I have to admit, I have a soft spot for 1970s zombies with makeup that looks like it was scooped out of a garbage disposal and slapped on actors’ faces. The 1977 zombie film Shock Waves totally fits the bill, plus the zombies wear cool dark sunglasses and walk on the ocean floor.
Really, what draws you to Shock Waves is the eerie visual experience of the underwater shots of these zombies and the pulsing musical score when they rise up from the surf and walk out of the water. CREEPY!
That’s really the guts of the horror because there are no guts. Meaning, no flesh eating! No gore. The ghoulish zombies are the whole shebang. The plot is simple. The zombies are awakened after the sky turns yellow. Hey! That happens in the novella Zombied Out in my book Closet Monsters.
Anyway, a group on a yacht gets stranded on a jungle island. This old crazy dude has created an army of Nazi zombies. Do not be fooled by Nazi zombie imitators like Dead Snow and Outpost! But definitely watch them, too. Especially the Outpost sequel Outpost: Black Rain for that damn cackling Nazi zombie witch (I blog about that series here).
As is usually the case with films from the 1970s, Shock Waves is a slow burner loaded with atmosphere. It has a cool cast, including Peter Cushing (same year he did Star Wars!), John Carradine (same year he did The Sentinel and looking just as creepy even though he’s not one of the zombies), Brooke Adams (who did the Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake a year later), and Luke Halpin from the 60s series Flipper, who had a sexy 70s pornstache by the time he swam with the zombies instead of dolphins.
It’s a close race, but I think the water-resistant zombies are slightly more of a reason to watch Shock Waves than the pornstache.