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Askew Review 15

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(Blue Underground) 1976. Horror. 85 minutes. Not rated. Off the coast of Florida, a small pleasure cruise boat is nearly plowed over by a huge ship, which appeared out of nowhere. With their boat too damaged to move, the passengers and crew find refuge on a nearby island. Thinking the island is deserted, the survivors are pleased to find a hermit occupying an abandoned resort and ask him for help. However, the pleasure soon turns ugly as the hermit threatens the intruders and orders them off the island. As the frightened clan tries to get off the island, their escape is hindered by death seeking Nazi zombies who have risen from the ocean’s floor.
I remember seeing this movie as a youngster and being fairly creeped out by it. However, nowadays I am a crusty old bastard, and a more mature movie fan, and have changed my opinion of Shock Waves. Although still fairly creepy (I think anything that comes up from the water is creepy), Shock Waves is more frustrating than anything. My biggest compliant is how what could be a shocking scene is ruined due to the director giving it away before it happens. This happens over and over. Why not just have the shocking parts happen and let the viewer/s jump out of their seat/s? Equally frustrating is the fact of why the zombies “woke up” is never clearly revealed. Were they always there but never disturbed, or did the odd sunset at the beginning of the movie wake them from their slumber? Also, the same shocking revelation of a dead body was used twice in this movie. The first scene was cool, but the creativity juices must have dried up when the filmmakers decided to use the same idea later in the movie. Perhaps the oddest thing about Shock Waves is the Captain’s (John Carradine) elbows. More specifically the extra three inches of skin that hangs off his elbows. Kind of looks like the little nubs that hang off of Popeye’s elbows. What else can I bitch about? Oh ya, somebody should have told Peter Cushing to lose the red scarf. On the positive side; the water Nazi zombies are pretty cool looking. The picture and all of its watery shadows is ok, but there are a lot of white speckles and scratches littered throughout the print. The DVD extras include; commentary by the Director, make-up designer, and filmmaker Fred Olin Ray (I didn’t listen to this because I was mad at the director for ruining the scary moments), trailer, tv/radio spots, etc.  – Denis Sheehan



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