Friday, November 28, 2014

Shock Waves (Blue Underground Blu-ray) - Beneath the Living... Beyond the Blu-ray

My first experience with Shock Waves had left me asking for more. I didn’t understand why this had become a cult fan favorite, and I was frankly a little bored. That was several years ago before I had watched and learned to enjoy Jean Rollin movies. Before I had scene Oasis of the Zombies by Jess Franco. Movies that were quiet and thought-provoking that showed their budget but had a certain amount of sexy camp to them. I think I get it now. Shock Waves is more subtle and demands your complete attention. It’s not the kind of film you can watch in the background and expect to get a whole lot out of. You have to pay attention to the Nazi zombies (a trope which is more common today but perhaps not done nearly as well). Then of course there’s the back story… the prospect of what it took to make this movie. The context for its existence and how it came to be. Once you full understand that, it is quite reasonable to assign credit to Shock Waves and to allow to transcend the semi-schlock fest, quiet but daring nature that it has come to symbolize. And yeah, the cover/poster art is pretty cool too. Blue Underground has released this 1976, Ken Wiederhorn zombie classic on Blu-ray with all the trimmings and even a sexy embossed cover!

Synopsis from Blue Underground:

Beneath The Living... Beyond The Dead... From The Depths of Hell's Ocean!

In the dark days of World War II, the Nazi High Command ordered its scientists to create a top secret race of indestructible zombie storm troopers - un-living, unfeeling, unstoppable monstrosities that killed with their bare hands. They were known as The Death Corps. No member of this horrific SS unit was ever captured by the Allied Forces - and, somewhere off the coast of Florida, they have survived...

Peter Cushing (STAR WARS), Brooke Adams (INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS) and John Carradine (THE BOOGEY MAN) star in this suspenseful and genuinely creepy shocker co-written and directed by Ken Wiederhorn (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD PART II). One of the great horror "sleepers" of the 1970s, SHOCK WAVES has been freshly transferred and fully restored in High Definition from the only known surviving materials!

As stated before, my first impression of Shock Waves was not good. It was during a time when I was watching all 300 movies that Fangoria featured for their 300th issue, and from what I can gather from my analysis of my final rundown of all the films watched, more subtle horror definitely took the brunt of my criticism. If it didn’t pop or have something truly special to offer, I didn’t necessarily give that movie a positive review. Add in that the version I was watching was not beautiful, was not restored and was considerably more faded than the Blue Underground release and you might imagine how the eye gets tired. We’re talking about a movie that was shot on 16mm, and if not handled properly, these films seem look washed out and the quality lacking. That is not the case with the Blue Underground release. BU has clearly taken every step to provide the proper transfer of Shock Waves with film grain and deeper blacks. No DNR massacre here.

Peter Cushing is quite good as the proprietor of a out-of-order resort on a remote island that is the former experimental lab of the Nazis. It’s not his best role or most iconic, but his eyes can be mean (just remember his role in Star Wars). John Carradine is a treasure and even though nothing will top his performance in The Howling, he plays a salty boat captain with ease. The Nazi zombies themselves are simple but effective especially when rising out of the water to begin their assault on the ignorant, shipwrecked tourists. There could be a thousand of them, but really only a few zombies used in the entire picture (the interview extras are a must for this release). The underwater shots are really unique to the zombie subgenre. How often do you see zombies underwater? The makeup isn’t overdone; the simplicity actually adding to the believability as does the goggles worn by the zombies; living human eyes can ruin the undead experience. The goggles definitely help add to the realism even if they seem costumey at first. Imagine Shock Waves without the iconic goggled boogeymen. The ghost ship itself… ominous and seemed to make me want to rewatch Death Ship (something I though might not happen any time soon as it’s another slow and quiet movie).

This disk is packed with extras and all of them really help cement the necessity of Shock Waves. I needed convincing. The filmmakers convinced me! There’s an Audio Commentary for director/writer, Ken Weiderhorn, makeup designer Alan Ormsby and filmmaker Fred Olen Ray. Producer/cinematographer Reuben Trane is interviewed in Nazi Zombies on a Budget. Composer Richard Einhorn made me yearn for a copy of the Shock Waves score in his interview. Really! Pay attention to this score; it’s like a road map for successful synth scores that will come in the years following this release. Luke Halpin and Brooke Adams are interviewed. The disc also contains a theatrical trailer, TV Spot, Radio Spots and Poster/Still gallery. The movie itself comes from a new transfer and fully restored in HD from the only known surviving materials. I get the feeling that we are very lucky to have this disc in our presence. The reverse includes a chapter menu and photo still from the movie.

If you have seen Shock Waves and wonder why everyone thinks this movie is so damn good, pick up this release and give it a whirl. It’s a game changer. If you’re a fan of Shock Waves, Blue Underground deserves a thank you or Christmas card because they really cared for this release. Before you watch Dead Snow or Dead Snow 2, get in touch with a quiet, creeper in Shock Waves (best enjoyed earlier in the evening since it’s a bit on the quiet side).

You can order Shock Waves now from Blue Underground!

or through DiabolikDVD

Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Ken Wiederhorn, Make-Up Designer Alan Ormsby and Filmmaker Fred Olen Ray
Nazi Zombies On A Budget - Interview with Producer/Cinematographer Reuben Trane
Notes For The Undead - Interview with Composer Richard Einhorn
Sole Survivor - Interview with Star Brooke Adams
From FLIPPER To SHOCK WAVES - Interview with Star Luke Halpin
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spot
Radio Spots
Poster & Still Gallery
English SDH, French, Spanish
85 Mins
Not Rated
Region Code: ALL


  1. jervaise brooke hamsterNovember 29, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    I want to bugger Miley Cyrus.

  2. Dont we all ! ! !.