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Oasis of the Zombies


Title: Oasis of the Zombies
Year Of Release: 1982
Running Time:
82 minutes
DVD Released By: Image Entertainment
Directed By: Jesús Franco
Writing Credits: Jesús Franco (as A.L. Mariaux), Ramón Llidó

Starring:
Manuel Gélin, Eduardo Fajardo, France Lomay
Taglines:
1. There's No Rest for the Wicked in the Desert of the Living Dead.
2.
The Ultimate Horror Lies Within the Wasteland.
3.
If you were terrified by "Dawn of the Dead"...this one will eat you alive!
4.
From Jess Franco, director of "Vampyros Lesbos" A Relentless Journey Into an Undead Apocalypse...
Alternate Titles:
1. Oasis of the Living Dead

2. The Treasure of the Living Dead
3. Grave of the Living Dead
4. Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies

Review Date: 8.15.20

Shadow's Title: "Oasis of the Morons"

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Characters
Colonel Kurt Meitzell – During WWII he was in the Afrika Korps and under his command he dispatched a convoy transporting gold that was later ambushed by British forces. Decades later, he heads back to the desert to find the lost gold, dismissive of the claim that the area is now guarded by the dead soldiers he once trained. He learns how very true those tales turned out to be.
Ingrid – This is Kurt’s dumb wife. She accompanies him on his quest to find the lost Nazi gold, probably because she didn’t trust him to vanish forever once he found it. She pokes her head out of a tent and sees a crowd of zombies so what does she do? She runs right outside into their arms. Idiot.
Captain Blabert – A British officer tasked with stopping the German convoy during WWII. He and his men set up an ambush at the titular oasis and a fierce battle ensues. He is the only survivor and thus the only one who knows the location of the oasis as well as the lost gold. He wanders into the desert before being rescued by some of the locals.
Sheik Mohamed Al-Kafir – He rescues the lost Captain Blabert and allows him to recover at his home. How does Blabert repay him? By knocking up his daughter and bailing, that’s how. Many years later he helps Blabert’s son Robert – who is his grandson – on his quest to locate the lost Nazi gold. At the very end he has to rescue Robert’s ass from the desert as well.
Aisha – The daughter of the Sheik. She takes it upon herself to nurse captain Blabert back to health and oversee his recovery. He takes a liking to her and the feeling ends up being mutual because before he returns to his army, she takes him out into the desert to have sex (where else?). When he returns for her two years later, he learns she died giving birth to their son.
Robert Blabert – How’s that for a goofy name? Apparently in the French language track, his name doesn't sound as silly. He is attending school in London when he learns of his father’s death. Reading dad’s old journals leads him to mount another expedition to find the lost Nazi gold. Does he take expert archaeologists and survivalists with him? Oh, hell no. He takes his dipshit friends from school.
Sylvie – One of Robert’s friends from school. The movie never really made it clear, but I think they were supposed to be a couple. If not, I’m sure she gave the idea of hooking up with Robert plenty of thought when she thought he might be coming into millions of dollars worth of gold. Hell, for that much, I might even switch teams.
Ronald – Another of Robert’s friends. I think without supervision, this moron would have gotten himself killed sooner rather than later in life. It just happened to be a lot sooner. He hooks up with Erika, the blonde hottie they meet in Tripoli. After one night, he’s pining away for her like a lost puppy when she has to leave. Lucky for him he meets her again. Then they both die.
Ahmed – This was the last of Robert’s friends to accompany him on his quest for the gold. I suppose as a Muslim, Robert figured he was expert enough on the area and customs to act as guide. I think he would have been better served taking Marcus Brody with him. In fact this guy was so bad at knowing the area, he walked right into a group of zombies without seeing them. Idiot.
Professor Zanicken – Everyone pronounced his named as Zanicken, but the IMB page lists it as Deniken. This guy was in Tripoli with a camera guy, a sound guy and a hot blonde chick. From that much info I’d think he was there to produce a porno. What he was doing there is never exactly made clear, though I think he was documenting the local scenery and customs.
Erika – She was working with Professor Zanicken in some capacity that is never made clear. Was she his secretary? Student? Lover? Maybe all three? She does hook up with moron Ronald and bangs him, so I don’t think she was getting it anywhere else, though I’m sure Francis and John sure tried. In the end she falls victim to a gopher zombie. No, not a zombie gopher…a gopher zombie.
Francis – He works for Professor Zanicken as a camera guy. After the professor’s group parts company with Robert’s group, the latter find them again at the oasis. Both he and John are dead, having been killed by zombies offscreen. I can’t help but wonder what the footage he was rolling at the time looks like.
John – He works for Professor Zanicken as a sound guy. After the professor’s group parts company with Robert’s group, the latter find them again at the oasis. Both he and John are dead, their bodes not far apart from one another, which implies they were taken by surprise by the zombies. Erika was a ways away, unconscious, so at least she was able to run away some.
The Zombies – These are the dead German Afrika Korps soldiers who went tearing through the desert transporting gold and killing everyone they came across. Hell, they were so mean, they’d even turn around and come back to an area if there were people that missed the opportunity to get killed. After being ambushed and killed by British forces, their zombified corpses now guard the oasis where they died, killing anyone who enters.

 

The Plot Hold your cursor over an image for a pop-up caption

Oh, so it’s set in Berkeley. The very first things we see are some sand dunes, accompanied by what I would deem “stereotypical middle eastern” music. How so? Well, there’s a slow irregular beat played while someone is blowing some type of pipe or flute of the kind you see snake charmers using. Alas, there are no snake charmers here, nor are there any snakes, as the next shot shows us an open top jeep barreling through a desert that is obviously very different than the one with the sand dunes. Similar, but different.

In the jeep are two young women. Both are dressed in tank tops and tight, undersized shorts. Not exactly the best garb for exploring the desert. They roll into a sizable oasis and come to a halt. The driver wants to know where they are located. The girl in the passenger seat consults a map and says they are at a particular Oasis. Don’t ask me the name she said because my DVD has no subtitles and listening to her say the name over and over again just gave me a headache. Note that the map she is using doesn’t seem to feature a desert area, but instead shows dozens and dozens of roads, towns, rivers and lakes on it. Talk about being lost! I don’t even think they are on the same continent! Then again, most women can’t read a map to save their lives. The pair decides to get out and stretch their legs, considering they have been driving across the desert for the last fifteen hours. WTF? Fifteen hours in the open desert dressed like that? They’d be fried worse than a bucket of Colonel Sanders’ original recipe if that were the case.

So the two go stomping off into the oasis, which seems to cover about the same amount of space as a decent-sized city park. There are plenty of trees, bushes, a large pond and plenty of fallen palm fronds piled up in places. The two chatter inanely as they venture forth, failing to notice old skulls or half-buried equipment emblazoned with the Nazi swastika emblem. A sound now is heard, like someone running a nail up and down an old washboard. One girl describes it as a creaking sound. I’ll admit that under the right circumstances, it can be an eerie sound. Or maybe I’m just jaded after watching one too many Juon films and other Japanese horror flicks that are loaded with spirits that make similar sounds.

The girls walk some more, hand in hand and we get a long shot of their butts as they chatter on seemingly without taking a breath. They finally see the rusted remains of an old vehicle that had some sort of large gun mounted on it. As one girl pulls at the wreckage, the other begins to get more and more unnerved, as that strange creaking sound is heard a couple more times. Then there is a close-up of a spider in its web. Why? I sure don’t know. Is it an allegory for these two braindead broads, who have stepped so willingly into the lair of….something? The one girl – the driver – decides she has had enough of this place and announces that she is heading back to the car. With that she turns and begins to haul ass. The other girl declares that she is “no fun” and continues to pull on the butt of an old rifle stuck in the wreckage.

The driver dashes across an open space towards the camera. A she nears some bushes, two hands rise quickly from the dirt and grab her by the legs. This is funny for a number of reasons:

1. There is an obvious mound of dirt piled up which helps to hide the actors concealed in the soil.
2. There are definitely two people who are grabbing her because each hand is a right hand.
3. She has to visibly slow down a tad to allow the hands time to firmly grasp her ankles.
4. You can actually see one of the guys lying there in a dark gray outfit!

Naturally, she lets out a scream. So do I, in fact – a scream of laughter. Hearing her friend holler, the other gal stops pulling at the rifle and looks over her shoulder. She catches a glimpse of something that frightens her as she also lets loose with a scream and then turns to flee. The first gal continues to shriek and we get the impression she is pulled to the ground by those two right hands. The second girl is now running away from something…something represented by a POV shot that is hot on her tail. In fact, it’s moving much faster than we’ll see the zombies move later in the film. Maybe one was on a skateboard or a Segway or something similar. Anyway, she falls to the ground and the camera is pushed up to her screaming, terrified face. I can only assume her and her ditzy friend are now dead. Watch closely during the POV shot and you'll catch a split second view of a radio tower in the distance!

POW. Time for the opening credits. The same drum and flute/pipe combo is now heard, only now with a faster beat and tempo, and sounding very much like someone’s idea of desert chase music. The credits unfold over an image that is supposed to be Tripoli, in Libya. When that’s over we see a jeep pull up to a large building somewhere in the city. Driving is Kurt Meitzell along with a woman passenger. He is here to see a Captain Blabert and orders his female companion to remain in the jeep. Before he knocks to gain entrance, he fiddles with a pen before replacing it in his shirt pocket.

“I’ve been trying this new whiskey diet and so far I’ve lost three days.”Inside he meets with Blabert, a retired English army officer. Kurt himself was in the German army during World War II and on November 15th of 1943, he prepared a convoy of men and equipment to cross the north African desert. This convoy was also carrying six million dollars’ worth of gold, but never reached its destination. It was lost somewhere in the desert and only Blabert knows where as he was part of the forces that intercepted the convoy. Now, all these years later, these two former enemies are going to ally with one another to retrieve the gold. Blabert mentions that legend now says that the ghosts of the dead Germans haunt the area around the treasure, but Kurt says he does not believe in that. Blabert then pulls out a map and shows Kurt exactly where the lost convoy and its gold are located: the oasis at Drour el Ousour. The same place where we saw dumb and dumber get killed just a few moments ago, though I don’t think that was the name they used for the place. Oh, who cares.

No sooner has Blabert revealed that nugget of information than Kurt whips out his pen, jabs it down on Blabert’s hand and then clicks it several times. Whatever type of ink is in that pen, it's some potent shit because it takes Blabert all of eight seconds to drop dead. Even Vegamite doesn’t work that fast. I must assume Kurt had concealed a syringe inside the pen. So much for the team up! Kurt gathers up the map and returns to the jeep. His female companion, who one assumes to be his wife, is asking all sorts of annoying questions like Where’s Blabert? Isn’t he coming with us? Why not? Things Kurt doesn’t want to talk about seeing as how he just murdered the guy. He starts the jeep up and away they go.

Just like that we move to London and see Big Ben, Parliament and some of those famous double-decker buses in some footage that has to have been pulled from some old vault. The vehicle and hair styles on display just don’t match the early 80’s. We go to some sort of college or university to see Robert Blabert, son of the recently murdered Captain Blabert. He gets a telegram informing him of his father’s demise and announces that he must go to Africa, where his father has lived since the war.

And just as fast as we hit London, we are now back in Africa to see that Robert has arrived at his father’s place – where the walls seem plastered with an endless collection of painted portraits of old men – and has started going through pop’s stuff. One of the things he finds is an old journal from his father’s days in the army, most notably when he served in Africa. Funny enough, it’s a journal entry regarding the German convoy and the Nazi gold. Coincidence? I think not.

As he reads, the book comes to life and starts talking to him! No, wait! That’s just a voiceover reading aloud the contents for our benefit. On April the 18th of 1943, Captain Blabert and his men were ordered to intercept a German Afrika Corps convoy, though they were not informed what it was carrying. The Germans were killing everyone they encountered while crossing the desert, leaving no one alive to tell of their passing. Blabert and his men set out in three jeeps and caught up with the Germans. According to Kurt earlier in the film, the convoy did not get under way until November 15th of that year! What the hell? Did Blabert and his men just drive around the desert for seven months waiting for the Germans to appear? Cue the harp music because I sense a flashback coming on!!

 

Begin Flashback!

We see three stock footage jeeps driving across the sand. The voiceover states that the native people were friendly towards them and rendered aid when they could. They stop and the leader – presumably a young Captain Blabert played by the same older actor, looks through his binoculars and spies stock footage Germans in the distance. Stock footage jeeps give chase, arriving at a stock footage oasis, intercut with the oasis we have already seen. The locals tell Blabert that the Germans are coming back and that they’re killing everyone. Well, I suppose if this guy is still alive and the Germans are sticking with the “leave no one alive” plan, they must come back to finish the job or look incompetent to the other “take no prisoners” units. The locals want to help and Blabert plans an ambush at the oasis for the Germans when they return.

The stock footage Germans soon arrive at the oasis, park their vehicles and disembark. They are enjoying a smoke and some water from the pond and otherwise just relaxing after a hard day of genocide. Then the English attack. What follows next is a truly epic clash between the two forces. The gunfire is blazing, men are rushing back and forth and all around. There are explosions aplenty. One great shot has a soldier pull the pin on a hand grenade, hand it off to a comrade who then hurls it at the Germans. Now that’s ballsy! There’s heroism! There’s villainy! There’s plenty of death! It’s truly awesome and glorious!

It’s just too bad that none of it was shot for this movie.

“Ugh. Damn quiche. Where’s a toilet when you need one?”Yes, you read that right. The entire battle is 99% stock footage from another film (Heroes Without Glory from 1971), with the occasional shot of Blabert thrown in to make it appear as if he is the midst of all that chaos. Finally, the stock footage battle is over and EVERYONE is dead except for Blabert. He wanders out into the open desert clutching a hand to his gut. When he falls over, we see that there is no blood on his shirt or any other sign of a wound, so we can only surmise that he has a tummy ache. He eventually falls and doesn’t get up. Later is he found by some locals who probably wonder why this white boy was just lying there in the middle of the desert as if he fell from the sky. They take him, throw his ass on a camel and take him back to their settlement.

Surprisingly, they don’t cook him, but rather, take him to the home of Sheik Mohamed Al-Kafir. There he is nursed back to health, overseen by the Sheik’s daughter, Aisha. Blabert spends time sketching her on paper while he recovers. One day while having tea with the Sheik, a stock footage plane flies by overhead. The Sheik says there is a big battle brewing. Blabert wants to get back to his own people, but first he wants to return to the oasis. The Sheik warns him not to go, as there was no one left alive after the battle there. He adds that the dead now guard the place and that the oasis is cursed. Blabert doesn’t believe it, but out of deference to the Sheik, he agrees not to go back there. Of course, before Blabert can leave, Aisha takes him out into the desert for some alone time which naturally involves getting naked and humping. That is going to get sand in places you’d rather not think about.

Geez, is this flashback over yet? It sure has been going on a while now. It’s like a whole new movie just started up in the middle of the one we were watching. I’ve almost forgotten about Robert and Kurt and Kurt’s annoying wife and the promise of zombies.

The voiceover and the stock footage battle scenes now return. Hell, I think this footage was from the same battle we saw earlier. Blabert explains that he rejoined his forces and the war continued for him for another two years. The hope of seeing Aisha again kept him going. No, the hope of screwing Aisha again kept you going! Be honest. So eventually Blabert returns to the Sheik’s village, but finds it empty. Just the Sheik, who sits staring absently into the distance. When the Sheik recognizes Blabert he informs him that Aisha is dead. She died giving birth to Blabert’s son.

End Flashback!

 

We return to Robert who is now relating his father’s tale to his friends Sylvie, Ronald and Ahmed. He has returned to London and his schooling. He says that this dad never saw Aisha again. Well, or course not. She was DEAD. That’s how it works. His dad returned to Tripoli and it was then that he learned that the German convoy had been transporting gold. By this time it was too late to go back for it. Robert figures that all he now has to do is track down the Sheik – who would be his grandfather – and find out from him where the oasis is located. The others agree to accompany him on a quest for the gold…after they finish the current school term. Well, at least they didn’t throw their educations out the window! Fat lot of good it will do them in the long run, though.

One thing just struck me. Robert doesn’t look like he could be any older than twenty-five or twenty-six. Given that he still seems to be in school of some type, he may even be younger. We know from his father’s account that Robert was conceived somewhere around late April/early May of 1943, meaning he would have been born around January or February of 1944. That would put the “current” year at about 1970 at the latest, yet these young folks are wearing clothes and fashions that appear to originate from a good ten years after that. Then again, this IS a Jess Franco film shot in French. He’s pulled this crap before in Zombie Lake (he co-wrote that one) where a girl born during World War II looks no older than about 13 in a year with late 70’s model motor vehicles in it. Is this why that stock footage of London earlier showed cars and hairstyles more reminiscent of the 60’s? Is this movie supposed to take place in the 60’s, with just a terrible costuming department? Or is it set in the 80’s with a failure of a continuity department? Which one is it? I MUST KNOW!!!

”Let’s duck into the tent for a quickie before we start digging.”We return to the Drour el Ousour Oasis. Kurt Meitzell drives up in a jeep along with his wife and two hired laborers. Given his treatment of Captain Blabert earlier, I can’t imagine him letting these two workers live once their usefulness is at an end. Of course, it’s really a moot point. His wife says the place gives her the “jitters.” Kurt replies by mentioning the jitters he gets when thinking of six million bucks. Of course there is not a single sign of the jeep that belonged to Dumb and Dumber from the film’s opening despite Kurt stopping their own vehicle in almost the exact same spot they did. You can even see the tire marks made by the earlier jeep. It's clear where the vehicle stopped, as the tracks just end. The jeep was either backed out of that spot or was plucked off the ground by a giant. I'm thinking that the zombies moved it. I just wonder if they hid it or maybe even fenced it for quick cash. Maybe there’s a chop shop nearby. Soon enough Kurt and his small group have set up two small tents and built a fire. Having done that much, Kurt says they need to sleep as they have a lot of work the following day. We also learn the name of Kurt’s wife: Ingrid.

Kurt and Ingrid retire to one of the tents, leaving the two hired hands out by the fire. One suggests to the other that they split the money two ways, the implication being that once the money was found, they kill Kurt and Ingrid. The other doesn’t like that idea and tells the first to just leave things alone. The first guy then wants to go for a stroll, but the second guy says that no one walks around here at night, a reference to the haunted reputation of the place. The first guy calls it bullshit and they both go for a walk, the second guy suddenly armed with a rifle. A few seconds ago he acted like he didn’t want to go, but one instance of calling the situation bullshit was all it took to convince him. By that same logic, one can call bullshit on the need for a condom and safely screw every cheap whore from here to the coast without fear of contracting some hideous STD that will cause your balls to dry up and fall off like abandoned grapes on the vine.

Cricket sounds denote nocturnal hours, despite the glaringly obvious day-for-night photography. It’s like they didn’t even try and just slapped a cheap filter over the camera lens. The sky is blatantly blue in tone and the light from the sun is un-ignorable. The two workers walk around and find the remnants of the old Nazi vehicles. Then the camera zooms in on that same spider in its web. Is this one of those thematic shots, meant to mirror the main action? I wonder how many more times we’re gonna get shots of that spider in this movie? Anyway, the first guy now magically conjures up a pickaxe that was not in his hands just a few seconds ago, and starts digging at the ground. The second guy tells him to stop. That same creaking sound from earlier is heard. The first guy goes back to digging while the second wanders off to see who or what is making that sound, which is constant at this point.

A zombie emerges from the brush and with all the stealth of a ninja, sneaks up behind the guy who is digging and strangles him. Note that this zombie seems to be played by a puppet. The second worker, unaware that the other guy is now zombie chow, walks on, gazing ahead of him. What has his attention? Maybe it’s the fact that they are supposed to be in the deep desert, yet there are clearly visible power lines a short distance away! Several more zombies, their old uniforms looking pretty good considering how many years they’ve been buried out here, now walk up behind him. He finally turns and sees them, threatening to shoot if they don’t stop. Well, they don’t stop and he does not shoot. He just stands there and gets dogpiled by a trio of rotting zombies. I don’t know what’s worse, having zombies bite you or having all that rotting, putrid flesh and its wonderful smell pressed up on your body. Yick.

Back at camp, the fire has gone out. Kurt appears from his tent armed with a pistol, having heard the dying groans of the second worker. He finds that several zombies are already wandering into camp. Since these were men that he trained back during the war, he tries to reason with them and get them to recognize him. This fails spectacularly. He fires his gun a couple times to no effect. Ingrid pokes her head out of the tent and seeing all the ambulating corpses, instantly panics. She screams and runs outside right into the middle of about six of them. They grab her, pull her to the ground and start biting into her like a starving man tears into a Whopper.

…and a heavy blow to the balls.…extreme nearsightedness…Let’s see…shellfish allergy…Showing that he doesn’t give a shit about anyone other than himself, Kurt hops in his jeep to make a getaway. He fails to see the zombie hiding in the rear, which promptly attacks and bites him on the neck. He fights it off and manages to throw it from the jeep. He wastes no more time in starting the vehicle and exiting the area as fast as possible. I guess he figures he can always remarry if he has to. Returning to poor Ingrid, we see that the somehow, while biting and tearing at her, the zombies have managed to remove almost all her clothes! I wonder how that happened? She moans a last time and finally dies. We see a zombie pull out some of her guts and flop them around. Said guts appear to have been procured from the closest butcher shop. This last shot was obviously shot in a different location, with a body double, as we do not see Ingrid's face, just her bare figure. Plus the lighting is different. Speaking of light, the sun now rises on the horizon. This causes the zombies to stand and walk off. Why? They only come out at night? Then why did they attack dumb and dumber at the beginning in broad daylight? Plus, how can it be morning already? Just a few minutes ago these clowns were calling it a day and going to bed. To make it worse, we see Kurt again, stopping the jeep and getting out, yelling about “the living dead.” He stumbles around and we hear crickets, which imply that it is night. So is it still night or did he drive all day and now it’s a new night? I’m very confused.

We turn now to Tripoli in the day time. Robert and his friends arrive in a jeep at a town square. Ahmed is wearing a Fez, and despite what The Doctor says, they are decidedly not cool. They wander the street for what feels like about five hours, checking out all the wares on display at the markets and bazaars. They get their picture taken with a fake camel. Robert has to pull Ronald away twice from a vendor selling some kind of meat. Ahmed partakes in Morning Prayer alongside some other Muslims. Eventually they meet Francis and John, who are a cameraman and sound guy duo who work for a professor Zanicken along with a hot blonde named Erika. Introductions have barely been made when Zanicken shows up and mentions something about the “European” guy not being far from there. He and Erika rush off. When Robert’s groups asks to come along, Erika says yes, but to hurry.

Robert’s group follows Zanicken and Erika’s jeep in their own vehicle. It should be noted that Zanicken and Erika are the only ones in their jeep. The group are trying to find where “the sick man” is located. The White House, that’s where! Alas, the sick man in question is of course Kurt Meitzell, who is stretched out on a thin mattress somewhere indoors and breathing heavy. It seems that chomp from the zombie has imparted more than just a bite mark. He gets up and wanders outside just as the whole gang arrives on scene. Somehow, despite being in neither jeep, Francis and John are now there, too. Maybe they caught a cab or an uber. Kurt mutters incoherently, making about as much sense as an inebriated Joe Biden and then spazzes out, stumbling over and collapsing on a pile of dried reeds. A few feet to the left and he would have fallen into the well. Robert runs to him and asks him over and over where the oasis is located, but Kurt has lost it. He mutters some more nonsense and then croaks. The locals waste no time in burning his body right there on the pile of reeds he so conveniently dropped dead on, citing the need to do so otherwise the dead will come back.

The entire time this sequence played out, the god awful, shit music that was used throughout the entirety of Zombie Lake is hauled out again and used to molest the audience’s ears. I was on the verge of shoving the closest things at hand – which would have been a pen and some gummy worms – into my ears to stop the pain when it finally came to a merciful end. I have not watched that movie since updating the review ten years ago, but it still haunts me to this day.

Morning arrives and we see Ronald and Erika swimming in a river. I must assume that after burning Kurt’s body, the locals put everyone up for the night. Either that or there was a Motel 6 right down the road. Ronald and Erika emerge from the water and we see that while both have swimming apparel on, Erika forgot the top half of hers. They stand and kiss as the sun rises higher. I guess that means they have hooked up. That was damn fast. Also, given the region and the predominant beliefs of the locals, is it really a wise thing for her to be flaunting so much of her bare body? Women have been stoned to death for less and I don’t mean forcibly made to smoke an endless supply of joints until their lungs collapse and their brains implode.

That is the mother of all lens flares. I can’t see shit!Zanicken is in a hurry to get somewhere and honks the horn for Erika. She and Ronald get dressed and head back to the others. Zanicken’s group leaves in their jeep, leaving Ronald looking all mopey now that his honey has departed. Robert even likens him to Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. Robert and his gang now leave in their own jeep and head to where his grandfather the Sheik is currently residing, which could very well be the same place he lived before for all I can tell. Someone does mutter a line about driving three days through the desert to get there, so maybe it is the same place. Anyway, Robert meets with the Sheik who invites the entire group to stay. His grandfather agrees to escort Robert and his friends part way to the oasis and then point them in the right direction.

The next day, the Sheik is true to his word and soon enough Robert and his friends are driving due south through the desert in their jeep. They get out in the middle of nowhere and it seems they are really ill prepared for such an expedition. Eventually they locate the oasis and what should they find, but another jeep. Why it’s Professor Zanicken’s jeep, which has been parked there a while, though the keys and water inside have not been touched. The group split up to look for the others, Ronald all excited at the prospect of seeing Erika again. They walk around, but find no sign of the others. Neither is there any sign of the jeep belonging to the dumb girls. I’m telling you, those zombies fenced that vehicle! We do get another shot of that damn spider in its web.

Eventually they come across Erika, Francis and John stretched out in the sand, all bloodied. The latter two are quite dead. While they are checking on Erika, who is alive but unconscious, Professor Zanicken comes stumbling along talking about the dead and how they “came out of the sand.” He then collapses. The Scooby Gang then set up a pair of tents in the sands away from the oasis and dig quick graves for Francis and John. Erika regains consciousness and tells them what transpired. I’m slightly annoyed by the fact that we never got to see her group attacked by the zombies. Now would have been a good place for a freakin’ flashback! Not deterred by the zombie threat, they figure they can dig for the gold in the day and then stand guard at night in shifts. Of course, this is based on the idea that the zombies won’t attack during the day, but the film has already established that they will with the deaths of dumb and dumber at the very beginning. I guess those two left such a bad taste in their mouths that they have now opted to adopt a “nighttime only” attack policy.

 

Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of this section.

 

So next we see the group looking for the gold. Robert and Ronald are digging in the sand, Ahmed is digging in hard soil with a pickaxe while the girls poke around the bushes with sticks. All of them are morons! Do they really think that the gold is any of those places? Logically, one must assume that the gold is still on board the Nazi vehicle that was transporting it. I doubt the Germans removed it before they were attacked and we (and the characters) know that only Captain Blabert survived the battle. Where else would the gold be? I’m sure the Nazi’s didn’t suddenly decide in the midst of the battle to detail a few men to dig a hole and bury the gold. It must still be on a vehicle. Unless the zombies have hidden it away – which is entirely possible given their history of moving and fencing abandoned vehicles – these dipshits should prioritize looking for the wreckage of the German jeeps and tanks. Only after eliminating those possible places should they start digging up the area and even then, they need to think about where the gold might be rather than just start randomly digging in any old place. Low and behold, their efforts do find something when Ahmed unearths an old gasoline canister, but no gold.

Soon enough the sun goes down and day for night settles across the land. In their tent, Ronald and Erika start to get cozy with one another. She sure is in a good mood so soon after the hideous deaths of her two colleagues. They seem to only have the two tents, so somebody else has to wait outside while these two screw. Ahmed is on watch atop a small sand dune when he hears the creaking sound that the zombies make, only now it sounds more like a growl or gurgle, as if a heavy smoker was gargling with weed killer. A ways off there seems to be a bush moving around a lot, like huge gopher was under it. Nope, not a gopher. The sand moves and…it moves again. And again. Seriously, we get about a dozen shots of the sand moving without ever seeing anything emerge.

Ahmed now wanders closer to the oasis to check things out. I’m guessing he’s just investigating the sounds, as he shows no signs of seeing the sand move. Finally, hands do emerge from the sand in different places and zombies begin to slowly climb out. How did they get buried by the way? After each time they arise to attack someone, do they dig themselves into the sand like some spiders do? We see several zombies plodding along and then Ahmed, who is unaware of them until now, nearly walks right into a group of them. They quickly swarm him like flies on shit and his time in the movie quickly comes to an end. We get another shot of that damn spider in its web to drive home the point.

The zombies are now all up and on the move. They head towards the tents, cresting the sand dunes as they approach. This may be a cheap ass movie with more stupidity than scares, but seeing the silhouettes of those zombies atop the dune, plodding slowly, inexorably along is kind of creepy, I will admit. The zombies are converging from all directions on the campsite. They may be dead, but at least they still know how to employ decent siege tactics.

And here we see the Green Party delegation arriving for the debate.For some unknown reason, Robert and the others luckily now awaken and emerge from their tents to find the zombies closing in from multiple directions. Zanicken shouts that they need fire, as that is the only thing that will deter them. They retrieve gas canisters from the jeep and pour a ring round the tents. We get about a million shots of the zombies plodding along, some lifted from earlier in the film when there were trees in the background. We also get numerous shots of the sky, to denote the coming of daylight. Then one shot shows the sun high in the sky while the very next goes back to the day for night approach to indicate that it’s still dark outside. Now that is some crappy editing.

Erika is carrying a gas canister when a zombie pops out of the ground trap door spider-style and grabs her by the leg, in much the same fashion that Dumb Girl number one bought the farm at the film’s beginning. Where did that zombie come from? Was he always buried right there, so close to their camp, or did he tunnel his way there from somewhere else, like some sort of zombie/gopher hybrid? It's funny because in the shots showing the zombie grab her, the surrounding soil looks nothing like the sand around the jeep. It's obviously two very different locations. A bunch more zombies now pile on her like it was a college gangbang. A close up of her being assaulted by the zombies reveals her to be lying on a tan sheet with some sand thrown over to it to double as the desert floor. Why not? They used tarps in a swimming pool to double as a lake in Zombie Lake. The others light the ring of gas on fire, which holds back the zombies. Zanicken grabs a torch and runs to help Erika. He gets taken down pretty fast and hard by the zombies. Ronald then runs over, fights off the zombies and helps her over to the jeep.

You know, these guys really did not have a well thought out plan for dealing with the zombies, despite knowing that they were there at the oasis. If Zanicken knew fire was a viable weapon, why not mention that earlier and have some sort of offensive and/or defensive plan ready to enact? Failing to do that, why didn’t they all just pile in the jeep and flee when they first saw the zombies? It’s not like the zombies were moving very fast or would be able to catch up with them. Not unless they unveiled the abandoned jeep from earlier in the film and gave chase. Come to think of it, THAT would have been an awesome thing to see about now. However, the dead people are slow and the living people are quite stupid.

Ronald and Erika might have made it to the jeep, but a swarm of zombies descend upon them before they can go anywhere, even if one of them had the keys. Ronald is pulled away into the bushes and torn apart while Erika meets her end there at the jeep. Meanwhile, Robert is within the circle of fire with Sylvie and is using Molotov cocktails to combat the zombies. The explosions we see from these are brought to life by a sound effect played over shots of zombie actors as they throw themselves into the air with a fire nearby. There are more endless shots of zombies, many of them recycled over and over. They approach the circle and Robert lights them up with a torch. They go up in flames faster than your local Wendy’s. The scenes with the burning zombies are obviously shot in a different location, as the soil is noticeably different.

Coming soon: Chop Shop of the zombies.The sun rises higher and all the zombies gathered around the camp just magically vanish, as if they were vampires. The “dead” ones ae still laid out on the ground, some of them still on fire and filling the air with an aroma that would no doubt be best described as burnt hair meets rotting deli meat. Robert and Sylvie flee the camp. We get a wide shot of the oasis then a shot of the dunes before seeing Robert and Sylvia stretched out in the sand. In the distance, his grandfather the Sheik approaches on a camel. Robert changes positions about three times from shot to shot before he awakens to find the Sheik watching over him. “Did you find what you were looking for?” asks his grandfather. Robert nods and replies, “I mainly found myself.”

We then see Robert and Sylvia in their jeep, driving next to the Sheik on his camel. I wonder what they did with Erika’s body that was still in the jeep last we saw it? Hell, I wonder what they did with all the bodies. Leave them where they were or toss them all in a big bonfire? Remember that one guy earlier said you had to burn them or else they come back! Of course, I think that was a load of bullshit, as they did not burn the bodies of Francis and John and those clowns didn’t come back! The trio head back towards civilization, Robert getting some piss poor traction in his jeep. So it was Robert’s bright idea to come looking for the gold, but it seems everyone else paid the price, including most of his friends. Gee, what a guy. And to top it all off, NO ONE GOT THE GOLD!!

The End.

 

 

Review

I will admit that that prospect of watching another Eurocine production helmed by Jess Franco, nearly made me run and hide. He was partly responsible for Zombie Lake, having come up with the idea and agreeing to direct. He would ultimately leave the project, citing the low budget allocated for the film by the producers. French director Jean Rollin came aboard to finish that film. The idea of revived Nazi zombies would return with Oasis of the Zombies, which Franco wrote and directed. He simultaneously shot French and Spanish language versions, utilizing different actors for some of the supporting roles. The Spanish version reportedly features more gore and was released under the title La Tumba de los Muertos Vivientes. So it would appear that the utterly craptastic Zombie Lake wasn’t entirely his fault. Realizing this, I gave Oasis of the Zombies a watch. Oh, boy.

Unlike many other cheap zombie films from this same era of filmmaking, this film is not known for its inept production so much as it is for being…well…boring. There is a serious lack of blood and guts one would expect from a zombie flick and even the nudity – a hallmark of Franco films, is rather restrained. There are a total of three scenes that feature the zombies and the first, the opening segment with the two girls, doesn’t even show them. We get more zombie action during the second attack and quite a bit during the climax, but a lot of that consists of recycled shots of the zombies walking around. In between these instances there are a lot of moments that will surely try the patience of some viewers. There’s a flashback sequence that lifts huge chunks of stock footage from another film and almost feels as if the movie has derailed itself before course correcting. Then there’s the travelogue sequence with the protagonists wandering Tripoli, sightseeing and shopping which is sure to put many to sleep. For a movie that is barely over eighty minutes in length, that’s a lot of time to not be featuring zombies or even setting up the action for a zombie appearance. I’m sure the backstory of Captain Blabert and the Nazi gold could have been related to the audience more economically; perhaps with dialog and a few quick shots. That would be much better than using up over fourteen minutes – a sixth of the movie – to do the job. And what the hell was up with that damn spider in its web?

The characters are nothing to get excited over, either. There is nothing to distinguish them from cardboard cutouts in other films. For the vast majority of them, greed is the sole motivating factor as to why they do what they do. Nearly all of them want to plunder the Nazi gold for one reason or another, the least of which is not how rich they would become. They all march blindly right into the face of death, most completely unprepared for what they will face. There isn’t a single one of them you hope to see survive and when one does bite the dust, the viewer just scratches them off their shrinking list of potential victims.

The zombies themselves, while looking mostly great – certainly much better than the green Shrek-like paint jobs done for the Nazis in Zombie Lake – are still a little on the (pun not intended) lifeless side. They stumble and plod along and are so easily evaded, one wonders how anyone could fall victim to them other than being taken completely by surprise. The decaying make-up FX is both hit and miss. Some zombies have at least one functioning eye, while others do not. After that much time lying dead in the desert, I’d think the eyes would be one of the first things plucked out and devoured by carrion eaters. While attention is paid to making their faces look decayed, the same cannot be said for the rest of them. The arms and legs look pretty intact on many of them and let’s not go into how their uniforms look recently pressed after all those years buried in the sand. One of the biggest mysteries concerning them is the rules surrounding their attacks. The first victims are clearly killed in broad daylight, yet later the zombies either walk away to bury themselves again or vanish into thin air when the sun rises to a certain point. There is no reason given for this contradiction, nor was I really expecting one. I suppose my biggest complaint about them is that if they are supposed to be German, not a single one of them has blonde hair. In the end, they are not the worst bunch of zombies committed to screen, but certainly not the best either. The music is not even worth mentioning. It’s not that great and I have the feeling that much or all of it was recycled from earlier films, such as Zombie Lake.

So summed up, this movie is slow, plodding and dull…just like its zombies. The characters are just cutouts, the music sucks and the movie take too many time-consuming side trips before reaching its conclusion. The zombies look decent and there certainly are a few moments here and there were a bit of atmosphere is created through use of light, shadow, color and framing; which makes me wonder what Franco could have done with a really good budget. Zombie lovers need to check this one out, even if it’s just for completion’s sake. Lovers of bad cinema will probably find more to enjoy. As for me…since it wasn’t pure shit like Zombie Lake, I consider it a positive experience. But just barely.

 

Expect To See:
Action – About twenty minutes into the movie there is an epic battle sequence in the desert between German and British forces. Lots of shooting, explosions and the like. It’s quite good. Oh, and it’s 99% comprised of stock footage.
Desert Hijinks – Aside from a few minutes set in London, the entire movie takes place in North Africa, either in a city by the desert or deep within the Sahara itself. No sign of any giant sandworms, though.
Extreme Violence – Lots of people get killed in this film, many of them by zombies which are known for tearing people apart. Of course, we never really see this and most zombie victims seem left with just a few bite marks.
Gore – Given how little of the violence is shown in this movie, this icon almost gets left out. Almost. There is one instance of a zombie pulling the innards out of his living victim, though it looks mostly like a cow’s liver that we see.
Gross Stupidity – This moment comes near the end when knowing that zombies only come out at night, the characters make no defensive plans nor do they have any sort of escape plan in readiness. They deserved what they got.
Gunplay – There is a lot of guns being fired during the World War two flashback scene. The battle is quite fierce and the sheer amount or expelled ammunitions is only rivaled by any shooting range in the south on the 4th of July.
Nudity – We get two cases of this when Ingrid’s clothing just happens to fall off when she is attacked by zombies. The other is Erika, who shows off her chest while swimming in a river and then later when porking Ronald.
Romance – Ronald meets Erika in Tripoli and they quickly develop a Monday to Friday relationship that ends with both of them ripped apart by the living dead. Reminds me of summer camp as a kid…only without the romance.
Sex – When preparing to search for the gold, the group sets up camp and Ronald and Erika quickly make use of one to have sex. They didn’t seem to mind that everyone knew what they were doing or that their silhouettes could be seen from the outside.
Skin – Dumb and Dumber at the film’s opening did show off some skin with their undersized short and loose tank tops. Given that they seemed to be lesbians, who knows what we might have seen if the zombies had not intervened. Damn zombies.
Stock Footage – There is plenty of this. As mentioned before, almost the entire WWII battle is comprised of stock footage. Plus there are shots of planes, London and scenes of the desert that were obviously stock shots as well.
Zombies – There is a shitload of zombies here. Despite being dead for multiple decades, a lot of them are fairly well preserved with their eyes intact. That still doesn’t prevent plenty from looking like meatloaf after it’s been in the fridge for a month.

 

Movie Stats: (Excludes all stock footage)
Shadow's Commentary:

Deaths: 13
Alcoholic drinks consumed: 2
Sodas consumed: 5
Cups of tea consumed: 5
Smokes: 9
Gunshots: 9
Explosions: 2
Portraits in Blabert’s house: 4
Jeeps used for desert travel: 4
Camels used for desert travel: 13
Zombies with blonder hair: 0
Zombies portrayed by film's director: 1
Zombies portrayed by puppet: 1
Zombies in audience after film's conclusion: Undetermined
POV Shots: 1
Shots of that damn spider in web: 4
Percentage of film comprised of stock footage: 6.01%

03 Min – Camera lingers on their butts for a long time. Did I say I was complaining?
04 Min – You can totally see that guy hiding in the dirt.
09 Min – Wow, the pen is mightier than the sword.
10 Min – Why it’s merry old London. Pip pip, cheerio!
14 Min – It’s like we’re in a completely different movie.
26 Min – Someone sure has tracked up the desert.
34 Min – First appearance from an actual zombie.
35 Min – Power lines spotted in distance.
40 Min – Cigarette vanishes from his hand between shots.
47 Min – Check out the beard and 'fro on that guy!
49 Min – Boobs!
56 Min – Hey, you guys left the headlights on!
56 Min – How did they not see that until now?
64 Min – Yes, have sex in the tent while the others wait outside to go to bed.
75 Min – Wait! Was that Skeletor?!
78 Min – They were either vaporized or they were beamed away.
81 Min – The End. Can anyone give me the number for a good therapist?


Shadow's Drinking Game: Every time someone says gold or oasis, take a drink.

 

Images Click for larger image

Somewhere buried in the
desert sands…is where this
movie needs to be.


“Let’s see…according to the museum
guide, the ancient pornography
exhibit is on the first floor.”




“What happened to him?”
“He got drunk and tried to hump a camel.”

 
“This place is a pigsty! Look at all
the sand you’ve tracked in!”

“Well, no wonder this isn’t
Euro Disney…you’ve got the
map turned upside down!”

Just ignore those
power/telephone lines.


 
When camping, be sure to properly
store your food to prevent drawing
the attention of zombies.


 
Is this a horror film or porno?

Geez! How many freaking
cigarettes do you need?

The second unit gets accidentally
caught on camera. Who am I
kidding? This film had no second unit.

“Ignore him. He does this at
least once a month to get
out of staff meetings.”


That guy’s head looks like an
angry black cotton ball.

“Don’t worry, they’re not dead…
just drunk off their asses.”

“Are you guys gonna get up off
your lazy asses and help us
dig this latrine or what?”


Don’t worry, kid. That acne will clear
up by the time you’re forty. Maybe.

The face you make when someone
didn’t flush the restroom
toilet at the Indian restaurant.

Ten gallons of Selsun Blue won’t
get that ragged rat’s nest clean.

Looks like Skeletor stepped
in the quicksand.

What a perfect match for desert sand.

“We’re social distancing.”

 

Immortal Dialog
Keep In Mind

The two dumb girls in the opening segment discuss the oasis trees.

Dumb: “Look at the size of them. Do you suppose they're Redwoods?”
Dumber: “They're date trees. Come on.”

Shadow’s Comment: You're in the Sahara desert and you're stupid enough to think those are redwoods? You deserve to be eaten by zombies.


  • 15 hours in the desert wearing only shorts and a tank top is not detrimental to your skin at all.
  • Pen ink is a neurotoxin that is fatal within 8 seconds.
  • Zombies sound like a gargling toad.
  • High heels are standard footwear for desert travel.
  • There are places in Africa where night only lasts 10 minutes.
  • 10,000 cigarettes is a must when packing for a desert expedition.
  • In some countries, unburned bodies will return to life.
  • Car horns in Africa sound like severely broken barrel organs.
  • Corpses buried in desert sand remain amazingly well preserved for decades.
  • Zombies that only attack at night will wait until five minutes before dawn to launch their assault.
  • How to make Molotov Cocktails is taught in some London area schools.

Discussung the fate of Kurt's body.

Professor Zanicken: “Why are you burning his body?”
Local with huge afro: “You must burn it, otherwise it comes back. Yes, the damned, they must burn in holy fire or they will come back to life.”

Shadow’s Comment: Sometimes...dead is better.

 

 

Movie Trailer
This Film & Me

Up until the year 2000, the vast majority of my horror movie watching was of American or British made films. I had very few, if any, opportunities to learn about other films and when mail ordering movies, I stuck with what I knew. Then Al Gore invented the internet and I was able to converse with people from other countries and my mind was opened to a whole new world of cinematic monsters, killers, blood, guts and what not. I began learning about foreign directors like Miike, Shimizu, Fulci, Argento, Bava, Mattei, Franco and Naschy among many, many others. About the same time, the DVD explosion began and suddenly movies from foreign lands were readily available at my local mall. I got to see Japanese Kwaidan (ghost story) films, German Krimis and Italian Giallos.

Of course, being a fan of zombie flicks, one of the earliest forays into European horror filmmaking I made was with the many zombie films I found at Suncoast (long before that chain folded). Movies like Zombie, Hell of the Living Dead, Burial Ground, Zombie Lake and of course, Oasis of the Zombies soon graced my TV screen, for better or for worse. In most cases, for the worst because a lot of those movies are just terrible…and I love them for their terribleness. Except Zombie Lake. FUCK Zombie Lake. Zombie Lake can go drown itself in that French lake and stay there. However, another film from Eurocine Productions, Oasis of the Zombies, fares a wee bit better in my mind. Is the movie crap? Sure it is, and that it why I like it. Though to be honest, the first few times I tried to watch it, it was difficult for me to not fall asleep or get bored. I had to be in the proper mood to make it all the way through and I suspect that may be true for a lot of people. I’ve owned the movie now for about fifteen years and consider it one of the good-bad zombie films from that era that I will watch every few years or so.


 

Rating
Shadow Says


Shadow's rating: Two Tombstones



The Good

  • A few decent looking zombies
  • Boobs!
  • A few atmospheric shots

The Bad

  • Stock footage flashback
  • French version needed more gore
  • Rules change for zombie behavior

The Ugly

  • Moron characters
  • Recycled music from Zombie Lake
  • Some Zombie make-up is pretty bad

 

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