Oasis of the Zombies (1981)
(AKA Blood Sucking Nazi Zombies/Treasure Of The Living Dead)
Director: Jesus (Jess) Franco
Cast: Manuel Gelin, France Jordan, Doris Regina
Two sexy, nubile half naked young girls on a trip to the desert wander off into a grave of supposed long dead Nazis (obviously awakened by the wiggling of arse’s in tight sports shorts!) for whom they quickly become lunch.
Then in a rather lengthy flashback the story of lost gold and Nazis is explained and a greedy young pup through his connection with his father, is now on the trail of the lost gold.
Eventually he and his amigos arrive in northern Africa, to find the German Captain from the convoy of Nazis, on the brink of death, after he and his entourage were attacked by the gooey zombies after trying to recover the lost gold.
Despite warnings from the superstitious locals about the “walking dead”, and the death of the German officer, the greedy young’uns are still intent on going to the oasis to find the gold.
Finally they arrive at the oasis and find some of their recent acquaintances slaughtered by the zombies. The night is upon the young scallywags and soon too are the living dead. But, they pluckily fight them off with Molotov cocktails (which they learnt to make at college!!) and torches (flames not batteries!). At which the zombies graciously shuffle off their immortal coil.
There are not many zombies in here, maybe a dozen or so, so it aint exactly “Dawn of The Dead 1978”. But what we do have is a pretty dry and flaky bunch, with the occasional gory, gooey, worm ridden phisog.
Oasis isn’t exactly fast paced, it takes a hell of a long time for the young gold hunters to actually get to the desert, and even longer to get to the oasis.
These Nazi zombies must have rotten wooden limbs as a creaking always precedes their appearance, like 2 tree branches rubbing together in the wind. And talking of wind! Though there is a lot of desert wind sound effects on the soundtrack, I can’t remember seeing a single grain of sand being blown about!
There is really only one gory death in there, where a woman is stripped (of course! It is Jesus Franco movie after all!) and has herself promptly disemboweled. The rest of the zombie munchings are quick and nowhere near as gory as this one scene.
The print of the film looked quite good for such an obscure piece. The lighting looked a bit screwed, though maybe this was the fault of the dodgy “Saturn Productions”, extended play video version I saw. All of the night time scenes were either filmed during the day in dark surroundings, big trees and all that, or were shot when it was time for the sun to be going down. So there are a lot of shots of dark images of people in the foreground with lots of light in the sky in the background, I guess this is “day for night” shooting. Whether it is genuine day for night shooting, or just Franco shooting against the sun I’m not so sure.
Not Franco’s best but seemingly not the worst zombie movie of which Zombie Lake (1980) holds the title. It’s also not the only Nazi Zombie movie, there are supposed to be quite a few, one which comes to mind is “Shock Waves 1975” with Peter Cushing, John Carradine and an early performance from Brooke Adams. Shock Waves for sure though is better than Oasis, and actually does have a couple of good scary bits in it, which well Oasis, I think, lacks.
Franco uses the pseudonyms of A.M Frank for director here and Daniel Le Soeur for producer. Word has it that another version out there (isn’t there always with Franco movies?!) a Spanish version, has Jesus Franco’s wife Lina Romay, in a small part, and is seemingly a better version than the one I saw, with better music, and a couple of extra scenes, which may sound like total masochism, but it seemingly makes for a better film. This other version is called Tombs Of The Living Dead and is out on DVD somewhere.
Review by Giovanni Pistachio, Giovanni can be contacted at: –
© Owned Giovanni Pistachio.