Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 3rd, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1977
Director: Ken Wiederhorn
Writers: John Kent Harrison, Ken Pare, Ken Wiederhorn
Cast: Peter Cushing, John Carradine, Brooke Adams, Fred Buch, Jack Davidson, Luke Halpin
BluRay released: November 25th, 2014
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
BluRay Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region 0
Retail Price: $29.98
This film has all the ingredients one would expect from a low budget horror film. The bulk of the film is shot in primary location an island, which greatly adds to the story at hand’s claustrophobic vibe. The killers in this film are a never captured SS unit living dead soldiers known as The Death Corps that was never captured by Allied Forces after World War II. Also combination of zombies and SS soldiers make for a formidable killing machine. And besides being undead, they are all highly trained for underwater combat which makes getting away from them extremely difficult.
Though the majority of the narrative is told via flashbacks which are retold by this film’s protagonist the only survivor from the island of death. This does not lesson the blow of a slow moving opening act that takes place on a boat and things don’t fully take shape until everyone from the boat arrives on the island. From there pacing is never again issues as the cast of characters try to figure out where they are and how to get off the island. They finally meet the aforementioned Nazi commandant who warns them that they should leave right away and to sweeten the deal he even gives them a boat to use. Unfortunately this is a horror film and all goods things must come to an end as their attempt to flee via that boat is thwarted by The Death Corps. Fortunately this all sets in motion a solid final act that is genuinely eerie.
Performance things are best summed up adequate, with this film’s most memorable performance coming from Peter Cushing (Corruption) in the role of the Nazi commandant. Reportedly after completing this film Cushing went onto appear in a little film called Star Wars. Another performance of note is Brooke Adams (Days of Heaven, Invasion of the Body Snatchers – 1978 version) in the role of this film’s protagonist Rose. Also not to be overlooked are the actors who portrayed the Nazi zombies and watching them as the rise up from the water is without a doubt this film’s most durable asset.
Where most horror films try to ‘shock’ you with gory deaths sequences, Shock Waves takes the opposite approach. Ultimately this is a film that relies heavily on mood and its true power lies within its atmospheric visuals.
Shock Waves comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a brand new HD transfer has been created and the end result is easily the best this film has ever looked on home video as this new transfer greatly improves colors, black levels and the amount of clarity in every frame. Also there are no issues with compression and grain structure looks natural throughout.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English. The audio sounds clean, clear and balanced throughout. This release comes with three subtitle options, English SDH, French and Spanish.
Extras for this release include a poster & stills gallery, a T.V. spot, radio spots, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 52 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen), four interviews, the first interview with actor Luke Halpin (7 minutes 45 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio), the 2nd interview with actress Brooke Adams (7 minutes 18 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen), the 3rd interview with composer Richard Einhorn (13 minutes 46 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen) and the 4th interview with producer / cinematographer Reuben Trane (21 minutes 14 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen) and an audio commentary with co-screenwriter / director Ken Wiederhorn, make-up designer Alan Ormsby and moderator Fred Olen Ray.
Topics discussed in the interview with Luke Haplin include, his initial shock the first time he read the script for Shock Waves, the cast and his thoughts on the zombies that appear in the film. Topics discussed in the interview with Brooke Adams include, her audition for the film, shooting on location in Miami, the cast, her thoughts on the film and what it meant for her career and how her career is most remembered for her work within the horror film genre. Topics discussed in the interview with Richard Einhorn include, his influences as a composer, how he got involved with this film, the difficulties that arose while trying to compose the score and his thought on his score and the film. Topics discussed in the interview with Reuben Trane include, his origins as a filmmaker, Ken Wiederhorn and the origins of Shock Waves, locations, the cast, special effects, the film’s distribution and his thoughts on this film’s lasting legacy. Topics discussed during the audio commentary include the origins of the film, the cast, how some scenes with multiple actors where shot without all actors in the room at the same time, difficulties that arise during the making of this film, scenes that did not make the final edit, audience reaction to the film and various other production related topics. Overall Shock Waves gets an exceptional release from Blue Underground, recommended.
Note: This film is also being released by Blue Underground on DVD.