? Why does another survivor knife a gun-toting blind man when he and the other five sighted people can easily take the gun from him? Why, when their very day-to-day survival is at stake, do the villagers decide to storm the home of the survivors for the sole purpose of terrorizing them and killing them? The more you think about, the more ridiculous the whole movie seems. Still, if you want to see the only movie that combines the talent of screenwriter Vicente Aranda and horror actor Paul Naschy, this is it.

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