By Jerry Smith
As far as zombie films go, if you’ve seen one, you’ve just about seen them all. With the exception of the original trilogy from Romero, a Fulci film or two and various other horror auteurs who have given breaths of fresh air into the zombie film subgenre, the flesh-eating undead have slowly crept through enough movies to fill the Grand Canyon, and very few do anything daring or unique. Ken Wiederhorn’s 1977 film SHOCK WAVES (aka DEATH CORPS) is not only that breath of fresh air that so many other zombie films fail at providing, but it’s just a damned good horror film in general, and the subject of Blue Underground’s newest HD release.
Beginning its tale with the finding of Rose (Brooke Adams from the 1978 version of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS), a dehydrated sole survivor of a mysterious attack, SHOCK WAVES establishes a mystery of wanting to know what happened, before providing an explanation that is truly one of the most original takes on the zombie film of all time. While aboard a small (and run down) commercial boat filled with a few other passengers, Rose and the others become stranded after a series of events, with everything from the ship’s captain (the late John Carradine) being less of leader and more of a grumpy old man, to engine failure and to top it all off, a massive (and somewhat invisible) ship causing them to wreck their boat.
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What sets SHOCK WAVES so far apart from every other zombie film, is how original it is, with its undead being so very different than any other take on the filmic ghoul. These zombies aren’t interested in flesh or brains and walking at a slow pace, they’re methodical and cunning, slowly stalking their prey before rising from the waters and taking the individual out. Eerie stuff…
The HD transfer is exactly what one would hope it to be, cleaned up, but not to excessively. It looks great in HD, but there’s still that grain and “film” look to it, making for a viewing experience that feels authentic. As far as supplemental material goes, there’s an impressive amount of new interviews with everyone from producer/cinematographer Reuben Trane, to stars Adams and Luke Halpin to Composer Richard Einhorn. Blue Underground never skimps on their releases, and SHOCK WAVES is yet another great release from them and is, in this critic’s opinion, an exceptional treatment of one of the five best zombie films of all time.
DELIRIUM REVIEW: 8/10