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Shock Waves - DVD - Blue Underground Print E-mail
User Rating: / 3
Written by Jay Creepy   
Saturday, 21 December 2013

AKA: Almost Human, Death Corps, Shockwaves, Ondas de Pavor, Die Schreckensmacht der Zombies, Skrekkens bolger, Chockvagor, L'occhio nel Trangolo, Le commando des morts-vivants, Shock Waves Die aus der Tiefe kamen.

Directed by:
Ken Wiederhorn
Written by:
John Kent Harrison, Ken Pare, Ken Wiederhorn
Produced by:
Reuben Trane
Cinematography by:
Reuben Trane
Editing by:
Norman Gay
Music by:
Richard Einhorn
Special Effects by:
Alan Ormsby
Brooke Adams, Peter Cushing, Luke Halpin, John Carradine, Fred Buch, Don Stout, D.J Sidney.
1h 25min

Blue Underground

There are four classic horror stars I totally idolise, Boris Karloff (see "The Black Room"), Lon Chaney, Tod Slaughter and Peter Cushing.  However, I have a fond soft section in my heart for Mr. Cushing and especially in the seventies.  Away from Hammer, with an addiction for working to mask the trauma in his life, Peter Cushing accepted some really excellent roles.  Parts in "The Creeping Flesh," "Horror Express," and "The Ghoul," to lesser received "Legend of the Werewolf," "Tender Dracula," "The Devil's Men," etcetera.  Saying that, 1968 brought about "Corruption," perhaps the most insane moment in his long career.  Let's talk about "Shock Waves" though -- a chance to see Peter Cushing sharing screen time with zombies, and not just any sort of zombies, but a squadron of German zombie soldiers.  Straight away it's a must see for fans of the genre, and of Peter even though his role is slightly more than a standard cameo.

A narrator explains how the Nazi's dabbled with the occult.  The SS in particular experimented on dead soldiers.  There were rumours that allied forces battled a squad who entered the battlefield without weapons -- not one of these men were killed or captured.

A lone boat is floating aimlessly.  On board is Rose (Brooke Adams) who we then hear as she is rescued saying she doesn't know how long she was in it, but hearing engines made her realise that she was still alive. Through her voice, we then find out what happened prior, how she was part of a group touring islands when the engine broke for a second time.  When your captain is John Carradine in a brief role, you know you're in good hands as he performs his world weary and grumpy sea dog role.

Unbeknown to the party, they are above an eerie old ship wreckage on the sea bed.  Suddenly, the sun turns a bizarre shade of sepia which naturally freaks a few people out.  Deep in the ship wreck, something is moving, and a genuine sense of morbid doom envelopes the film.

They all hear disturbances in the water, and as night falls, Dobbs, the cook says, “The sea spits out what it can't keep down.”  To be fair it's not as effective as; “When there's no more room in Hell, the dead shall walk the earth.” but I guess it's enough because they all look mildly nervous.  Norman, a used car salesman, plump with glasses  (you know the sort), starts an argument with Captain Ben (Carradine) and then tries rallying the others for a mutiny.  No one gives a damn about him apart from his depressed wife, Beverley.

All of a sudden there's rumbles and a huge ship looms over them from the darkness, which is barely avoided and their vessel is damaged.  Ben shines a flashlight, firstly on Chuck who is wearing just his y-fronts inspecting the damage in a rather awkward moment, and then Ben fires a flare gun and reveals a creepy wreckage.

By the morning light it looks even more terrifying, added to the fact that no one can find Ben, except for his clothes which has everybody worried.  Dobbs originally thought that he might be under the water surveying the breakages, but never came back.  Dobbs sails to the nearest island with a few others.  Chuck climbs a tree and sees a building set far back.  As Norman and Beverley are brought across, Ben's corpse floats by.

Making their way to the large building, they wander around noticing it was once a hotel but is now in ruin. Smashing through a door, they are quite disheartened that it is derelict.  Keith leads the way and deeper within there is a well kept fish tank.  From somewhere nearby, music plays.  Following the noise they find a gramophone and a scar faced Peter Cushing looking rather angry and using a very commanding German accent.  He is the sole occupant of the hotel.  Mention of the wreckage upsets him, especially the ship's name.  He silently walks out and heads to the beach with a look of fear.

Meanwhile we have already seen jackbooted blonde soldiers emerging from the ship all wearing leather strapped goggles (make-up by Alan Ormsby, what a legend).  For some reason they are still on the sea bed stepping off the side, even though the wreckage is now floating about.  Hmm, did we miss something here?  So by the morning there's a platoon of dead soldiers walking around the island.  Dobbs is first to meet them as he returns alone to their ship for more supplies.

Peter Cushing explains there is a small boat across the island and that there is great danger.  Rose decides meanwhile to take a swim and finds the corpse of Dobbs.  As Keith and Chuck fish him from the lake, they all notice soldiers watching them from a distance.  Demanding to know more, they confront Cushing who reveals he is an SS Commander in exile. He was commanding a squad of the most brutal SS troops, an experiment to create the perfect fighting machine.  They were the Death Corps, his team were made for water survival out of “cheap hoodlums and killers.”  During the war there were isolated instances of them attacking their own men so by the end of the war he sent them to the bottom of the ocean and chose this exile on the island.

Being their commander, however doesn't save him from them, nor does being muscular or heroic like Chuck and Keith, or simply being Norman. These zombies don't want to eat your flesh, they just want to choke you or drown you, pure uncut bad asses!!!  The survivors find the boat, thinking they'll get away, but one mishap leads to another and the boat floats off by itself.  Soon the group splits up due to more mishaps and are left vulnerable.

Who would have thought the director of this little gem would years later be responsible for one of the greatest horror crimes of the 80s, "Return of the Living Dead pt 2?"  In "Shock Waves" you can cut the atmosphere with a knife.  There's so many crazy touches, like the way the soldiers lay dormant in the water or the grass until they hear somebody and lifting their heads they listen like snakes.  The way to stop them is quite amusing and totally unexplained.   Ahh, they don't make movies like this any more, the shame of it.

Peter Cushing and John Carradine are very regal in their roles, like masters surrounded by pupils, but fair due to the others, such as Brooke Adams, Luke ("Flipper") Halpin and Fred ("Porky's 2" & "3") Buch, they hold their own.  Additionally, Jack Davidson as Norman does his duty as a totally unlikeable person.  Brooke's is gonna be known more for Cronenberg's "The Dead Zone" and the 1978 version of "Invasion of the Bodysnatchers," but "Shock Waves" should be another glow on her CV.

"Shock Waves" is a cool way to pass a night, has ample chills and some geeky laughs along the way.

Over the years, Vipco and Marketing have released the film with no extras which is standard especially for Vipco.  This review is from the Blue Underground release which isn't radiant with fantastic extras, but at least has an interview with Luke Halpin which runs for 8 minutes.  Luke admits it was a lot more fun making this one than some of his larger blockbuster movies.  He also mentions the ship wreck was actually an abandoned old cement ship.  Audio commentaries,  TV and radio spots, trailer.... that's about it really.  The negative used for the release is from Ken's personal collection, by-the-way.



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 Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 16x9
 Region: NTSC 0
 Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo

 - Audio Commentary with Ken Wiederhorn, Alan Ormsby, Fred Olen Ray.
 - An interview with Luke Halpin “From Flipper to Shock Waves
 - Theatrical Trailer
 - TV Spot
 - Radio Spots
 - Poster, Still & Production Art Gallery

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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