Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Eurocine, that French production company that could've taught Kraft a thing or two in the cheese-making department, knocked out a double-dose of brain-racking zombie lameness in 1981--ZOMBIE LAKE and OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES. Both films have several common elements: both were directed by filmmakers who frequently worked as hired guns in between more artistically-driven projects (Jean Rollin in the former, Jess Franco in today's entry under the pseudonym A.M. Frank), both are living dead films that feature reanimated Nazis, and both really, really suck.

The plot of OASIS deals with a German treasure hunter in the African desert searching for a cache of Nazi gold, only to find that the prize is guarded by undead members of the Third Reich. There's not much more to the story than that, the running time padded with scene after scene of conversation set against a suitably bleak desert landscape--if you absolutely must see this, try to pick up the remastered print released by Image, rather than the eye-strainingly grainy version floating around on public domain labels--that's almost as dry as the script. Franco keeps the zombies offscreen for much of the film, which is almost a favor considering the laughably inept makeup slapped upon the zombied extras, though when he lets them loose in the final reel for the climactic undead assault the movie at least becomes watchable. Not quite interesting and far from good, but by this point watchable is a-okay.

With the fast-forward button close at hand, OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES should provide some minor entertainment for crap-film enthusiasts and zombie completists, and at least gives you the chance to use the bathroom (or make a sandwich, or do the Times's Sunday crossword) without having to stop the, ahem, action.

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