** Out of 5
Release Date- April 21st, 1982
Running Time- 82-Minutes
Screenplay- A.L. Mariaux (Jesus Franco)
Director- A.M. Frank (Jesus Franco)
Starring- Manuel Gelin, France Jordan, Jeff Montgomery, Eric Saint-Just, Caroline Audret, Henry Lambert
As a fan of B-movies I totally get the appeal of the films by Jess Franco, but in general I’ve never really been a fan of his work with really the exception of Female Vampire and my enjoyment of the film had nothing to do with the writing or directing, but more to do with the graphic nude scenes curtesy of the amazingly beautiful Lina Romay (Franco’s wife). Like Claudio Fragasso and Bruno Mattei, Jess Franco has built a large cult following for films often dubbed so bad their good. Like I said I never really liked Franco’s work (same for Fragasso and Mattei), but sure I can easily see why Franco would appeal to certain people and hey I’m a big fan of Juan Piquer Simon or as he’s known to American viewers J. Simon (Pieces, Slugs).
Oasis of the Zombies released in 1982 is a nazi themed zombie film much like Zombie Lake, which was released the previous year. Jess Franco also wrote Zombie Lake under the name A.L. Mariaux, which he also uses here with Oasis of the Zombies. Originally, Franco was set to direct Zombie Lake, but bailed and Jean Rollin took over and for years denied he directed the film. As bad as Zombie Lake turned out it was a film that also had plenty of fun moments whereas Oasis of the Zombies is just flat out boring for a good portion of its running time and despite the fact the film only runs at 82- minutes it felt like 202-minutes.
Robert (Gelin) leads a group on an expedition for buried treasure, but they find it guarded by nazi zombies who than rise from the dead.
Written by Jesus Franco under the name A.L. Mariaux, the script for Oasis of the Zombies is as bad as you’ll find. Characters are bland and boring with zero depth and the film is poorly plotted. To be honest as far as the plot does I often zoned out on the film because it was so poor. I don’t think anyone will ever cite Franco’s scripts as a reason why they like his work, but even for his standards this was a complete boring mess.
Jess Franco directs under the name A.M. Frank and I really fail to see the point of the film. Unlike past Franco films, which sometimes feature gore or more likely graphic nudity, Oasis of the Zombies has none of that really. Gore wise there is nothing to see here and any nudity is no more than you’ll find in an R-rated film. While I don’t need gore or graphic nudity to hold my interest, but in a movie this poor it sure does help. The film gets off to a solid start, but quickly goes downhill. The pacing of the film is very slow and half the time I stopped paying attention. From a visual side, Oasis of the Zombies is horrid looking with very poor editing. I’m not really sure what the point of this film was. It doesn’t feature the things Franco is known for, which would be fine if he were a competent filmmaker, but there is zero suspense and tension and if that’s what Franco was aiming for it was a complete failure. This had to just be a cheap quickie in hopes for a quick and easy payday.
Oasis of the Zombies is a really poor film; poorly shot, edited, no story, no gore, very little nudity, stock shots and the zombies range from ok looking to quite poor. Nazi zombies were never hugely popular with the exception of Shock Waves and to a lesser degree Zombie Lake so I’m not sure what made Franco think this would be a good idea. Zombie films were still quite popular at the time and there was a heavy dose coming out of Europe (mainly Italy), but this features none of what made those films a cult favorites and when even compared to its companion piece Zombie Lake, Oasis of the Zombies is even quite inferior to that, which is a scary thought. I really can’t think of much positive to say besides at least the movie ended. I saw a really best up copy, which looks like a VHS print and Redemption released this title on blu-ray. Perhaps seeing a better copy I’ll be able to get more into it, but I’m in no rush to seek this out again. Again I get the appeal of Jess Franco, but really with the exception of Female Vampire I find the good portion of his work a bore and again even Female Vampire I only enjoyed due to the graphic nudity by Lina Romay.
Oasis of the Zombies also goes under the titles The Treasure of the Living Dead, Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies & The Oasis of the Living Dead.