• Oasis of the Zombies



    R
    eleased by: Kino Lorber/Redemption
    Released on: 2/26/2013
    Director: Jess Franco
    Cast: Manuel Gélin, France Lomay, Jeff Montgomery, Henri Lambert, Caroline Audret
    Year: 1982
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    The Movie:

    An officer in World War II fought a serious battle against those Nazi Germans, taking place at an oasis in the African desert. After he and his men slaughtered the fiends, he found his way to sanctuary with a sheik of some sort and the sheik of some sort’s sister. After the soldier knocks her up, he goes back to the war and upon his return his girl has died during the birth of their bastard love child. Decades later the soldier is murdered for the secret of gold that was left behind by the Nazis at the oasis.

    The murderer of the soldier takes a crew to the oasis to look for the gold, but instead finds death at the hands of the Nazi’s who hold vigil. The thing is the Nazis have been dead for decades but just don’t know it. In death they protect the gold they stole in life, and eat anyone who comes within range, even if they stumble upon it by accident. But someone else is after the gold as well. The bastard love child of the solider learns of the gold after his father’s death and brings his buddies with him to Africa to find the six million bucks worth of gold. Will the zombies let them take it? Probably not.

    This basic story is not executed in a basic way. This is Jess Franco, and the only thing consistent with a Jess Franco movie is that it will be…different. Oasis of the Zombies, much like its director, is known under a number of different names, such as Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies and The Treasure of the Living Dead. It jumps all over the place and much of the time doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. For example it starts off with two young women, one straight out of a Robert Crumb comic book, stumbling upon the battle site while driving around in their jeep. Zombies kill them off-screen (there is very little gore in this movie) and then they never appear again. And what were they doing out there in the first place?

    Ok, so the story isn’t the film’s strong point. Surely then the visuals should be intriguing. Nope. Franco uses insert footage from a war movie and uses it way too much, with little effort to attempt to match it to the footage he shot. It’s so blatantly obvious that it becomes amusing. The special effects are shitty, so much so that they also become amusing. At one point, a zombie is choking a gold seeker with its skeleton hands. You can plainly see the hands of a crewmember holding the skeleton hands to the man’s throat. The zombie make-up looks like nothing more than oatmeal being held on by maple syrup, and what quick shot there is of anything more than some stage blood is some animal intestines with no blood on them.

    The pacing is so slow it’s sleep inducing. The loads of extended shots of nothing happening to pad the short running time get a bit humorous themselves, adding to the pleasure this film brings. Pleasure? Yeah pleasure. This style of “bah…fuck it” filmmaking is so entertaining to those who appreciate it and Oasis of the Zombie is loaded with moments that shouldn’t disappoint. The acting is pretty abysmal, as is the dialogue (“let’s make Molotov cocktails…like in school”); scenes taking place at night were clearly filmed during the day, and it really doesn’t look like night at all; pasty-faced zombies taking forever to do anything. And then there’s the funeral parlor soundtrack that seemingly never stops. A fair amount of sleaze is present, as the zombies appear to be perverts as well and cannibals, and there’s no shortage of cute European ladies and men with bad haircuts.

    It’s not a movie Franco will be remembered for, but it sure is entertaining, despite the fact that it’s so slow.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Blu-ray has a 1080p HD image, with a 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The stock footage looks pretty cruddy, with lots of dirt and damage, but the stuff Franco shot looked a lot better than was expected most of the time. Colors are pretty strong here, and detail is pretty good. At times things look a bit washed out though. As with other discs from the Kino-Redemption line, digital noise reduction appears absent as does edge enhancement, but it doesn’t seem like the restoration efforts are on par with other releases from the series. Audio is an LPCM mono track, but 2-channel, in French or English. It serves its purpose, but sometimes the dialogue is tough to make out. English subtitles help that, but then the dialogue spoken on the English track is often different than the dialogue being read. Adds to the humor of the movie really. Some minor hissing is there, but nothing distracting. Balance seems proper. No authoring glitches were noticed.

    Extras are not present, other than some trailers for other movies from the label: Zombie Lake, Female Vampire, Exorcism, and Oasis of the Zombies.

    The Final Word:

    A fun movie if you dig whacko cinema. Not so fun if you’re looking for a good zombie movie. That this ain’t.


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    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Clive Smith's Avatar
      Clive Smith -
      This one's so slow and poorly staged that it somehow works for me. Real dream state stuff, which I dig.
    1. Scott's Avatar
      Scott -
      I dig it too, not the best movie but I like the desert setting and dreamy atmosphere.
    1. bgart13's Avatar
      bgart13 -
      I actually liked this, even with my expectations lowered significantly. Also, I think it's miles better than ZOMBIE LAKE...
    1. Paul L's Avatar
      Paul L -
      I have a soft spot for this, but much prefer the Spanish version. I think I'll pass on this Blu for that very reason, at least for the time being.