Criterion’s April titles include Coppola’s Rumble Fish and Wim Wenders’ Buena Vista Social Club https://t.co/1PmfiylRaB
Oasis of the Zombies
Release Date(s)1982 (February 26, 2013)
No matter what you call it (Oasis of the Zombies, Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies or Treasure of the Living Dead), you can safely say that it’s another entry in the weak horror movie department. I actually found the movie to be a disappointment because prior to my reviewing it, I had picked up the Euroshock DVD in the hopes of an unseen gem. Sadly, that’s not the case. What was even more disappointing is that everything that happens after the opening moments. It seems like a setup for something fun, at the very least.
Oasis of the Zombies begins with a couple of pretty ladies out in the middle of the desert being attacked by something we don’t see. It’s the perfect setup as it gets you intrigued in what’s going on. The next scene involves a couple of people trying to persuade another person to go on a treasure hunt with them and when they refuse, one of them kills the person. Again, character establishment and intrigue. After that, it launches in so many different directions that keeping up with it felt pointless. We follow several different story threads, but none of them are interesting, and they all slowly lead to the desert zombies. I actually sort of liked the looks of the zombies though. They reminded me of the zombies from Jacques Tourneur’s I Walked With a Zombie, but without a good story surrounding them. It became pretty boring pretty fast and I found myself yawning quite a bit, so I can’t say that it’s a very good film. It’s definitely not one of Jess Franco’s best either. The cinematography is just awful at times, but the color palette is pretty rich. So it’s decent looking, if only they could’ve kept the camera still enough for me to focus on it all.
And again, with Kino Lorber’s attitude of ‘don’t fix what isn’t broken’, the Blu-ray transfer of the film will be problematical for viewers. It hasn’t gone through an abundant restoration process like most films coming out on the format today. It’s actually a complete and accurate copy of a film print, with all of the flicker, jitter, vertical lines, dirt, debris, scratches and other imperfections left intact. Because of that, a perfect grain structure has also been preserved, with plenty of image detail. The only touch ups that seem to have been done were color correction and contrast adjustment. Both are superb, and it makes me wonder what a company like this would do with a damaged print like this with the proper restoration tools. It’s a matter of preference for people, but I kind of like seeing it in this way. It’s not a perfect presentation, but the film itself is far from flawless, so they both complement each other. The film’s audio presentation is much of the same. You have French and English 2.0 LPCM options with optional English subtitles. It’s very bland as far as the dynamics go. There’s almost no low-end power, but the dialogue is clear enough. Neither track quite matches the image, but it wouldn’t being that all of the sound was generated in post-production (for both tracks). Purists will want to stick with the French track, but the English track isn’t too bad. I’ve heard worse. The sound quality from both is understandable enough, but lacks any sort of depth.
The only extras that have been included are theatrical trailers from the film itself plus Zombie Lake, Female Vampire and Exorcism/Demoniac. I can’t say that I’m surprised. Redemption titles are usually light on extras, I suppose to save disc space for the main feature. It isn’t a bad thing, but I’m sure as much as I didn’t care for the movie, there are likely to be fans of it out there. It wouldn’t be here if there weren’t. It’s a flawed film, but one that I’m sure fans of Jess Franco or European cinema in general might dig.
- Tim Salmons