Title: Oasis of the Zombies (1982)
Director: Jesus Franco
There are a couple of zombie movies out there that are complete bore fests in which very little happens in the way of action or suspense. It seems to me that filmmakers who do these types of films make them to make some quick cash, so they can move on to something else they want to do. The trick to making money with these types of movies is to make the cheapest possible zombie movie you can and I mean really cheap, all talk, no action, no gore, and very little in the way of make-up effects work, this way you spend very little in making your film and have a better chance at making back your budget. Then, the second part of the plot involves making the masses believe they are going to see a zombie fest, the greatest zombie film ever made. This is usually achieved by getting a really cool poster for your shitty film and by cutting a trailer that shows only the zombie scenes. Normally what we end up with in this type of situation is a really crappy film, but a cool as hell poster. Most of the time, the poster is better than the film. Then sit back and wait for the ka-shing!, if all goes well, you’ll have made your money back because once you’ve managed to get your audience in the theater seats, they have already paid the ticket; their money is yours! The most notable example of this type of sleazy filmmaking would be the Nazi zombie film Zombie Lake (1981) and the film I’ll be talking about today: Oasis of the Zombies (1982), which consequently is also a Nazi zombie film; barely anyways.
This film concerns a rich kid named Robert whose father is killed in Africa after he reveals the location of a treasure to some greedy bastard. When Robert reads into his father’s diary he discovers that his father actually knew the location of a gold treasure worth six million dollars, a treasure that used to belong to the Germans, but they all died in a firefight defending the gold, so know the gold is supposedly still buried somewhere in an Oasis in the middle of the African desert. So Robert decides that taking his friends with him on an expedition to find the gold will be a great idea! So much for mourning the death of your father! So anyways, these kids take off for Africa to get the gold, unfortunately for them, Nazi zombies are protecting the gold! Will they find the gold, or will they instead find themselves?
Here’s a question I often times ask myself when watching a film like Oasis of the Zombies, when filmmakers make a movie like this one, do they know they are making an extremely boring movie? Are they even aware of it? Are they making a boring film on purpose? Or do they think they are actually making an entertaining flick? Thing is that this movie actually has an interesting premise and back story to it, but it somehow still manages to deviate into an extremely boring movie. For example, the movie starts out with these two hot chicks stopping at the titular Oasis to refresh themselves, and since the camera focuses very sleazily on their bee-hinds, you get to thinking cool, we’re gonna get some hot lesbo action. This isn’t a chavanistic thought on my part, I only come to this conclusion because this is a Jesus Franco film, and Lesbo action is one of the elements his films are known for. So anyhow, you figure these two chicks are gonna get naked and THEN get eaten by zombies. A very similar scene happens in Zombie Lake as well, and since the same filmmakers are involved in this film I thought they’d go with the same ‘modus operandi’, but no, we only get a pair of zombie hands emerging from the sand and attacking the girls. Worst part is the whole attack happens off camera! So right there and then we know, this movie is shying away from showing us the goods in more ways than one, no naked chicks and on top of that, no zombies.
This flick was seriously trying to cut back on costs in another way: the zombies only come out at night for some reason that’s never mentioned in the film. But I’ll tell you the reason: they only come out at night because it’s an effective way for the filmmakers to hide a lot of the cheap make up effects or even better, it’s an effective way to hide the fact that there’s no make up effects whatsoever! For some shots they simply show ominous looking shadows walking about! Wow, so I’m no Jesus Franco expert, but this must not be his best film. There’s huge gaping plot holes on this one, for example: fine, there’s a lost cache of gold somewhere in the dessert and the Nazi’s who it used to belong to are now zombies…who guard the gold…for what purpose? This is the same question I asked myself when watching John Carpenter’s The Fog (1980). Fine, the ghosts are hiding in the fog, but what do they want the gold for? What exactly are they planning on buying from the afterlife? Same question I got about these Nazi zombies! And why did they turn into zombies? It’s as if Franco simply wants us to take for granted the whole Nazi Zombie premise, because it’s a sub-genre, and Nazi zombies simply are? Come on, that’s some lazy writing right there, if there was even any writing involved, which by the looks of things I seriously doubt.
Funny thing about this poster for Oasis of the Zombies, there are no tanks, no graveyards, and no zombies shooting guns in this movie! At all!
It doesn’t surprise me that this ultra cheap-o zombie movie was such a bore, it was written and directed by Jesus Franco, the same guy who wrote Zombie Lake, the most boring zombie flick I’ve ever seen. I guess I knew going in the kind of film I was getting myself into, and I was absolutely right. I’m still going to watch some Jesus Franco films, Vampyros Lesbos (1971) looks good, and I’m sure Franco has some more good ones in his roster, but Oasis of the Zombies was a complete disappointment. It does have a couple of cool shots of zombies walking in the dessert dunes, and some of the zombies are cool looking, but these few scenes do not save the film from what it is: a complete waste of time. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and it failed to surprise, shock, or entertain, three things a zombie film should always aim to do. My advice is skip this one, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.