Oasis of the Zombies (1981)

Two buxom babes are tolling around the Sahara for some reason and stumble upon an oasis. Looking around, they find the remains of a battle - skulls, abandoned munitions and rotting German gun emplacements. That's not the only thing rotting, however. From beneath the sand come the undead, and it's time for a feast!

It turns out the oasis was the scene of a battle in World War II, and entire German division was killed, and six million dollars in gold that they were guarding was lost, and student Robert Blabert (Manuel Gélin) tells the tale of how his father (Javier Maiza), the only survivor, is found near death by a sheikh (Antonio Mayans) and his entourage. While in the sheikh's care, Robert's father falls in love with Aisha (Doris Regina), but as he is now well he feels obligated to rejoin the war.

Afterward, he returns to find out Aisha has died during childbirth. He wants to go back to the oasis to retrieve the gold, but is convinced by the sheikh to instead do his duty to his infant child.
In 1980, treasure hunter Kurt (Henri Lambert) gets the location from Robert's father, and then kills him. Kurt and his wife (Myriam Landsom) set off to find the gold with two shady assistants. His wife and the assistants are killed by the undead after night falls, and he manages to make it back to civilization, only to die of his injuries.

Meanwhile, Robert and his college friends also join in the hunt, following directions from a map that was left by his father. Professor Konrad Deniken (Albino Graziani) along with his assistant Erika (France Lomay) are also on the trail.

Needless to say, all in their turn, everyone makes it to the oasis and is largely dispatched by the zombies.

Jesus Franco has directed hundreds of films, from sleazy classics like Venus in Furs to films such as this. His camera work and the location filming are really the only good things here. The zombies are largely unimpressive; they are Romero-like in their slowness, and seem to have an aversion to sunlight, but they don't seem to stick to any consistent rules established in the film.
As for the characters, there's really no interest. They all have the same motivation, and by the time everyone gets to the oasis it is hard to care. No one seems to have an idea where the gold may be buried, so even without the undead one can just imagine a bunch bleached European corpses would have been the result of the treasure hunt.

So, why did I subject myself to this? Largely to see if it was as bad as some people said. It wasn't, but it is also not a good movie, and this is a warning as this is the Jesus Franco movie included in a lot of cheap collections. Don't judge the man on this, but instead try out Venus in Furs or Vampyros Lesbos instead.

Oasis of the Zombies (1981)
Duration: 82 minutes
Starring: Manuel Gélin, France Lomay, Eric Viellard
Director: Jesus Franco


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