With the month of September being The Horror Syndicate’s designated “Zombie Month”, I wanted to take a look at a film that is considered a part of a sub-genre within the zombie sub-genre of horror. I know you’re probably thinking, huh? But I am talking about Nazi Zombies. Over the years there has been quite a few films dedicated to this certain type of walking dead. Some are really good and some, well… are really fucking awful.
Zombie Lake (1980), Oasis of the Zombies (1981), The Outpost (2008) series and The Dead Snow (2009) series are just a few of note. But I want to focus on one of the first and probably the best of the Nazi Zombie flicks. I had the opportunity of tracking this film down on blu-ray recently and immediately popped it in the day it arrived. So let us dive into 1977’s Shock Waves. Shall we?
The story begins with a small yachting party/cruise. The yacht is captained by none other than John Carradine. Who is one of the fab four so to speak, of horror movie stars that includes Christopher Lee, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing. Anywho, the boat sails into a terribly dense fog that is near impossible to navigate through. Eventually they run aground upon the shallow reefs. Shipwrecked, the group are forced to paddle to a nearby island that houses what appears to be an abandoned hotel or resort. The arrival of these uninvited guests, is not well received by the lone living inhabitant of the island, who is played by the aforementioned Cushing. Their arrival has also awoken an evil army. Can they fight back?
This film was very effective. The acting, apart from the greatness that is Carradine and Cushing was sub-par at best. The only part I didn’t like was that these two horror screen legends, never shared a scene together in this film. Which is not a deal breaker. But once the zombies revealed themselves, the tone of the film became very frantic. Soon the actors were chaotically trying to flee the dreadful island. The make-up effects on the zombies were very well done, considering the budget.
Filmed on an estimated $200,000 budget, this movie oozes with low budget greatness. Shooting in and around the swamps of Florida, the locale became as much a part of the movie as the actors, which helped keep the film under its meager budget. Because sometimes less is more in horror. This film did not show a lot of blood or gore. It implied it. Which sometimes is creepier to the viewer, because the viewer will then have to decide in their own mind what happened to the victim(s).
Shock Waves is not for everyone. Gore hounds may come away disappointed with the lack of blood and guts. Zombie lovers may want more flesh-eating. Shock Waves is tense, it’s thrilling and it’s…. just a good horror film. Plain and simple.
Thank you all for reading!