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L'Abime des Morts Vivants / La Tumba de los Muertos Vivientes

Oasis of the Zombies
Le Tresor des Morts Vivants / Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies / Desierto de los Zombies / Grave of the Living Dead / The Treasure of the Living Dead

France/Spain 1981
produced by
directed by Jess Franco (as A.M. Frank)
starring Javier Maiza, Antonio Mayans, Manuel Gélin, Caroline Audret, Miguel Ángel Aristu, Eric Viellard, Doris Regina, France Lomay, Albino Graziani, Eduardo Fajardo (Spanish version only), Lina Romay (Spanish version only)
written by A.L.Mariaux (= Jess Franco), music by Daniel J. White

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Captain Blabert (Javier Maiza) is the only one who knows where in the Sahara desert a Nazi treasure is hidden - but he is foolish enough to (years after teh war) give the location of the treasure away to Colonel Kurt, his adversary from the war ... and Colonel Kurt wastes no time and kills him. When he and his wife later make it to the oasis marked out by Blabert, they are attacked by Nazi zombies, and while the woman is killed, Kurt makes it to the camp of Sheik Al Kafir (Antonio Mayans), barely alive.

Back home, Blabert's son Robert (Manjuel Gélin) learns about his father's death, fetches his father's diary, learns the location of the Nazi treasure, and soon enough he and friends Ronald (Eric Viellard), Ahmed (Miguel Ángel Aristu) and Sylvia (Caroline Audret) are off to the Sahara to fetch the treasure.

But once at the oasis, they, too are attacked by Nazi zombies. Somehow though they find out that the zombies can be warded off by fire ... but in the end, of the foursome only Robert and Sylvia survive the zombie attack.


Usually, director Jess Franco is just dismissed as an incompetent schlock producer by high-nosed ignorant know-it-all critics ... and nothing could be further from the truth. In his early days, Jess Franco made some visionary, groundbreaking films, like The Awful Dr.Orloff, Vampyros Lesbos or The Diabolical Dr.Z, and he was also responsible for some fun genre pics like Attack of the Robots, the Red Lips films or Mari-Cookie and the Killer Tarantula. However, it is true to say that between highlights such as those, Jess Franco also had to churn out much worthless trash, for example Bloody Moon or this one here.

Oasis of the Zombies is probably Jess Franco at his worst, he clearly shows little interest in producing a formulaic zombie-flick (not his cup of tea to begin with) and the budget and production schedule did not allow for any kind of improvisation on the theme - hell, to cut costs and time, even some battlescenes from another movie, I Giardini de Diavlo (1971, Alfredo Rizzo), were incorporated into this one. As a result, Jess Franco here does nothing more than directing the camera in the more or less right direction and see what comes out - which sometimes is not much, regarding the climax with our heroes fighting the zombies with fire which is almost totally obscured by black smoke.

Actually, Oasis of the Zombies is a film that shouldn't have been given to a director like Franco in the first place, but to add insult to injury, it is a film Jess Franco is quite frequently associated with, mainly because it has been readily available for quite a while, having been reissued on video and DVD again and again, with only rarely a video company forgetting to mention how rare the film is (nothing could be further from the truth).

Final verdict: If you love zombie films, don't watch it, but if you are a fan of Jess Franco (like I am), avoid it at all costs, this doesn't do the director one bit of justice ...


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD