Spanish director Amando de Ossorio died the same year as Lucio Fulci, at roughly the same age. However, Ossorio’s death did not spark much of a resurgence of interest in his work, as was the case with Fulci. Both directors were capable of inspired craftsmanship, even when their material was extremely poor. On the other hand, both were also capable of falling flat on their faces. Both made their most enduring statements in the zombie subgenre, Fulci with a cycle of movies beginning with Zombie 2 in 1979, and Ossorio with his “Blind Dead” tetralogy (1971 – 75). Yet I think it’s highly unlikely that Ossosio will ever achieve the posthumous regard that Fulci has been given, in spite of the obvious talent he displayed in the “Blind Dead” series.

The reason is simple: outside the (considerable) achievement of Noche del Terror Ciego / Tombs of the Blind Dead, Ossorio did very little else to endear him to genre audiences. His first horror film, Malenka, was a vampire comedy; released in the US as Fangs of the Living Dead, it didn’t make much of an impact, and is very little-known today. I’ve never seen Malenka, but I have seen a number of his other films, including:

  • a dreadful Exorcist ripoff called La Endemoniada / The Possessed, an insipid film about a witch who takes over the soul of a child. This is one of the dullest, dumbest movies to attempt to cash in on the possession vogue. Harald Gruenberger’s review will tell you all you need to know about this sorry, sorry film…
  • Las Garras de Lorelei / Clutch of the Lorelei / When the Screaming Stops, a Spanish take on an old German folk legend. The Lorelei was a ghostly seductress who lured young men to their deaths beneath the waters of the Rhein. In the film, the Lorelei is a sometimes a beautiful woman (Helga Line!!), and sometimes a huge lizardy creature that mauls its victims. A big game hunter, played with laughable machismo by Tony Kendall, comes to kill the marauding creature, but ends up falling in love with the beast in her human form. ALong the way he discovers that she’s guarding the treasure of the Nibelungen in her underwater caverns… Luis Barboo even shows up as Alberic. Oh, it’s a mess… Wagner is spinning in his grave.
  • Let’s not forget The Sea Serpent, the last film for both Ossorio and his star, Ray Milland. This is a movie which the normally-enthusiastic Video Search of Miami catalog summed up as “Ossorio’s bad joke”. Read the hilariously in-depth review at Jabootu.com.

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