Oasis of the Zombies (1982)

Director: Jess Franco

Apparently whatever money Eurocine refused to stump up for Jess Franco to make Zombie Lake, they were evidently willing to put up for this instead. Either that or Franco himself just gave in and made do… Anyway, he certainly made do without a new idea for this one, cos he basically just repeats the Nazi zombie thing from that film, except instead of a nice French village we have a nice (I suppose) North African oasis… In 1943, an Afrika Korps unit shipping a stack of gold is ambushed by French forces near said oasis and wiped out in a barrage of dusty stock footage from an older Italian war film; ever since, the Nazi dead have been haunting the oasis. Of course, this isn’t enough to stop various folks from trying to get their hands on the loot, including the son of the French captain who led the attack on the Nazis in the first place. However, at least Zombie Lake‘s French version clearly stated it was actually set not long after the end of the war despite not always looking like it, Oasis doesn’t… and by the film’s internal logic it should clearly be taking place around 1962 or 1963, but it is very clearly not doing that at all, it’s quite obviously the early 80s. (To say nothing of the Nazi zombies’ notably not exactly Third Reich military standard haircuts.) This is a not exactly minor issue that I frankly found insurmountable; in other Franco films you have a sense of things literally being otherworldly, but there’s no comparable justification for what was clearly just someone not thinking. Plus the zombie makeup is dreadful—one zombie is clearly just a skull on a stick, not even an actor—probably the worst since, well, Burial Ground just the previous year, and not quite so conducive to humour. The human characters… who really gives a shit. Yeah, not one of uncle Jess’ finer moments. On the upside, though, at least the moustache Antonio Mayans wears here is less terrible than the one he wears in Sadomania

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