Shock Waves

Discussion in 'Reader Reviews' started by Erich, Dec 10, 2003.

  1. Erich

    Erich Guest

    Here you go - my review for Shock Waves - I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did typing it ;) .​


    “Once They Were Almost Human! Beneath the living... Beyond the dead... From the depths of Hell's Ocean! The Deep End of Horror!” With a tagline that good, you just know this movie will be a real treat! Yes, zombie movies have come in all shapes and sizes, and some are simply more effective than others. Although having gore is nearly a necessity for this great subgenre, “Shock Waves” is a prime example of how effective a horror movie can be with minimal gore shots. Also, the inclusion of both Peter Cushing and John Carradine greatly helps the movie. Even if “Shock Waves” is not ranked as one of the greatest of all zombie movies, it will certainly stand out as one of the finest of the Nazi-zombie movies.
    It is wonderful boating weather, and a group of stereotypical tourists all signed up to take a peaceful little tour of the high seas. However, they were not counting on having to put up with the amusingly-cranky ship captain (John Carradine). He makes it quite clear that he won’t take them back to shore early, since he refuses to give refunds on what they paid him. Later that night, our love interest Rose (Brooke Adams) is talking with the assistant captain, Keith (Luke Halpin – of Flipper fame), hoping to convince him to turn the ship around. But they are interrupted when a large ship appears in the fog, and is heading right towards them. Despite his best efforts, they collide and their smaller boat winds up stuck on a reef. The next morning there is a mysterious rusted-out wreck that looks like it could have been the ship that hit them, other than the fact that it seemed to have been completely disabled for several decades. With few options, the group rows to the nearby island in hopes of finding some help. What they do find is an old mansion, and the equally old SS Commander (Peter Cushing) who has been living here alone for years. It seems that he was in charge of a special scientific team that was studying ways to re-animate the dead corpses of fallen troops, trying to create a superior soldier (read: zombie). Although this project had stopped at the fall of the Third Reich, there was enough time for them to create a small platoon of these zombies, who have been living in the waters around the island ever since! As nighttime arrives, the people know they need to hurry and get off the island, before the zombies return to kill them all. However, with the only way off the island being through zombie-infested waters, things are looking dismal for our heroes right from the beginning.
    “Shock Waves” is a mixed-bag, but it receives good marks as a whole. The acting is very poor, except for Carradine and Cushing, who together succeed in making up for the others’ downfalls. The “zombies” are not very convincing since they do not act like “zombies should” – but that is excusable since this movie came before either Romero or Fulci were doing their zombie movies, so the guidelines were not set down yet. In fact, if you look at the other zombie movies of the time – like Garden of the Dead and Plague of the Zombies – it actually is quite decent. And the Nazi-zombies do have some very creepy moments – just never “zombie moments.” If you are a zombie-fanatic like me, or if you are just looking for something to mix up the usual movie set, this is a good one to watch.
    The DVD, being released by Blue Underground, is sure to please. The video is almost certainly the best out there – for being made in 1977, it is surprising clear. The audio definitely seems like it was done on a soundstage for much of the movie, but this is also easily forgiven. The movie is also given more special features than you could hope for (Thank You, Blue Underground) – multiple trailers, radio spots, TV spots, a very large collection of stills and artwork, a commentary track, and an interview with Luke Halpin about the movie! For being a mere $15, this is one excellent purchase!

    Breakdown
    Story: 8 / 10
    Audio: 4 / 5
    Video: 4 / 5
    DVD: 5 / 5
    Total: 8.4 / 10
     
  2. Numania

    Numania Guest

    This movie is one of my favorite zombie movies. The zombies work slowly like Romero's, but they are sneaky...and creepy. I'm glad I bought this movie when it came out...well, BU style.
     
  3. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

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    I didn't think the DVD quality was all that great. But, since the original negative to the film was lost I can understand why. The Blue Sunshine DVD from Synapse looked much better. The negative to that film was destroyed also, but it had a better remastering job than what I noticed for the Shock Waves DVD from Blue Underground. I also saw a lot of light/dark contrast issues while viewing Shock Waves, some minor chemical damage on the print it looked like too. It probably could have been touched up a little more. But, it's better than the old Shock Waves VHS, so it's still the best version of the movie out there. The special features make up for the picture quality.
     
  4. Erich

    Erich Guest

    Yeah, I never quite know how to rate things like video quality - because it may not be perfect, but if it is the better/best copy out there, I don't feel like putting it down. I wasn't even aware of the Blue Sunshine transfer - do you know what features that disk had?
     
  5. Mok

    Mok Family is Forever

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    Haven't seen this but I wll now - thanks! I remember thinking the poster was cool when I was a kid.
     
  6. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    Quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally Posted by Erich

    "The “zombies” are not very convincing since they do not act like “zombies should” – but that is excusable since this movie came before either Romero or Fulci were doing their zombie movies, so the guidelines were not set down yet"
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Romero did Night of the living dead in 1968
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2003
  7. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

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    It's definitely the best out there as far as picture quality goes. It's just a shame that the original negatives for Shock Waves are apparently lost forever. Great review though! :evil:

    The Blue Sunshine DVD is quite good. I purchased it on a chance since I'd never even seen it before. I really enjoyed the film however, very creepy and intensely odd. The "restoration comparison scene" on the DVD is quite interesting because it shows just how bad the print was and how great it looked after the intense remastering job by Syanapse. The sole original negatives for the film were destroyed in a flood of the film vault...or something like that.

    :::Reading special features off back of DVD case::: Original Mono audio and a new 5.1 sound re-mix, an full length audio commentary by director Jeff Lieberman, 30 minute audio interview with Lieberman, his short film called "The Ringer", still gallery, rare original theatrical trailer, and liner notes.

    The best thing is probably the bonus CD with the entire creepy soundtrack, even the cheesy disco song! Supposed to be "Limited Availability" as marked on the front cover...but who knows. :evil:
     
  8. rhett

    rhett Administrator

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    I had to review this for the site (review here) without having seen it before, and I was very impressed. The film has since grown on me over time, and has quickly become one of my favorite zombie and even favorite horror movies. I thought the zombie scenes were handled great, and were easily creepier than any other zombie flicks out there. Those shots underwater really give a sense of forboding danger; the zombies are always coming, and their slow but driving walk gives the film a degree of nightmarish dread. The mood this film creates in its best moments is benchmark quality. And while the acting may not be great, its amateurness sort of gives the film a degree of realism. Seeing a young Brooke Adams in a bikini is not going to get any complaints from me either.

    As for the picture quality, I think this is one of those movies that benefit from a grainy presentation. Like THE HILLS HAVE EYES, the subject matter and cinematography are routed in exploitation, and a crystal clear master just wouldn't seem right.

    Anyway, good review for a great film. Glad you liked it!
     
  9. onebyone

    onebyone Guest

    I just recently got and watched this too and was considering writing a review for it, but I see there is no need as I pretty much agree with you on everything. I got this movie based on recommendations from folks here, noteably rhett, and am very glad I did. It is excellent.
     
  10. Erich

    Erich Guest

    I'm glad you all like the review - and my bad about "which movie came first." Had I stopped to think about the years, I would've noticed that NotLD came first... but you know how it is late at night :)
     
  11. Shock Waves is a good flick.
     
  12. Tom Servo

    Tom Servo Guest

    After reading your review (very nice by the the way) I think that I need to go see this movie. I'm a big fan of zombie films, but I had not heard about this one. Thanks for the information.
     
  13. poorlogic

    poorlogic Guest

    Bought it today, going to watch for the first time tonight!
     
  14. mutleyhyde

    mutleyhyde Fuck it.

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    Good to see such interest and good things said about one of my favorite movies from early childhood.
     
  15. betterdan

    betterdan Guest

    It SUCKED Hyde!
    Just kidding I loved it :D
     
  16. poorlogic

    poorlogic Guest

    What a great film, the bad print gave it a cool "Last House On Dead-End Street" feel. It didn't need gore, them damn nazi-zombie were freaky enough. The scene where the zombies come out of the water had me freaking out - what an amazing visual! I wish I had picked this DVD a long time ago... one of the better films I've seen in a long time!
     
  17. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    Just got done watching it for the first time great suspense and creepy images, I really enjoyed it.
     
  18. Nasty Nate

    Nasty Nate New Member

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    Classic flick. Skitzo has a song called Frozen Dead on their last cd which is based on this movie.
     
  19. Erich

    Erich Guest

    I normally don't rewatch a movie for at least 2 months, but these quick quotes about the movie's greatness are getting to me - maybe I'll throw it back in tonight and scare myself again this soon already :banana:
     
  20. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

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    Skitzo are a pretty interesting band. I've still got a couple of their CD's from my metal 'zine reviewing days. I'll have to pull one out just to hear Frozen Dead now! :evil:
     

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