Hollywood Gothique
LA Cinema Gothique

Night of the Seagulls & Spielberg’s Munich – The Templar Connection

Just finished with NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS, the last film in Blue Underground’s DVD box set of the four “Blind Dead” movies. You can read the review here.

Watching all these Blind Dead movies must have really sunk into my brain, because an odd thought popped into my head while watching MUNICH: Steven Spielberg must have watched a lot of trashy exploitation horror films when he was growing up, and it crops up into his work. The interesting thing is that he kept himself relatively restrained when making his official horror film, JAWS, but since he became a serious artist with SCHINDLER’S LIST, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, and now MUNICH, he feels free to let the gore flow fast and furious — he knows he can get away with it because no one’s going to accuse him of being a sleazy exploitation filmmaker when he’s tackling such heavy-duty, serious, fact-based material.

What brought all this to mind was the scene wherein the Israeli hit team tracks down and assassinates a hit woman who previous killed one of their members. She’s very pretty and attractive, and in an attempt to distract the men from her mission, she pulls her robe off her shoulders, exposing her torso. The men fire anyway, putting at least one bullet directly between her breasts. She expires messily in a welter of gore, and when we see her naked body sprawled in a chair, it looks as if she has been not only murdered but sexually violated in some awful fashion.

Compare this with the brutal human sacrifice scenes that appear in three of the four Blind Dead movies: the titular characters (an order of the Knights Templar) forcefully rip open blouses of their female victims and stab or hack away. the visual similarities are unmistakable, not only in the juxtaposition of breats and blood but also in the slow-lingering death of the victims, who are given plenty of time to gasp and gurgle before finally expiring.

I’m not writing any of this to try to tear away at what Spielberg achieved in MUNICH (which I actually think is a very good film). I just think it’s interesting that the man who brought DAWN OF THE DEAD-style splatter(including messy decapitations) to World War II in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN is now mining Eurotrash like writer-director Amando de Ossorio’s Blind Dead series to underline a memorable scene in a film about anti-terrorism. It just goes to show there’s nothing so horrible that it can’t be elevated to the level of art, given the right context.