Shock Waves

Shock Waves (1976)
Blue Underground
Cast: Peter Cushing, John Carradine, Luke Halpin, Brooke Adams
Extras: Commentary Track, Interview, Trailers, TV Spots, Radio Spots, Image Gallery

There is a life beyond Anchor Bay for director/producer Bill Lustig. After producing some of Anchor Bay’s most acclaimed DVD releases, Lustig is now striding out on his own with his new company, ’Blue Underground,’ dedicated to bring obscure films to audiences in unprecedented quality. One of the first films to be released is the 1976 horror film ’Shock Waves.’

During World War II, with the help of scientists, the Germans created a corps of undead troopers for the sole purpose – to kill. But no member of the ’Death Corps’ was ever found or captured, and suddenly, years later, they emerge from the waters of the Atlantic off the coast of Florida. Indestructible, they still have only one purpose – to kill.

The DVD contains an anamorphic widescreen transfer of the movie that was restored from the director’s own vault print. Since the film had been obscure and rarely seen for many years, fans will love the treat Blue Underground is serving up here. Still however, the image does show a significant graininess that is part of the original print. ( It almost looks like it was shot in 2P mode, but I may be wrong) Once you get over that distractor however, ’Shock Waves’ convinces on many levels. The print shows a few blemishes and scratches, but nothing noteworthy and colors are nicely reproduced, and especially the underwater shots are rich with vivid blue tints. Blacks are well reproduced and fleshtones look natural. The compression of the film has been handled carefully and is mostly without artifacts, making for a good presentation of this very difficult source material.

The DVD contains a monaural audio track of the movie and sadly there are no subtitles or captions found on the disc, an oversight that will hopefully be corrected in future ’Blue Underground’ releases. The audio is a bit muffled at times and shows its age, but it is free of noise, pops or hiss, and is mostly free of distortion.

’Blue Underground’ has added a commentary track to the DVD, featuring writer/director Ken Wiederhorn, Make-up designer Alan Ormsby and cult filmmaker Fred Olen Ray. The commentary is entertaining and informative and offers good insight into the world of low budget filmmaking at the time. An interview with actor Luke Halpin is also part of the disc, as well as the movie’s theatrical trailer, TV Spots, Radio Spots and a gallery of posters, stills and production art.

In this release, it is quickly becoming evident what role Lustig plays in Anchor Bay’s DVD releases. ’Shock Waves’ could just as well be an Anchor Bay release. The quality is top notch for such a small and obscure film, and the extras are nicely put together with a touch that shows love and appreciation for the movie. Nazi zombies aren’t something you see every day, and with the veritable Peter Cushing in one of the leads, you know that you’re getting some solid acting, so make sure you give this DVD a try when you’re in the mood.