The Ghost Galleon aka Horror of the Zombies – Spain, 1974

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”They exist on the flesh of the young and beautiful’

The Ghost Galleon – original title: El Buque maldito is a 1974 Spanish supernatural horror film written and directed by Amando de Ossorio (Tombs of the Blind Dead, Night of the Seagulls, Demon Witch Child; et al). It stars Maria Perschy, Jack Taylor and Bárbara Rey.

In the US, the film was released by Sam Sherman’s Independent-International as Horror of the Zombies.

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A pair of swimsuit models are out in a boat to stage a publicity stunt by appearing to be stranded. They discover a mysterious galleon shrouded in mist and board it.

When contact is lost, the wealthy and unscrupulous businessman who sent them out decides to mount his own rescue mission and abducts one of the models’ friends. The abducted girl makes an unsuccessful escape attempt. The businessman and his secretary recruit an eccentric scholar to assist them in their search for the missing models and their boat.

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Unfortunately, the phantom galleon carries the coffins of the Knights Templar, eyeless living dead beings who hunt humans by sound…

 

Reviews:

“The entire first half plays out as a wonderfully suspenseful set piece in which the Blind Dead gradually make themselves known, whilst he even manages a nice little twist at the film’s closing even as he fluffs the ending. Indeed, The Ghost Galleon may not be the best example of a Blind Dead movie, but it’s by no means a major disappointment. ” Anthony Nield, The Digital Fix

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“although the essential ingredients of de Ossorio’s tried recipe are present, … here they aren’t as well exploited as the first two movies.” Peter Dendle, Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide

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The Ghost Galleon is a very nicely shot film, and the sequences on the ship are a nice fit with Amando de Ossorio’s taste for the eerie and atmospheric. The Templars themselves look great, although the miniature effects are ridiculous, looking almost as if the ship had been yanked out of a box of Fruity Pebbles and dropped in a bathtub.” Adam Tyner, DVD Talk

“And at the very end Ossorio rallies with a marvellous scene of the Templars emerging from the sea and advancing across a Costa Blanca beach in silent pursuit of our oblivious heroes. It’s too little too late, however, for El buque maldito is hamstrung, not only by utterly pathetic model shots of the titular ship, but also a lethargic lack of incident that kills viewer involvement stone dead.” Jonathan Rigby, Euro Gothic

Buy: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

“The first hour is somewhat slow, with the running time including posing sessions with the models and a rather incongruous scene in which the megalomaniacal magnate holds the model’s roommate hostage in a dungeon-like chamber … The atmospheric scenes aboard the decrepit galleon (long shots of which obviously are of a model ship, unfortunately) are genuinely creepy…” TV Guide

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Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

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Cast and characters:

  • Maria Perschy as Lillian
  • Jack Taylor as Howard Tucker
  • Bárbara Rey as Noemi
  • Carlos Lemos as Professor Grüber
  • Manuel de Blas as Sergio
  • Blanca Estrada as Kathy
  • Margarita Merino as Lorena Kay

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Choice dialogue:

Female photographer: “C’mon Greta, lean back and stick them out.”

Lillian (Maria Perschy): “I think he’s seen too many horror films.”

Offline reading:

Spanish Horror Film by Antonio Lázaro-Rebell, Edinburgh University Press

Buy: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

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