On October 2, 2020, UCM.ONE releases the horror classic “Shock Waves” (German title: “Die Schreckensmacht der Zombies“) on DVD, Blu-ray and VoD on the U3 Films Berlin label in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. With Peter Cushing and John Carradine, the 1977 US film (directed by Ken Wiederhorn) stars two true Hollywood veterans and achieved cult status with its original Nazi zombie story.
Fishermen rescue Rose (Brooke Adams), who is badly injured and completely deranged, floating in a small dinghy in the Caribbean. She tells her rescuers about her terrible experiences, which began with a harmless boat trip:
She and several other tourists are travelling on the dilapidated excursion boat of Captain Ben Morris (John Carradine) when they suffer engine failure in a seaquake, whereupon the compass goes haywire and the boat drifts disoriented in a strange orange haze The following night, the old barge is almost rammed by a huge old, completely rusted ship that appears as if from nowhere.
The next morning they discover that their boat has run aground on a sandbank at low tide and has sprung a leak. The stranded excursionists decide to save themselves on a nearby island. Off it, the huge, skeletal wreck of an old freighter lies aground. On the island they discover a half-ruined mansion and meet the apparently only inhabitant, a mysterious old man (Peter Cushing). He advises them to leave the island as quickly as possible, but the group ignores the warnings and spends the night in the house. Soon the castaways realise with horror that the island is infested with brutal zombies coming ashore from the shipwreck and that the old man is a former SS commander and scientist.
He tells them that during the Second World War German scientists developed almost invulnerable living robots called the SS Death Brigades. Equipped with supernatural powers, these undead troops destroyed everything in their path with their bare hands, spreading fear and terror on the battlefield.
But the fighting machines became uncontrollable, they did not distinguish between friend and foe and eventually even turned on their commanders. After the end of the war, the brigades were therefore put into an artificial deep sleep, sunk into the sea along with a ship and forgotten over the years. Now, however, they have returned and kill whoever stands in their way.
About Peter Cushing
Peter Cushing was born in London in 1913 and studied acting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 1939 he went to Hollywood where his film career was initially only moderately successful. In the early 1950s he therefore appeared more often on TV. However, he gained particular popularity in the later 1950s as an actor in numerous horror films, in which he often appeared as a scientist, doctor or detective, for example as Sherlock Holmes in the TV and film series of the same name, as Dr. van Helsing in Terence Fisher‘s “Dracula” films or as Baron Victor Frankenstein in the Hammer Studios films.
The most famous of his later roles was that of Grand Moff Tarkin in “Star Wars” (1977), the first Star Wars film (later referred to as Episode IV). Posthumously, he was seen in this role in “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith“, portrayed by an actor wearing a face mask, and the prequel “Rogue One” as CGI animation. Just a week before his death, he was heard alongside Christopher Lee as the narrator of director Ted Newsom‘s documentary “Flesh and Blood, the Hammer Heritage of Horror“. He died of prostate cancer on 11 August 1994 at the age of 81.
About John Carradine
John Carradine is one of the actors with the longest filmography, though he was mostly seen in supporting roles alongside the big stars of his time. The father of actors David, Keith and Robert Carradine was born Richmond Reed Carradine in New York in 1906. After studying sculpture and gaining his first theatre experience in New Orleans, he came to Holywood in 1927. Thanks to his striking, gaunt appearance, he was cast in the historical monumental films of Cecil B. DeMille in the early 1930s, then still under the pseudonym John Peter Richmond. Later he changed his pseudonym to John Carradine. At this time he got his first role in a horror film: “The Black Cat” (1934) alongside Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.
He also became one of director John Ford‘s favourite actors during this period, and the two worked together on a total of eleven films from 1936 to 1964, including the western classic “Stagecoach” (1939), which made John Wayne a film star. Here Carradine embodied one of his most famous roles: that of the elegant gambler Hatfield. He is similarly known for his role in “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940), Ford’s adaptation of John Steinbeck‘s novel of the same name, where he played the former preacher Casey alongside Henry Fonda.
Since the 1940s, John Carradine was also one of the most popular horror film actors. John Carradine made his last horror film worth seeing in 1982: in “The House of the Long Shadows” he played the English Lord Grisbane alongside other horror film legends such as Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. In a film career that spanned almost 60 years, he appeared in at least 226 feature films and numerous television productions before his death in 1988 at the age of 82.
„[The zombie nazis look] agreeably sinister when they first emerge from the bottom of the sea with dripping hair, hideously scarred faces and uniform dark glasses.” (Monthly Film Bulletin)
“Horror fans looking for a zombie gorefest will be quite disappointed by “Shock Waves”, but those who want a subtle and unique experience may enjoy this quirky low-budget film.” (DVD Talk)
“Shock Waves offers an undeniably creative and innovative approach to the screen presentation of the zombie, at the height of the post-Night decade in which such innovation was most lacking.” (The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia)
Blu-Ray | Picture format: WS 1.85:1 / 1080p 23,976 | Running time: approx. 85 min | Sound formats: German (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0) | Bonus Material: Audio Commentary; Making Of; Opening Credits UK-DVD; Old German Opening Credits; Slideshows and Galleries; Trailers & Spots | Subtitles: none | Rating: FSK 16
DVD | Picture format: WS 1.85:1 (anamorphic) | Running time: approx. 81 min | Sound formats: German (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0) | Bonus Material: Audio Commentary; Making Of; Opening Credits UK-DVD; Old German Opening Credits; Slideshows and Galleries; Trailers & Spots | Subtitles: none | Rating: FSK 16