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Monday, December 4, 2017

Shock Waves (1977)



Another zombie movie for the marathon. This is an old favorite of mine and stars a pair of genre legends in Peter Cushing and John Carradine, as well as the lovely Brooke Adams. What happens when a boat out on a diving excursion ends up stranded on a lonely island filled with Nazi zombies? Well it doesn’t end well for those with a pulse.

Before I proceed be warned that there are spoilers coming. I tried to write the review without including them, but some of the best stuff gives away important parts of the plot. If you hate that sort of thing go watch the movie and come back to see if you agree with me or not. You have been warned.

Things get kicked off with a voice over explaining that during World War II the Nazis experimented with dead soldiers trying to create the ultimate killing machine. One that could fight in any conditions, didn’t need weapons, and never got tired. Basically, homicidal weaponized zombies. But in the end, they couldn’t control them so they were sent away. Then we see a small dinghy that is spotted by some fishermen. Inside is a woman who has a story to tell which leads us to a flashback…

The boat with our main characters ends up stranded near an island when they run into said zombies. These zombies aren’t mindless, nor do they crave human flesh. They just want to kill because that is what they were made to do. Their commanding officer, played by Peter Cushing, who is human tries to warn the stranded vacationers off but it is too late. The only hope is a small boat, but will any of them make it? Well Brook Adams’ character does since she is the one telling the story!

I’ve noticed that a lot of younger fans find Shock Waves to be boring. In a way, I can kind of understand it. If you have been raised on running zombies and quick camera cuts then this movie might seem slow to you. But using the vernacular of the youngsters you need to “slow your roll”. Shock Waves is all about the atmosphere and build up to the ending. There is a creepy vibe that permeates the entire movie from the early scenes on the boat, to hitting the derelict ship, and finally to the Nazi zombies rising from the ocean to kill! Personally, that scene alone sends chills down my spine as it is so damn spooky. The actors playing the zombies have that souless look on their faces. It is great!

The lovely Brooke Adams
Another thing that many viewers miss is the ending. The events in the movie are told in a flashback with Brooke Adams character writing them down. Only at the end of the movie the camera pans around to see the notebook and it is nothing more than scratches on the page. And she keeps repeating the same sentence over and over again. Did it really happen or did she lose her mind while floating around in the dingy? The whole movie could be the hallucination of a crazed woman! They don’t choose to explain it and leave it up to the viewer to decide. How cool is that?

The kills in Shock Waves are tame by zombie standards. They basically just grab, choke, and drown their victims. These aren’t “eat” you zombies but undead soldiers killing because they are programmed to. The design of the zombies is decent and look like they have been underwater for a long time. Thus the “prune” look to their skin. I also thought the goggles tied in nicely both with the design as well as the plot hook of light sensitivity (they only attack at night).

I could go on and on but I won’t I love Shock Waves and recommend that you check it out. There is a nice Blu-Ray out, but really even the DVD looks decent enough. I only got the Blu-Ray because I’m a huge nerd for the movie.




© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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