DirectorAmando de Ossorio
Release Date(s)1975 (February 13, 2018)
Studio(s)Profilmes SA/Ancla Century Films/Set Films/Victory Films (Shout!/Scream Factory)
- Film/Program Grade: C-
- Video Grade: B-
- Audio Grade: C
- Extras Grade: D+
The fourth film in the Blind Dead series, Night of the Seagulls (aka La noche de las gaviotas, Don’t Go Out at Night, Terror Beach, and Night of the Death Cult) brings back director Amando de Ossorio to finish his series of horror films about the resurrected Knights Templar who return from the grave to kill the living. In this installment, they rise at night to sacrifice young women in a small village, one by one. A newly-arrived doctor and his wife soon learn of this mysterious ritual and take it upon themselves to put an end to it before the Templars put an end to them.
A surprisingly low key affair, Night of the Seagulls features mild bloodshed and occasional nudity, but the sequences involving the bodies of sacrificial victims being offered to large crabs are perhaps the most effective and disgusting of all. The pace of the film, in particular any sequences involving the Templars themselves, is painfully slow. There’s some suspense in its final half hour once the Templars begin to close in on our protagonists, and there’s also a bit of sympathy felt for the story’s village idiot, who is poorly mistreated by the local townspeople. His only story function is to spout expository dialogue, but also used as an initial fright for the lovely María Kosti, who is always a welcome face.
Following Tombs of the Blind Dead, Return of the Blind Dead, and The Ghost Galleon, fans are often divided about Night of the Seagulls. As for myself, I found the film intriguing without being totally over the moon for it. Although having all four films in high definition would have been an ideal way to experience them for the first time, Scream Factory has expressly stated that they are trying to sort out the distribution rights to the other three films. Hopefully that will come to pass.
As for Scream Factory’s release of Night of the Seagulls, its transfer comes from the same company that provided Scream Factory with film transfers for The Paul Naschy Collection boxed sets, meaning that these are older HD transfers. That said, this presentation bests most of the Naschy boxed set titles. It’s a tad soft with very light grain levels but crisper detail than its DVD counterpart. Color reproduction also offers decent hues, particularly reds and greens. Black levels are deep and inky as well with obvious crush, but overall brightness and contrast is quite satisfying. Multiple scratches and speckling are leftover as well. Two audio tracks have been included: English and Castilian 2.0 mono DTS-HD, both with optional English subtitles. Neither track appears much cleaner than the other, but the English audio often sounds like a machine gun at various places throughout the film, thumping along with some frequency. Hiss, dropouts, and crackle vary on both tracks as well. Dialogue is discernable, with sound effects and score often having a canned feeling without much fidelity. Extras include an excellent audio commentary by Rob Barnett and Troy Guinn of the Naschycast podcast (who go into a great amount of detail about the Blind Dead series) and the film’s original English language theatrical trailer in HD. Not carried over from Blue Underground’s DVD release is a poster and still gallery.
Released various times on DVD through BCI, Blue Underground, and Anchor Bay in the U.K., the Blind Dead series has always been a cult favorite for horror fans the world over. Night of the Seagulls may not be the most appealing entry in the series to some of those fans, but getting more Spanish horror cinema in high definition for consumption is a good thing. Perhaps sometime down the road, the other three films in this series will join in.
- Tim Salmons