OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES (1982)
aka La tumba de los muertos vivientes, Grave of the Living Dead
Article 4990 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Jesus Franco
Featuring Manuel Gelin, Eduardo Fajardo, France Lomay
Country: France / Spain
What it is: Zombie movie
A company of Nazis with a shipment of gold is slaughtered in an oasis. Visitors find themselves attacked by the zombies of these men.
Franco has his defenders, and even I will admit that he is capable of good work on occasion. But even his defenders don’t seem to have much good to say about this one, and I certainly don’t see much treasure to be found here, either. I did get to the point where I felt the best way to appreciate the movie was to try to enjoy discrete visual moments that show a little evocative poetry. But that was only after I realized that nothing interesting was going to happen in the story, none of the characters were memorable, there was no quotable dialogue (except for the line about about the zombies coming out of “the sand which is there” which amused me because it could be heard as “the sandwiches there”), and the same musical motifs, though effective when used sparingly, would drone on and on until you were sick of them. I got really tired of Franco’s style here; he relies so much on close-ups of everything and everybody that it’s impossible to get any sense of the physical location of anything; it’s really hard to work up any suspense during a zombie attack when you don’t where the victims are in relation to the zombies. You shouldn’t come out of a horror movie feeling not much of anything, but that’s the case here. It’s Franco at his worst.