Shock Waves (1977) Short Review

A great attempt at a serious, albeit bloodless horror film from the 1970s. It plays like a Tales from the Crypt or Vault of Horror comic book story after the Comics Code Authority was implemented; having a few curse words is about as far as the movie dares to go. That’s not to say that it’s bad.

The soundtrack is very atmospheric and may be the reason it scared me so much when I saw this as a child. The underwater scenes with the Death Corps were also very memorable visually (thats what I remembered most). The story itself is a little uninspired, though, as is the dialogue. The editing of some of the conversations made some of the actors appear a little more stilted than they had to be.

I think the biggest weakness of the movie are the bookends. The film starts out by giving you the lone survivor (the lovely Brooke Adams) who recounts the story. Suspense balloon deflated right there. And it ends with a bit of a whimper instead of a bang.

The lone survivor really doesn’t do anything clever to survive. She’s just left alone by the villains. Sorry if you think I’m ruining this for you, but again, you know who survives in the opening minute.

Adams needed a little more to say and do in this, as did all of the actors. She’s mostly wasted and that’s too bad, since she was at her most bodacious in this.

It’s fun to see John Carradine and Grand Moff Tarkin in anything. Carradine wasn’t edited very well here, and it’s probably in the lower tier of his 400+ movie roles. Cushing, however, is great as villain or hero; even here where he is to be quickly dispatched by the zombie types shortly after he appears onscreen. Not the greatest film, but a good low budget 70s horror flick. It did make my Worst 10 of 1977 list.

2.5 of 5

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