- Almost Human
- Shock Waves (USA) | Le commando des morts-vivants [The commando of the living dead] (France) | L'occhio nel triangolo [The eye in the triangle] (Italy)
- Year of Film
- Ken Wiederhorn
- Peter Cushing, Brooke Adams, John Carradine, Fred Buch, Jack Davidson, Luke Halpin, D.J. Sidney, Don Stout, Clarence Thomas
- Origin of Film
- Genre(s) of Film
- Type of Poster
- Style of Poster
- Origin of Poster
- Year of Poster
- Size (inches)
- 30" x 39 12/16"
- SS or DS
- Once they were... | The Deep end of horror!
Produced and released in the US as Shock Waves, this effective low-budget horror features Nazi super-soldier zombies attacking an unsuspecting group of holidaymakers whose boat breaks down near a mysterious island. Prolific character actor John Carradine plays the crotchety boat captain who, despite his billing on the poster, is quickly dispatched leaving the rest of the group, including Brooke Adams (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, to discover they’re not alone on the island. Horror legend Peter Cushing appears as the former Nazi commander of ‘Der Toten Corp’, a group of super soldiers who were the result of a series of World War II experiments that left them unable to feel pain and breath underwater.
Cushing, sporting a spectacular facial scar, has time for one German-accented explanatory speech and some moments of rambling around the island before he too is offed; a short but memorable performance that also sees him given top billing. That same year the actor would make arguably his most famous non-horror appearance in George Lucas’ Star Wars.
The film features nothing in the way of gory splatter kills seen in other zombie films of the period (particularly 1978s Dawn of the Dead) and most of the deaths occur off screen or see the victims being dragged underwater by the silent killers. What it lacks in gore the film more than makes up for in atmosphere, and this is helped in no small part to the excellent electronic soundtrack that features a pulsing bass rhythm during the moments of tension.
The scenes featuring the Toten Corp underwater are effectively done and the costumes and zombie makeup are also decent considering the low budget. True, some of the acting leaves a lot to be desired and the script is occasionally laughably clunky, but it’s still a horror film that’s well worth seeking out. Sadly it appears that there are currently no plans for a blu-ray release, which is a shame considering the terrible picture quality of the current DVD releases.
The excellent artwork on this quad features on the American one sheet (note the tagline), as well as on the posters for several other countries. In typical 1970s style the artist took certain liberties with both the size of the creatures and the number of bikini-clad beauties in peril. I’m unsure who is responsible for it so if you know please get in touch.
Ted, a friend of the site, noticed that the artwork on the quad has actually been redrawn as it differs in detail from the illustration seen on the US one sheet. Take a look at this high-resolution scan, and in particular the faces of the people, for confirmation.
The excellent trailer is on YouTube.
Bob Larkin was the artist behind the original US one sheet artwork.
I remember the first time I watched Shock Waves, sometime during autumn of 1978 or ’79. I must have been 11 or 12 years-old back then. Shock Waves was playing on late night TV, and I was glued to the action.
As the reviewer noted, there wasn’t any splatter or gore. In fact, there wasn’t anything by today’s horror standards to keep a viewer interested.
The silent stalking of those obnoxious vacationers by “Der Toten Korps” and Richard Einhorn’s eerie electronic soundtrack were just 2 of the several atmospheric hooks that kept me watching.
Shock Waves is still one of my favorite horror films!
Thanks to the author for this creepy trip down Amnesia Lane. The large, hi res scans of the poster art is a big plus.