Peter Cushing is awesome. He’s just a cool dude. Even after his wife died and he was visibly broken as a human being, he was still cool. Even in 1977, the year Shock Waves was released, when he looked like he was approaching 9,000 years old. He was still cool. Even in the scene in Shock Waves where his shirt is left open and his strangely Holocaust-internment-camp-style ribcage is exposed, he’s still cool. The dude just emanates awesome.
That being said, Shock Waves sucks. It sucks super hard. It sucks so hard the viewer almost feels as if the creators are attempting to goad you into turning off the film. The movie is terrible on almost ever level.
The film revolves around a yachting party whose ship runs aground on a small and mysterious island. The group of young yachters (is that even a term?) eventually stumble upon the island’s sole inhabitant an aging SS Commander played by the aforementioned Peter Cushing. What follows is an excruciatingly slow film where you’re just praying for some cool scuba-Nazi-zombie action and it just never comes. Oh, did I forget to mention that the aging SS Commander also controls theoretically awesome scuba Nazi-zombies? Cause he does. The only drawback? The theoretically awesome scuba Nazi-zombies are just that, theoretically awesome. They suck.
The film is slow moving and has no pacing. This thing makes 2001: A Space Odyssey look like 2001: A Cocaine-fueled Ecstasy Binge. I’ve said before I like slow, shambling zombies. You know what I don’t like? Slow, shambling films. I could get out and walk faster than this movie moves.
To add insult to injury, the characters trapped within this molasses landslide are painfully boring. You don’t end up caring about anyone. The only thing you hope happens is that the film ends. Quickly.
Peter Cushing, who looks like he’s on his deathbed, is the only saving grace in this film. I mean, literally the only thing that doesn’t make you want to claw your eyes out.
How does a movie with genetically engineered aquatic Nazi zombies suck? How is this possible? This movie has all the basic elements of an amazing, lowbrow cult film. I’ll tell you how: it just sucks. It’s plain lame. On every front it is not good.
I honestly cannot recommend this film unless you are a huge Peter Cushing fan. If you like Mr. Cushing’s work you may, if you truly dedicate yourself to it, you may find something of redeeming quality lurking in the dark depths of this film.
I, unfortunately, could not.