Shock Waves

A diving trip gone wrong puts a vacationing group into a sticky situation with what should be the coolest film villain of all time… Nazi zombies.  Unfortunately, this one ends up being all wet (very punny!).  John Carradine plays the Captain of a shoddy diving boat taking tourists off on a discount trip.  After having a few engine problems finally worked out, they set sail back on course.  The only problem is they don’t really know where they are, so finding that course could prove to be a little difficult…  All they end up finding are Shock Waves!

During the night, deckhand Keith and one of the passengers, Rose are talking about their course, when something happens to unearth a giant freighter wreck.  The rising wreck from the ocean floor manages to damage the hull of their boat, and their Captain disappears the next morning.  They decide to evacuate to the shore of a nearby island, and during their trip they find the body of their Captain gurgling underwater.  Once they arrive on the island, it first appears to be desolate, but they notice a structure in the distance which they discover to be an abandoned hotel.

When they get to the hotel, a weird old man (Peter Cushing) is waiting for them to basically tell them to get the hell out of dodge.  He’s been alone for a long time and would like to keep it that way.  After the shipwrecked crew tell him about the shipwreck they ran into on the reef, he becomes agitated and needs to have a look for himself.  After some more of the slow moving story, the old man reveals himself as an old Nazi Commander, leader of a group of soldiers known as the Death Corps, or Totenkopf, who are neither dead, nor alive – but somewhere in between.  Once the war was over, he escaped with his soldiers, and wandered the seas aimlessly until he realized no new commands were coming from base, so he decided to sink the ship with his soldiers aboard, and he would voluntarily seclude himself for his remaining days on this island.  Oh, and by the way, these guys are trained for water combat… so you guys are pretty much screwed – did I forget to mention that?

So, Nazi zombies… That sounds like probably one of the coolest types of zombies, right?  Well, these guys are kinda like zombies, but not really.  They don’t eat brains, they don’t really care about brains at all, they just kill.  Oh, and they don’t kill you by smashing your skull or running after you or eating you alive, they basically plod along solitarily and wait until you’re near water so they isolate you and they drown you.  Yeah, you read right, they drown you.  Oh, and how do you take them out?  Shoot them in the head?  No no no… You take off their dark goggles that they wear… See, the bright light hurts their eyes so much that they collapse and then their faces get all mushy and stuff.

This is about as gory as the movie gets, unfortunately.
This is about as gory as the movie gets, unfortunately.

The characters are mostly inconsequential.  The only two that are even cool are Keith and Rose.  One of the passengers, “Norman” is such a douche, you wish he’d just die first.  He’s a whiny 5 year old trapped in a middle aged man’s body.  The “stars” of this one, David Carradine and Peter Cushing, do a pretty bad job.  Carradine is convincing as a drunk old broken down boat Captain, but I don’t know if he was supposed to appear that drunk.  Cushing on the other hand has awesome command of accents as he can’t decide if he should have an English, French or German one.  To be fair, he was probably posted all throughout Europe, so maybe he got it confused being a Nazi officer and all.

When it’s all said and done, this one just doesn’t end up being exciting, thrilling or horrifiying at all.  It does have some entertainment value in a scene that I had to rewind several times near the end where a small group of survivors decides to hole themselves up in a big refridgerator to hold off the creeping death.  One member gets claustrophobic and overreacts in arguably the best performance of the film.  There’s no gore, the pacing is sloooow, and the action is nearly nonexistant.  I really wanted to like it, and looked forward to watching it, but it ultimately disappointed me.  Shock Waves rates at 1.5 waterlogged nazi zombies out of 5

Shock Waves is available on VHS and DVD from


10 thoughts on “Shock Waves”

  1. I know, I was really looking forward to this after a friend of mine told me about it. I had some really high hopes for it, thinking it has to be pure awesome… I took Friday off and watched it and was on the verge of falling asleep in the middle of it. It was really disappointing.

  2. Talk about a total waste of a good idea. What the hell?? Melting cuz the light is too bright?? And no blood in a zombie movie?? Total suckage. Thanks for warning me. This sounds like one zombie movie I will actually pass on.

  3. I read about this on the IMDB forums before I watched it and almost everyone there was saying how this film was underrated… I have to disagree. It had a decent amount of suspense with maybe two good scares, but besides that, it’s a totally throwaway movie.

  4. When we compare this rare jewel to other modern gore movies, it will do badly because it was not meant to be a gore-feast, nudie flick, and did not have a very large budget, even then. I “think” that Mr. Carradine and Mr. Cushing earned just over $1k a day. While their talent was wasted, they could do so much better, they were at the ends of their movie lives, unlike Mr. Lee, and they never really had the roles written, or offered, to them like they did before.

    For those of us older movie fans, this is a treat. No nude scenes, bad language, or bloodbaths that could detract from it being a “family” style movie, and this was 1977, before a starlet was only known for her breast sizes and nude time, not acting ability. Ms. Jamie Lee Curtis had perhaps one topless scene is her time as a movie queen, and has the best ability of most, if not all, of the ladies of film. To me, while she has the beauty to be nude throughout a movie, she has far more talent than to rely on that crutch. Thus, her movies, as well as the older one of Mr. Cushing, Mr. Carradine, and with one lapse by Mr. Lee, in “To Satan, A Daughter,” these movies can be enjoyed by young and old, alike.

    I agree, not up to the horror of the 1980’s, but one I still enjoy as a classic of acting (both vets carry the weak roles well and almost seem to enjoy them) and not a borderline porno or lesson in profanity. In fact, I wish that they would remake this film, in the craze to remake the current line of stuff, that falls below the originals of Mr. Romero and his directing peers.

  5. It is really sad that most of the people who left reviews for this film (and the reviewer himself) seem to be of a newer generation that knows absolutely nothing about pacing or mood or audio/visual structure when it comes to film. ‘Shock Waves’ is all about mood, isolation, location and sound. This is a superior film for being made on such a miniscule budget. It’s claustrophobic, gritty, primal & raw. But most so-called ‘horror’ fans now are content with the retarded ‘Hostels’ and “Saws’ and Bay remakes that suck a cat’s ass. Everything has to be instant gratification. There’s no respect for imagination or tension anymore. The younger generation is full of shallow, stunted, deficient brain-dead waste that wouldn’t know a good movie if it bit them on the ass. Pity.

    1. This review is our opinion. We base our scores and reviews on the entertainment value. Maybe you agree with it, maybe you don’t. I could just as easily say that you’re dead wrong, and that’s the great thing about subjectivity.

      Anyhow, regardless of how you feel, I appreciate that you took the time to comment and let your thoughts be known.

      1. “Opinions are immunity from being told you’re wrong.” Msc is right on. If you only eat Velveeta, you’ll probably never enjoy Wisconson cheddar. What a shame.

  6. Wow. I hate the SAW movies and I feel so stereotyped. On a happy note, however, I feel PUMPED that someone referred to me as a “younger generation.” Obviously MSC is not a reader of my blog. 🙂

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