Shock Waves / Death Corps (1977)

Shock Waves / Death Corps (1977)

“There is danger here — danger in the waters.”

A touring boat helmed by a testy captain (John Carradine) becomes stranded on an island inhabited by an aging SS officer (Peter Cushing), who tries to warn the passengers (Brooke Adams, Jack Davidson, and D.J. Sidney) and crew (Luke Halpin and Don Stout) to leave before they’re harmed by Nazi zombies lurking in the water.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • At Sea
  • Brooke Adams Films
  • Flashback Films
  • Horror
  • John Carradine Films
  • Nazis
  • Peter Cushing Films
  • Zombies

Response to Peary’s Review:
In what is likely one of his shortest reviews for GFTFF (just six sentences long), Peary writes that while the premise of this “exciting, unexpected treat for horror fans” “isn’t promising”, it’s nonetheless a “well made” “low-budget chiller”. Peary’s sentiment echoes that of many fans, who seem to concur that this film holds a unique grip and possesses a “weird atmosphere that will haunt you for entire days”. Unfortunately, the movie is heavy on atmosphere but short on plot; given that it’s structured as a flashback flick with the sole survivor identified, there’s little actual suspense — and yet, those bespectacled Nazi zombies sure are disturbing nonetheless… The idea of Nazis enduring in superhuman fashion and continuing to wreak random havoc on humanity is an undeniably powerful one. As the Q Network’s James Kendrick writes in his generally positive review, the film “is decidedly creepy and quite clever in masking its limitations and highlighting its strengths.”

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Haunting imagery of water-logged Nazi zombies

  • Richard Einhorn’s score

Must See?
No, though it’s certainly worth a look if this genre is your cup of tea — and it’s of general interest given its cult status.


2 thoughts on “Shock Waves / Death Corps (1977)

  1. First viewing. A big ol’ MEH on this one. Not must-see.

    Actually, I think the film’s premise is the only thing that works in its favor. It’s certainly not “well-made”. I haven’t a clue why it would haunt anyone “for entire days”. Nor is it “decidedly creepy and quite clever” about…anything.

    Even if there was little money behind it (which there obviously was), a good dose of cleverness would have helped here (the direction is abysmal…but then so is most of the acting).

    Considering that the zombie soldiers are the most ‘terrifying’ that the SS ever came up with, they don’t do very much – but they’re very good at popping up out of water and standing/staring menacingly.

    The film (which is a verrry long 85 minutes) plays out in the tried-and-true fashion of ‘And Then There Were None’ but, along the way, it’s easier to look forward to each murder instead of dreading it.

    It’s a source of amusement to learn that the only way the zombies can be killed is if they have their sunglasses removed – oh, the horror!

    Though not frightening at all, the film is nevertheless frightfully bad.

  2. A cracking low budget gem that deserves all of the plaudits it’s received down the years. It’s also the kind of non gory, non exploitative horror film that’s perfect for younger horror buffs just getting into the genre.

    Beautifully, atmospherically made on a very low budget with decent performances. I can’t say it’s a must see for general film buffs and historians unless they have specialise in horror.

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