Zombies are pretty much over cooked nowadays, but Nazi Zombies? Nahh. For some reason, I just can’t get enough of them. Shock Waves, a movie released in 1977, is one of the few Nazi Zombie movies that is actually pretty damn good and surprisingly, the actual zombies in the movie? Not really zombies, but more like the undead, who look menacing and are severely pissed off. Although the movie lacks any sort of gore, the rest of the film, with the tropical island set pieces, under water Nazi Zombie sequences and a beautiful bikini clad Brooke Adams, more than makes up for it. Read on to see if you agree…
RUN-TIME: 85 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD Mono
SUBTITLES: English SDH, French, Spanish
RATING: Not Rated
PRODUCTION DATE: 1977
Beneath The Living… Beyond The Dead… From The Depths of Hell’s Ocean!
In the dark days of World War II, the Nazi High Command ordered its scientists to create a top secret race of indestructible zombie storm troopers – un-living, unfeeling, unstoppable monstrosities that killed with their bare hands. They were known as The Death Corps. No member of this horrific SS unit was ever captured by the Allied Forces – and, somewhere off the coast of Florida, they have survived…
Peter Cushing (STAR WARS), Brooke Adams (INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS) and John Carradine (THE BOOGEY MAN) star in this suspenseful and genuinely creepy shocker co-written and directed by Ken Wiederhorn (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD PART II). One of the great horror “sleepers” of the 1970s, SHOCK WAVES has been freshly transferred and fully restored in High Definition from the only known surviving materials!
Shot with a budget of $200,000, director Ken Wiederhorn works wonders with what little he had. The movie, even though released in the 70s, doesn’t feel dated in the least bit (except for maybe that one guys shorts
) and I’m just loving the atmosphere and set pieces. Filmed in Miami, you would think it was some lost, tropical island. The abandoned hotel is large and menacing, the swamps are dark and creepy and boy, those Nazi Zombies are fantastic looking. They are all subtle in their appearance, but there is just something offsetting about the bleached blond hair, SS suits and those goggles, creepy, creepy goggles. There are plenty of insert shots of the zombies either walking underwater, or rising out of the dark, murky depths. I have to applaud all the zombie actors, as they hold their breath quite well under water and not once did I see them trying to breath when they would slowly rise up out of the water. Bravo! I will admit though that these zombies have a weakness that seems like a really easy way to defeat them and once the characters find this out, they still don’t use it to their advantage. Kind of dumb if you ask me.
I was expecting a little bit more gore in the movie, but it seems to almost be a strictly PG-13 affair, with no blood and kills that happen off screen. Colour me a little sad, but I’m willing to forgive it for everything else it does well. Another small disappointment is the lack of Peter Cushing, who shows up for a few quick scenes. He’s hardly in the movie, but when he is, he’s moody, eccentric and wonderful. The rest of the acting is fantastic as well, with Brooke Adams looking marvellous in a bikini, John Carradine in a small cameo as the boat captain and Luke Halpin of Flipper fame, brandishing a moustache to die for.
Shock Waves washes up on Blu-ray from the wonderful folks at Blue Underground. From what I understand, the original source material couldn’t be used, so this transfer is taken from what they could find and it does show. It’s a little rough around the edges in some scenes. However, I find this adds to the overall feel of the movie; that dirty, low budget zombie affair. You wouldn’t want a sparkling clean picture and thankfully this transfer has just the right look, with no unnecessary enhancements to be found. It’s also got plenty of special features, with interviews with the director (Ken Wiederhorn), main star (Brooke Adams) and a lovely assortment of trailers, TV spots, posters and behind the scenes stills. On the audio side, it’s sporting DTS-HD Mono and commentary with the Director and Make-Up Designer.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
- Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Ken Wiederhorn, Make-Up Designer Alan Ormsby and Filmmaker Fred Olen Ray
- Nazi Zombies On A Budget – Interview with Producer/Cinematographer Reuben Trane
- Notes For The Undead – Interview with Composer Richard Einhorn
- Sole Survivor – Interview with Star Brooke Adams
- From FLIPPER To SHOCK WAVES – Interview with Star Luke Halpin
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spot
- Radio Spots
- Poster & Still Gallery
Shock Waves seems like a no brainer to me. It’s got a beautiful, gritty low budget look to it. Nazi Zombies rising up out the water and Brooke Adams in a bikini. It is a little low on the gore, low as in non-existent and if you’re expecting Peter Cushing to be in the movie a lot, don’t, but everything else about the movie is fantastic. Throw in a pretty damn good Blu-ray from Blue Underground and you’ve got yourself an undead, bloated killing machine on your hands. Highly recommended!