director Ken Wiederhorn
Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
a tale of a fateful trip
that started somewhere I dunno
aboard this tiny ship.
The first mate was a chill 70’s dude,
the cook and skipper old and grizzled.
Four passengers were about to realize
their vacation plan had fizzled.
The weather got all orange and yellow.
The tiny ship got stuck.
If not for the booze the ship’s cook drank,
the spaghetti dinner might have sucked.
The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
with Peter Cushing,
Nazi zombies too,
the car salesman and his wife,
Brooke Adams, and
some other guy,
here on Nazi zombie isle.
When you’re like me, you get an idea in your head (and I get a lot of them believe it or not), you’ve got to research, investigate, follow through. Case in point: nazi zombies. My current curiosity began with Jean Rollin’s Zombie Lake (1981), ricocheted off Dead Snow (2009) and flitted next to Oasis of the Zombies (1981). But all signs pointed to Shock Waves (1977) as the touchstone of all Nazi zombie movies.
It’s a lot stranger and more interesting than the others.
It does start out a bit like “Gilligan’s Island”, if your captain was an old John Carradine, the first mate a young adult Luke Halpin (the boy from the Flipper TV show). Oh, and a young Brooke Adams (later of Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978)). And when the ship becomes becalmed and damaged by a ghost ship, it sinks.
Only the desert isle that they wash up on isn’t utterly deserted. It’s inhabited by Peter Cushing, a former SS head of a special ops group of unkillable Nazi soldiers, whose ship he wrecked after the war because they were so relentless and unstoppable. And they all wear goggles.
Really, it’s pretty cool. And not at all badly done. I’m willing to guess that it will be some time before a better Nazi zombie film is made.
And case in point on this odd sub-sub-subgenre: there weren’t so many of them up until the 21st century. While it’s still relatively unproliferated as yet, it’s been on the rise. Like the corrupted flesh of dead Nazi soldiers.