|OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES
|Copyright 1983 Marte Films Internacional-Diasa Prod.Cin. S.A.
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 25 October 2001
- Robert - The movie is not about zombies or gold, but about this young man finding himself. Unfortunately that involves all of his friends being eaten alive by undead.
- Sylvia - Girlfriend to our main character. Not much else to say about her.
- Ronald & Erika - Lovers and our protagonist's companions; they become zombie snacks.
- Akhmed - Yet another doomed friend of Robert's. At least he didn't die with that funny little hat on his head.
- Professor Zannegin - Uh, yeah... ...he is like this professor dude; he like gets totally eaten.
- Robert's Father - For forty years he knew where six million dollars in gold was, but never went to dig it up? Killed by extremely fast-acting poison.
- The Sheik - Robert's grandfather, but nobody seems to give a hoot about genealogy in this movie.
- Kurt - Officer who trained the German soldiers (that later became zombies). He must have been a royal bastard, because the reanimated corpses waste no time in attacking.
- The Zombies - Members of the Afrika Korps, they were killed in an ambush during WWII. For some reason they still haunt the oasis and kill anyone who dares to come near.
|Our movie opens with two girls, evidently lesbians, visiting a remote desert oasis. It must be a chilly morning, because certain details of the girls' anatomies are clearly visible through their shirts (you know what I mean). One lesbian also has portions of her buttocks hanging out of her shorts; this is what you get for wearing a size 6 when you are obviously a size 10. All that prime beef waving around in the air quickly attracts the attention of the oasis' denizens, which are zombies (go figure), and the two lesbians depart the film posthaste.
Next we are introduced to Kurt, who is on his way to ask Robert's father for help in locating a lost treasure. During World War II, a small force of the Afrika Korps was tasked with escorting a fortune in gold across the desert. Robert's father was the commander of a contingent sent to intercept the shipment. They followed the Germans, who were indiscriminately killing anyone unlucky enough to cross their path, and set up an ambush when the Fascists returned to an oasis they had just departed from (oops, we left somebody alive; guess we'll have to go back). The resulting battle was so ferocious that only Robert's father survived, though wounded, to stumble away from the slaughter. Thus, he is the only person alive with knowledge of where the gold is located. He is also remarkably trustful of his old foe. That proves to be a mistake; Kurt plunges a compact syringe into the other man's hand, whatever was in it causes him to die in about one second flat.
Robert is at college when a telegram arrives, bearing news of his old man's death. He immediately resolves to travel back home (more on that in a minute) and find the gold his father often spoke of. What's bizarre is that some friends were walking with him when the news arrives and they quickly lose interest in Robert's sudden bereavement. A following scene shows them interested in the main character again. After, that is, he talks about splitting the treasure with those who join the expedition. Yup, everyone could use friends of this caliber.
The group led by Herr Kurt finds the oasis with no problem and are soon attacked by zombies. Accompanied by the sound of a foley artist rubbing two ribbed sticks together, the undead horrors rise from their resting places under the sand. Kurt manages to escape, but is chewed up pretty good in the process. None of this answers two burning questions. First, why did the Germans become zombies anyway? Second, what is up with the shots of a spider sitting in its web?
A glaring problem throughout this entire mucking film is character development. It is apparent that the screenwriter would require a dictionary, possibly an encyclopedia, to explain what the phrase means. People appear and are dispatched with frightening speed. My head started to whirl in an attempt to keep up with the latest entree.
The students eventually arrive in Egypt (or, it could be Libya, or Algeria, or...) and wander through the marketplace for a while. What does this accomplish? Nothing at all and I'm a little bitter about that fact. They do happen to witness Kurt's last agonizing moments, as the man succumbs to whatever virulent poisons the wounds introduced into his system. Local villagers take it all in stride and set fire to the body once it stops twitching. Apparently this prevents the departed from returning as a zombie.
Hmmm, about that hasty cremation... ...let me guess: some of the fresh "corpses" you locals set on fire started moving around again, right? Obviously they were the living dead, because the idea of immolating a person who was just unconscious or catatonic is what jumps to mind.
During the trip Robert meets the Sheik and learns another part of his father's story. The chieftain found the wounded soldier in the desert and brought him back to the village. Robert's father repaid the Sheik's kindness by porking his daughter, even getting her pregnant in the process (he was already married, just in case you wondered). The young woman died giving birth to Robert. After all of this, the Sheik did not get angry with his libidinal guest. He actually took it quite well, almost as well as she did. You just cannot find hospitality like that in the United States.
The entire reason the expedition stopped to talk with the Sheik was to pinpoint the location of the oasis. Erika, Professor Zannegin, and some fellow that we will nickname "Fodder" pushed on and found the place with no problem. Of course the zombies were waiting. When Robert and his companions arrive they find two half-eaten bodies and one very traumatized girl. None of this dissuades them from their planned course of action; digging implements and camping gear are unloaded from the jeep. They wouldn't listen to me. I kept yelling at them that this must be the wrong oasis. It looks nothing like the place we saw the good guys ambush the Germans.
Akhmed is on guard duty when the foley artist starts rubbing his sticks together. The students are soon fighting for their lives as undead shamble over the dunes to attack. Being dog-piled by a bunch of desiccated corpses is a horrible way to go, but Robert has a stroke of luck when he pushes a burning torch into one zombie's face and sets it ablaze. He repeats the procedure as needed until all the zombies are smoking heaps, then stumbles into the desert (ah, following in his father's footsteps) with the only other survivor, Sylvia.
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that this is not exactly the best zombie film ever made. In fact, it is damned awful. "Boring" would be a good single word description, because the viewer stares at the screen for long minutes and nothing happens. Editing, any at all, would have helped.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- It is difficult to tell the difference between a frightened woman and one who needs to pee.
- Camels are better actors than some humans.
- Zombies sound like congested lions.
- German troops used lever-action rifles in World War II.
- Zombies are related to gophers.
- When filming day for night, one should frame the shot to avoid the very blue sky.
- Skin lotion companies would make a fortune, if only the undead would become consumers.
- Night lasts about fifteen minutes in the desert.
- 1 min - Redwoods? In Egypt? Are you daft?
- 17 mins - That guy was going to act like he had been shot, but changed his mind.
- 22 mins - I want something to happen. Anything.
- 42 mins - They are trying to record the prayer service; stop talking you idiot!
- 47 mins - Nice of him to fall on that pile of reeds so they could easily cremate his dead body...
- 64 mins - I'm bored of watching him act bored.
- 66 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
- 73 mins - They learned to make Molotov cocktails in college?
- The End - Thank goodness.
- Kurt's Girlfriend: "This place gives me the jitters."
Kurt: "The thought of six million dollars lying buried here gives me the jitters too, but I guess they're not the same kind, huh?"
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Lesbian1: "Did you hear? What was it?" |
Lesbian2: "A frog."
Lesbian1: "Oh yeah, of course, desert frogs. Why didn't I think of that? You know what I think? I think this place is jinxed, let's get out of here."
||Robert's Father: "Of course, you're aware there is a legend the ghosts of your soldiers still stand guard over the treasure."
||Man: "Why are you burning his body?" |
Other Man: "You must burn it, otherwise it comes back. Yes, the damned, they must burn in holy fire or they will come back to life."
||The sound a zombie makes.
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Kurt's stupid girlfriend tried to get away by running through the zombies. Obviously that didn't work, so he takes off in the other direction, toward the jeep. Good thinking. If he had only thought to check the back seat...
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