Tombs of the Blind Dead aka La Noche del Terror Ciego / Night of Blind Horror

To its credit, Tombs begins with an attempt at establishing its characters. It’s not terribly successful, but it’s a noble attempt. Old school friends Bette and Virginia run into each other at a Portuguese resort. Virginia’s “friend” Roger comes along and is immediately attracted to Bette. He spontaneously invites her to come with him and Virginia on a little excursion the next day. Virginia is disconcerted by this, and attempts to dissuade Bette from coming, but Roger insists.

The next morning, at the train station, Bette arrives late and insists that she can’t come along. Roger shames her into coming, much to Virginia’s displeasure. On the train, Roger flirts a bit with Bette, who takes his attention with good humor. Virginia, however, is very upset, and runs off to the end of the train to be alone.

Roger thinks he understands. But after all, he insists, there wasn’t anything between him and Virginia… and, well, these things happen. However, Bette insists on being the one to go and talk to Virginia. Thus we find out (as will Roger shortly thereafter) that the guy’s misunderstood the whole situation: Bette is a lesbian, and she and Virginia had a brief relationship in their school days; and now Virginia is jealous not of losing Roger, but of losing Bette.

At this point in the film there’s an embarrassing flashback, as the two actresses pretend to be schoolgirls and pantomime their first encounter. Many European horror films of the late 60’s and 70’s are similarly marred by a fascination with male-fantasy stage lesbians. Of course, toady, instead of having otherwise interesting movies spoiled by these naïve inserts, we have entire bad movies dedicated to male-fantasy stage lesbians, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too loudly.

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