Monday, January 14, 2013

Nazi Horror Week: Shock Waves

*DISCLAIMER* This blog nor it's writers support racism, or nazi's. This is just a theme for this week! 

Shock Waves (1977)
85 Minutes

Welcome to Nazi Horror Week. This week we will be featuring nothing but reviews of movies that have Nazi's in them in some form. 

When life gives you lemon's, you make lemonade.

Apparently in this movie, when life gives you Nazi's, you take those Nazi's and make them Super Nazi's.

So, whats the plot?

During WW2, Peter Cushing was put in charge of a group of genetically modified uber Nazi's who were unfeeling and very violent. To nobody's surprise (except maybe his) they were uncontrollable. Towards the end of the war he took them offshore to escape the allies likely capturing them and revealing the secret. The orders never come and he sinks the boat and takes a self imposed exile on an island. The film revolves around their unexplained return to get their violence fix that the zombie nazi's have missed being stuck at the bottom of the ocean

Is that really the plot?

You would never find my explanation at the back of the box, but yes - that is the main idea.

So, does it work?

Despite how I make it sound, I would actually have to give this a big yes. The main thing I have to talk about here is the two "main" actors they likely shelled out for, Peter Cushing and John Carradine. They are both used very little, but their minimal screen presence is felt and not a single scene is wasted.

I would actually go so far as to say John Carradine's short, short appearance in this film is the best acting you are going to see during the whole movie. While the rest of the actor's are hamming it up and not taking their work seriously, I get the sense John decided he was going to be a professional about thing and actually delivered his hammy lines with some conviction - he doesn't even come across as trying like the other actors surrounding him do.

What also works is the way the film was shot. The use of first person camera and the distance shots work really well here and help to not reveal too much which would have hurt the film had the done the "big reveal" too soon.

A minimal musical score also goes a long way to set the right mood.

Okay, not bad! Now what doesn't work?

My biggest complaint would be the other actors. Of particular note is Jack Davidson who plays Norman, and let me tell you, this guy is a real Norman. His character is so whiny and so annoying and his lines are delivered so forcibly, it's a wonder they didn't force this guy to stay on the boat. 

The other actors really don't do much either. Brooke Adams who plays Rose is great to look at, but everyone else is just there to run away and make poor decisions.

Concerning the plot, I was definitely left with some questions, such as:

Why did the Nazi Zombies suddenly rise from the ocean?
How has Peter Cushing managed to stay alive so long?
What were all those people doing on that boat in the first place?
Why didn't Peter Cushing try to leave?

I suppose some things are better left not known, but they give poor Peter all of two minutes to explain the thing and the characters are off and running before you even know whats going on.

Lastly, it's not really explained what the Nazi Zombies are after. I would even be reluctant to call them Zombies. It seems like they just want to be violent, since the rest of the time all they are seen doing is hanging around in the water lounging. 

Final Thoughts?

One thing this movie really nailed is the running time. This movie is over before the concept wears out it's welcome.

I would definitely recommend this for watching as it does have the making of a classic. If you watch this just for the fun aspects of it, you may be pleasantly surprised. Watching the two veteran actors put on a clinic next to the amateurs is also quite enjoyable.

Shock Waves is getting 3.5 Totenkopf's out of 5

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