Oasis of the Zombies (1981)

oasis of the zombies Alright, before we get going here: this. The Treasure of the Living Dead (1982) aka Oasis of the Zombies aka The Abyss of the Living Dead aka Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies aka The Most Politically Incorrect Movie of 1982 is a schlocky one.

We’re not quite talking Blood Feast (1963) schlocky, but it’s close — and that was 1963, so that’s saying something. Exploitation master Jesús Franco had a cult hit with 1961’s The Awful Dr. Orloff, a classic also known for being the oldest Spanish horror film. His career spans some 200 films — from the X-rated to the lowest of budget horror, which is exactly what we got here.

What can I say, the man loved….shit? Let’s go with shit.

Get Sandy

Oasis of the Zombies (1981)

Oasis of the Zombies (1981)

On to the exposition of what Popcorn Pictures calls “one of the worst zombie films ever”: flashback to World War II where a small German squadron is carrying a shipment of Nazi gold across the African desert. But in come the Allies (heroic trumpets) to ambush them. Robert (Manuel Gélin) is the only American to survive.

After he tells this brilliant yarn to a German treasure hunter Kurt (Eduardo Fajardo), Kurt kills him. How rude.

Robert’s son Captain Blabert (Javier Maiza) takes it upon himself (and a band of students?) to head out and find his father’s lost gold. But — look out — zombified Nazi Afrika Korps members of the original band are already there! To protect it! With zombie stuff!

Franco directed the picture for French producer Marius Lesoeur, but Franco — always one to overindulge — also shot a “Spanish version” of the film simultaneously with a different cast. In both, you have exploitation turned up to 11: an ear-blistering theater organ, raw meats pulled out of cast members (with a little help from local butchers), nudity, that whole awkwardly mismatched overdub thing, and barely enough story to string it all together.

Franco, My Dear, Just Don’t Give a Damn

Oasis of the Zombies

A zombie with a glass-eye?!

Franco is a video-nasty legend, with titles like Lulu’s Talking Ass (1985, aka Lulu’s Bunghole), A Penis for Three (1985, aka A Whistle for Three), and Vampyros Lesbos (1971), he is no stranger to shocking audiences foor the sake of it and making them squirm. And you’ll certainly squirm during this one, if not at the zombies (bugs! Bugs on live actors!), then at the all-in-one Oriental othering of all the side characters (is their culture African? Egyptian? Middle Eastern? You decide).

This is late-night fare. Hell, this is early evening fare when you’ll be at your most lucid to better emotionally handle all of the awfulness. Think of it this way: Franco was a man who lived his life, his whole life until the age of 82, turning out things like this. Constantly. These aren’t only this man’s sustained visual visions of humanity — they are, through his work, his life experience. Think about it. They are life to this man. I can’t imagine he was that fun to be around. But I can imagine that if I was constantly walking around with goggles that scratched visions like these into my retinas, life would seem like a joke and a bit more……colorful. Did I say colorful? I meant shitty.

Worth a watch, if only to say that you have seen it….it is highly unlikely that you will enjoy it as an actual zombie film. In fact, for a zombie film there is surprisingly little amount of gore to be seen….come to think of it, for a Franco film there is also a lack of nudity, so in summary, this is a pretty dull film for zombie fans, or for Franco fans to be honest. Avoid.

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Written by: Ben Mueller