Shock Waves (1976)
By: David Michael Brown on September 1, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Umbrella Entertainment (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 1.66:1 (Non-anamorphic). English DD 2.0. 94 minutes
The Movie
Director: Ken Wiederhorn
Starring: Brook Adams, Peter Cushing, John Carradine
Screenplay: John Kent Harrison, Ken Pare, Ken Wiederhorn
Country: USA
AKA: Death Corps

Shock Waves gets you the minute the sinister plot is revealed by a bitter and twisted SS Commandant hiding on a deserted island. The nazis developed zombie soldiers who could breathe underwater to man their submarines. The commandant has been busy resurrecting the corpses of dead nazi soldiers. They now live in the depths of the ocean surrounding a small island off Florida and now they want blood. It's a slow build up to the zombies first appearance but they provide some of horror cinema's finest frissons when they slowly emerge from the surf, en masse, wearing goggles and their old SS uniforms, ready to terrorise a boat load of tourists who have been shipwrecked.

A couple of horror legends add a stamp of authority to the proceedings. John Carradine hams it up as the boats captain and Peter Cushing gives his small role as the SS Commandant a sense of underlying evil. Brooke Adams (most readers will know from her excellent performances in David Cronenberg's The Dead Zone and Philip Kaufman's 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers) makes her acting debut. The rest of the cast vary from amateur to bearable but they are really only waiting to meet their maker at the hands of the marine menace.

The film may disappoint the gore hounds out there as the film is relatively bloodless, relying on its unnerving atmosphere and the omnipresent zombies to build up the film's sense of dread. Richard Eiderhorn's strange electronic score ably assists the scares, when they come. The film is beautifully shot for such a low budget horror film. The afore mentioned zombie up-rising, the derelict Nazi ship, the island location; all are expertly captured by Wiederhorn. The undead soldiers are a wonderful Arian fusion of blonde hair, rotting skin and nazi apparel. Quite why they are happy to lie in the water waiting for a victim who knows? You wouldn't have thought they get too many shipwrecks in the area but to be honest, who watches a film like Shock Waves to get logical plotting?

Not that the film's perfect by any means. It's lacklustre characterisation of most of the cast means you don't really care when the zombies kill them and the film does take a bit too long to get going but when it does you'll be hooked; just give Shock Waves a chance to crank up the tension.
The picture isn't that great but legend has it that all prints of the film have been destroyed. The transfer here is sourced from the directors own 16mm print and thus we have to comment accordingly. Watching the film, the look of the transfer actually adds to the mood; its grainy in places and the print has evidence of damage along the way but it's always watchable.
The same goes for the film's soundtrack. It's an adequate transfer but considering the history of the film it's an acceptable effort.
Extra Features
Umbrella have given us a nice line of extras. The running commentary features director Ken Weiderhorn along with the film's make up man Alan Ormsby, the writer of Paul Schrader's Cat People, and Fred Olen Ray, the film's still photographer and the man who went on to bring us Bikini A Go-Go and Genie in a String Bikini.

"From Flipper to Shock Waves" is an interesting interview with actor Luke Halpin and follows this journey from swimming with a friendly dolphin to running from an aquatic nazi zombie.

Things are rounded off with the usual selection of posters, stills and radio spots along with the films original trailer and a selection of Peter Cushing trailers available from Umbrella.
The Verdict
What it lacks in visceral thrills Shock Waves more than makes up for in atmospheric chills and an unsettling sense of dread. Throw in a couple of legendary horror names and you have a must see on your hands.
Movie Score
comments powered by Disqus
Done Dirt Cheap DVDs

>SHARK WEEK (2012) DVD Review

>DANGEROUS MEN (2005) Blu-ray Review

>UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (1992) Blu-ray Review

>THE LAST WARRIOR (2000) Blu-ray Review

>DIAMOND DOGS (2007) DVD Review

>BONE TOMAHAWK (2015) Blu-ray Review

>LET US PREY (2014) Blu-ray Review

>MACHETE (2010) Blu-ray Review

>THE MECHANIK (2005) Blu-ray Review

>DIRECT ACTION (2004) DVD Review

>NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review

>MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review

>CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review

>POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review

>DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review

Post Apocalypse Discussion Forum
Waxwork Records by MaxTheSilent
Phantasm V??? by McSTIFF
Inside (└ l'intÚrieur) by MaxTheSilent
Red Christmas - new local horror by brett garten
Zack Snyder's JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017) by Rip
BLAIR WITCH (2016) by Dr. Obrero
19 Guests, 0 Users
Latest Comments
Last 20 Comments
Most Read Articles
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review 1. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review
POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review 2. POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review
MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review 3. MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review
DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review 4. DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review
NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review 5. NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review
Contact Us
Australian Horror News and Reviews
Digital Retribution aims to bring you the latest news and reviews from the local genre scene. If you see or hear something that might be of interest to our readers, please get in touch!

For promotional and advertising inquiries, feedback, requests, threats or anything else, visit our Contact Page.