Shock Waves

I broke my wrist yesterday so I’m using dictation to write this. If anything comes out goofy or weird I apologize in advance.

This is another of the “Undead Zombie” films. I get the impression that in the late seventies the shadow of the war was sort of hanging over most people in a different way than it is for us today. By that point the baby boomers who had grown up in the 60’s were entering maturity and having kids and so the interest in their parents’ generation was certainly there although they had a different take on what the war meant to them. I try to put myself in that frame of mind when going into a movie like this.  NazisTHE POSTER:
There are actually a number of interesting posters for this movie. So let’s dive right in.

l_76704_32f42761This is by far my favorite of the posters I’ve come across. The artwork is brooding and dark, it doesn’t give anything away about the story except to hint at some sort of aquatic terror. Even the name here, which means “The Eye in the Triangle” is merely suggestive of the Bermuda triangle. It’s terrifying. Some unknown horror lurking in the dark under the waves. It reminds me of a Lovecraft story.

SHOCK-WAVES-1977Here too the poster is pretty good. There is something about the demeanor of the characters that reminds me of British actors playing Nazis kind of like an Indiana Jones villain. The way he seems to be holding the boat it’s almost like he’s petting a kitten.

shock-waves-one-sheet-style-b-1977This is my least favorite of the three. The color usage is unsatisfying and the photo itself hints at a cheap B-movie.

THE GOOD:
The opening monologue is actually pretty good. I started watching this movie and got interrupted right after watching the opening monologue and I have to admit it hooked me and really made me want to come back and watch it.

Shortly before the start of World War II the German High Command began a secret investigation into the powers of the supernatural. Ancient legend told of a race of warriors who used neither weapons nor shields, and who’s superhuman powers came from within the earth itself. As Germany prepared for war, the SS secretly enlisted a group of scientists to create an invinceable soldier. It is known that the bodies of soldiers killed in battle were returned to Kolblentz, where they were used in a variety of scientific experiments.

It was rumoured that towards the end of the war Allied forces met German squads that fought without weapons, killing only with their bare hands. No one knows who they were or what became of them, but one thing is certain. Of all the SS units there was only one that the allies never captured a single member of.

-Nice classic creepy! (Thanks to Necromantic Media for having that dialogue ready.) So as you can guess this movie is about a group of Nazi super soldiers who are still kicking around in Zombified form. They were once controlled or led by surviving SS officer now in hiding played by Peter Cushing who lives alone on a little island. It has all the elements for a really brilliant horror movie.

– There’s something very Linda Hamiltony I love about the narrator.

– There are a lot of nice little moments of suspense throughout the movie. Like when the little boat our main characters are in runs into a freighter running without lights. It seems to have disappeared until the captain fires off a flare and we see in its light some sort of wreck sticking partly out of the water.

– Part of the appeal of the suspense comes from the classic Mysterious Island sort of genre. You get a few people who don’t particularly like each other ship wreck them on an island and then have them start finding stuff some of which seems incongruous with the island. It’s the sort of formula that made the TV show LOST such a success. In this case we see cool little things like finding a building on the island which seems uninhabited but then find tropical fish surviving in tanks meaning someone must be taking care of them. Again it’s classic.

THE BAD:
You know we are in B-movie territory as soon the extended cast of characters start talking particularly the car salesman. The dialogue is sort of hammed up and overplayed and realism drops off a bit. You get the feeling this movie would’ve done better with a slightly smaller cast but then we wouldn’t have people to kill off.

The only thing I think that’s counting against it is that it just seems a bit long. I usually don’t mind that but at some point in the movie I kind of wanted it  to be over. This is mostly because of a number of fake outs. The main character’s dead! No he’s alive! No he’s dead!

THE UGLY
The nazi zombies in this movie were created as part of a super soldier program. That probably seems pretty blasé since we’ve seen that in a lot of recent movies but in 1977 it would’ve been a pretty interesting idea. I can’t really say this is bad or good, just that these aren’t your typical zombies. They aren’t out to eat everyone and they certainly don’t care about your brains. They’re killers. More like Lucio Fulci’s zombies then anything else. They seem to prefer killing by drowning people rather than eating them.

One really interesting thing about the costumes is that for the most part the zombies just look like pale people. The big thing is they all wear goggles. These goggles also prove to be  their biggest weakness. Watch what happens if you tear them off. At first this made me think that they weren’t even really dead. I thought they had simply stayed alive under the water or survived somehow like Capt. America in the ice. But when I realized that they were actually able to drive a ghost ship I knew there was a lot more supernatural to them then super soldier.

In the end this is a solid 70s horror movie with some Great classic scary movie elements that don’t feel so cliché even if they are. I think it could stand a remake.

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Mike Kloran

Educational Designer from Brooklyn New York. I'm a teacher, an artist, an athlete and constantly doing, making, drawing, creating! It's a busy life but I'm doing what I love and that's what matters most to me!

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