Shock Waves

Well, it’s time to take a dip into the interesting sub-genre of Nazi Zombies. This one comes from the later ‘70s when zombie flicks were all the rage. Apparently, regular zombies were no longer scary enough. So, naturally Nazis were added to the mix. And just like that the single most evil vile things in horror history were created. Shock Waves proves itself amongst the bunch as one of the best. Though, the genre is a little short on films. Off the top of my head I can only think off five films: Zombie Lake, Dead Snow, The Frozen Dead (the first of its kind), Oasis of the Zombies and The Keep. Outpost should be included as well I guess and, of course, a mention should go out to the Call of Duty video game franchise for their special work with the undead SS.

A group of tourists on a cruise are struck by a ghost ship and are forced to take to safety on a nearby island. The one problem being the island and the surround waters are infested with undead Nazis who still think it’s 1943. With the Nazi zombies bent on destruction and death, the travelers must band together in order to survive. But if you watch the first three minutes of the movie you will already know how it ends. Yes, the whole film is told through a flashback from the one surviving member of the ill-fated tour.

The tourists are an interesting bunch. Together they seem to have the IQ of a rock (that might be too kind). Their best quality seems to be the ability to lose boats that could potentially save their lives. No joke, the lose boats or attempt to lose boats about every 25 minutes. On the good side Peter Cushing and John Carradine both have small roles in the film; with Cushing playing a long forgotten SS Commander / Hotel operator and Carradine playing a drunken Captain. Both are excellent as to be expected. The rest of the cast, outside of the sexy Brooke Adams (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), are pretty much throwaway. I did however root for the young soft-spoken man’s mustache to survive. It’s a thing of beauty that even Tom Sellick would be proud of.

Approximately half the film is the group finding and then losing a boat due to moronic reasons. Another entire third of the flick is saved for shots of Nazi zombies rising out of various pools of water (Ocean, rivers, pools, etc). Some other time is spent watching the zombies walk slowly underwater. The rest of the time the group is running around dying. Unfortunately, and this is a biggy, there is next to no blood, no sprays, and definitively no eating of the flesh. The kills are some of the weakest and lamest in zombie history. All these members of the undead SS wanna do is drown people…slowly.

So, while the film itself has a solid premise and the thought of an army of the undead is rather frightening; there are exactly zero scares. It’s like the film was made for Disney or something. Why is there no blood? Why no sweet decapitations? Why damnit? Why? The best thing Shock Waves has going for it is the atmosphere. To its credit, the hotel, Cushing and the dire situation are well done. There’s just simply no scares. And the ones that are attempted fall flat on their unscary?Nazi?zombie faces.

Still though, this effort has plenty of charm and should be sought out and watched by all of those lovers of Nazi zombie flicks.

Rating: 6/10

Snore Factor: ZZZ

IMDB 1977


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