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MOVIE REVIEWS

Oasis Of The Zombies (1983)

[Le Trésor des Morts Vivants]


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Deserts and zombies simply don't mix. I can say that with much confidence after seeing Oasis Of The Zombies. There is absolutely nothing terrifying about zombies haunting an oasis in the middle of the Sahara.

The movie centers on a young student who, upon hearing of his father's death, travels back to his home in Africa with a group of his friends. He had read in his father's diary of the story of how his conception came to be. During World War II, the Allies ambushed a German convoy carrying a shipment of gold. That battle took place at a desert oasis, and left only one survivor, an American soldier...his dad. While being nursed back to health, his father fell in love with the daughter of a sheik. She would later have his child and die during the birthing process.

His son doesn't really care about any of it except for the part about the gold. He doesn't seem to mourn his father's death or care about meeting his grandfather and learning more about his mother. Director Jesus Franco uses a flashback to show us all of that back-story to set up a very simple tale of greed and its rewards. Most of it seemed unnecessary and I have to believe that there was a more concise and less long-winded way to get the story across. I would like to believe that Franco did it that way hoping the viewer would care about what was happening to his characters on the screen. It didn't work. I just didn't care if the zombies munched on their brains or not. Let the zombies feast, see if I care!

Oasis failed on many levels. Direction was lacking to say the least. Many scenes were far too drawn-out, and some scenes weren't even necessary. And what was the deal with the spider? I counted at least 4 close-ups of a spider in its web preceding most of the zombie attacks. It didn't increase the tension, didn't come close to scaring anybody, so why was it in there? I'll toss it in the already half-full trashcan labeled "Things that don't make sense and distract the viewer."

By no means am I a musical expert, however, I've seen enough movies to know what works and what doesn't work in a movie. I do pay attention, and when the music consists of what sounds to be banging on pots and pans, and strumming rubber bands...it just doesn't cut it. Neither do the weird creaking sounds as the zombies were coming out of the sand. Do zombies creak? Does sand creak? Then where was it coming from? I have no clue, but it sounded like someone running a finger up and down a comb!

To be fair, there were a few positives to Oasis. I was pretty impressed with the make-up. It wasn't just some green paint slapped haphazardly on the actors' faces. It looked like they actually took some time and cared about their job. I'm not saying it amazed me, but it was inspired work compared to the quality of the rest of the film.

I've always been a big fan of seeing zombies escape from their grave, dig their way to the surface, and then begin their carnage. While crawling out of the sand wasn't nearly as spine-tingling as seeing it happen in such films as Zombie or Return of the Living Dead, it was a noble attempt. Chalk it up to the limitations of an oasis in the middle of the Sahara.

While Oasis of the Zombies is not a great film, not even an average film, I want to make the point that it's not the worst zombie film ever made. I've seen worse. There was a small bit (very small) of promise but ended up as just another piece of zombie refuse. The only way to get any value out of the film is to gather your friends together, make fun of it, and laugh your ass off. Due to either the horrible script or the dubbing translation, some of the lines are absolute classics!


RATING

(out of 5)
THEATER RELEASE DATE
March 1 1983
(Spain)
DVD RELEASE DATE
April 10 2001


DEAD KEV'S ADVICE
The best thing I can say is that it's not the worst zombie flick out there. If you don't expect too much and want some cheap laughs, rent it! If you want to torture yourself by repeated viewings of Oasis, then by all means buy it.
ZOMBIE LESSONS LEARNED
1. Don't try to steal the gold of dead Nazis.
2. Skipping your college exams always results in something bad happening. So stop slackin'!
FAVORITE QUOTES
-"You coming along?"
-"If you want me to. I'm going to fail my exams anyways."
-"That would be swell!"


DIRECTOR
Jesus Franco (Revenge in the House of Usher)
Marius Lesoeur
WRITERS
Jesus Franco
Ramón Llidó [story]
PRODUCER
Daniel Lesoeur
CAST CHARACTER
Manuel Gélin Robert Blabert
Jeff Montgomery  
Myriam Landson  
Eric Viellard  
France Jordan  
Antonio Mayans The Sheik
Miguel Ángel Aristu Ahmed
Eduardo Fajardo Kurt (Spanish version)
Albino Graziani Professor Denicken
Daniel Katz  
Javier Maiza Robert's father
Doris Regina Sheik's daughter
PRODUCTION COMPANY
Eurociné
STUDIO
Image Entertainment
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Spain & France
RUNNING TIME MPAA RATING
82 mins Unrated


INTERESTING TIDBITS
This film is supposed to have been filmed twice, both in French and Spanish. The two versions shared some footage but did use some different cast members for minor characters. The Spanish version The Tombs of the Living Dead (1983) has not yet been released in North America.
AKA : La Tumba de los Muertos Vivientes (1983 Spain); The Oasis of the Living Dead (1983 USA); Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies (1983 video); Grave of the Living Dead (1983); The Treasure of the Living Dead (1983)
AROUND THE WEB
Biography of Jess Franco - Jess-Franco.com

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