“The Deep End of Horror!”
Shock Waves (aka Almost Human, Death Corps) is a 1977 American horror movie co-written and directed by Ken Wiederhorn.
It stars British horror icon Peter Cushing, Brooke Adams and veteran horror film star John Carradine. Despite its limited budget and release, the film has become a cult classic. It also features the kid from 70s TV show ‘Flipper’….except he is all grown up with a mullet haircut in this.
Nazis: is there anything they can’t do? Oh right: win anything, including wars. But! In the horror realm, they’re fodder for anything that is the ultimate evil, whether as she-wolf or evil frozen heads. And zombie flicks are no exception.
If you’re into 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea except with psycho, undead Nazi killers, then have we got the film for you: Shock Waves (1977).
Whale of a Tale
Told through the flashbacks of Rose (Brooke Adams), our journey begins on a small boat of tourists with a captain (John Carradine (papa to David Carradine)) the boat’s cook Dobbs (Don Stout) and a tourist named Chuck (Fred Buch). After cruising through a strange orange haze, the engine breaks down, and in the dead of night an enormous ship sails past them, scraping and damaging the boat.
The following morning, the captain is nowhere to be found. As the boat takes on water, the group manages to make it to a nearby island where they find that enormous boat, and it seems to be the remains of a decade long since passed. While exploring the island, they find a rundown hotel where a lonely old man lives (Peter Cushing).
Still with me? It’s around here that we discover that walking under the water are creepy soldier zombies! (Remember, normal humans usually don’t walk underwater.)
Finally, the bizarre hotel man explains to the group that he used to be a zombie commander in charge of the “Death Corps,” a group of zombie men engineered to live underwater. After the Nazis—even the Nazis—found them too difficult of a weapon to control, he awaited orders but then decided to sink the ship. But those bitches are back, baby, and they’re hungry for something a little more succulent than weinerwurst and kraut.
Come Back to the Five and Dime, Carradine, Carradine
Shock Waves is all over the 70s charm (a Carradine, bikini babes, and that beautiful I Spit on Your Grave (1978) film grit that somehow makes all action appear scarier). A well-done musical score also helps things. The zombie soldiers do have one weakness found late in the game that’s worth scoffing at — and the soldiers themselves make you wonder what the $1,000,000 budget could have possibly gone to. But the movie commits to its premise, gosh darn it. The tone of dread is consistent through out — and a creep ending is a nice touch.
Nazi See It, Nazi Don’t
But come on now, director Mr. Ken Wiederhorn (who went on to direct Return of the Living Dead II (1988) and episodes of Freddy’s Nightmares): why Nazis? If every American didn’t have a knee-jerk AHH! reaction to anything SS, would this flick have the same bite? Or would the soldiers just be so many Agent Smith clones battling Neo within the matrix? Horror is already instilled in these ghouls, and the historical prologue at the top of the film does all the dirty work of setting up the spook factor. It’s a complete ploy from what seems to be a skilled horror director, and it leaves you wondering what he could be capable of when given the adequate source material. A nice cast — plus killer score and color palette—seem a bit squandered here. Seems our clichéd war against Nazi cliché rages on…
Watch the trailer for Shock Waves (1977) below:
|Buy the film at Amazon.com|
|Buy the film at Amazon.co.uk|