CHILLING CLASSICS MONTH: Oasis of the Zombies (1981)

Today’s movie comes to us from Roger Braden, whose Facebook group Valley Nightmares is all about the history of the films that played at the drive-ins and theaters in his home state of Kentucky. He also writes from Drive-In Asylum and likes The Car as much as I do! Thanks for helping out, Roger!

During World War II a Nazi squadron transporting gold across the North African desert are ambushed by the Allied Army and everyone is killed except one man, Captain Robert. Years later Capt. Robert tells his story to German fortune hunter Kurt who reveals that he trained that German squad and murders Capt. Robert so that he can find the gold. Nazi Bastard! After hearing of his father’s death, Capt. Robert’s son discovers his Dad’s diary’s about the battle and the gold and decides to try and find the gold himself. Both men ignoring the legend of ghosts that haunt the oasis where the battle happened.

Looks and sounds like a decent movie to watch, right? You couldn’t be more fucking wrong. Other than the pre-credit opening of two young women stumbling across the seemingly “unfindable” oasis being attacked, there are no more “zombies” until almost halfway through the film. Instead we get story, and we get story flashbacks with scenes from other movies spliced into it. And we get narration of story during some really bad “battle” scenes while some jazzy cymbals play in the background. But Captain Robert is a true badass in these scenes, only using a pistol during the battle despite the Nazi’s having machine guns, grenades and having 5 times the manpower as the Allies.

When the zombies finally make their appearance they are some of the worst looking creatures you’ll ever see. Honestly, the two “main zombies” are fucking hilarious. One is apparently just a concrete head with an eye stuck to it. The other at least walks around, with 2 giant wet bug eyes. How he kept those giant eyes wet despite being buried in the sand is beyond me.

And they are S-L-O-W zombies too. More than a few people, despite seeing the zombies moving towards them like a glacier, wait to the last second to move, and then run right into the pack and get eaten. The gore in this is poorly done, and there’s not as much as one would expect. There is also one incredibly lame “sex” scene. “Day for night” scenes where sometimes its broad daylight when it’s supposed to be dark. The same footage being repeated throughout the film, this is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Trust me, I watched this turd 3 times (!) in October alone. First to refresh my memory from seeing it (for the 2nd time) probably 15 years ago with my sons. The other two times were trying to figure out how to write about it. I can still only name about 3 characters in this entire movie, that’s how forgettable it is. Legendary low budget filmmaker Jess Franco can take full credit for this, despite his many aliases in the credits, as he was the co-editor, co-writer and co-musical score, wrote the screenplay and Directed it. Hell, he even played one of the fucking zombies.

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