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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Shock Waves (1976)

Shock Waves (1976)

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Released 5-Jun-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers'
Featurette-From Flipper To Shock Waves
TV Spots
Radio Spots-2
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Peter Cushing Trailers
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1976
Running Time 84:31
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Ken Wiederhorn
Zopix Company
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Clarence Thomas
Brooke Adams
Luke Halpin
John Carradine
Jack Davidson
D.J. Sidney
Fred Buch
Don Stout
Peter Cushing
Sammy Graham
Preston White
Reid Finger
Mike Kennedy
Case Gatefold
RPI $19.95 Music Richard Einhorn
Norman Gay
Jessica Sack

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A group of tourists on a small boat off the Florida coast are caught on a reef. A hulk emerges from the depths due to an undersea disturbance, accompanied by the sky going a strange colour. On a nearby island they discover an old hotel, in which lives an old man with a German accent (Peter Cushing). He warns them to leave, but it is too late: the creatures on the ship are loose. In fact they are the remnants of an elite SS zombie squad, neither alive nor dead and capable of fighting in any terrain, especially in the water (and under it). How they got there is not convincingly explained, but no matter, they are there and they plan to leave no-one alive.

    A very low budget effort from the mid-1970s, this should be terrible. But it turns out to be quite good. There is no gore, just suspense and a very spooky feel to the film, enhanced by the grainy, off-colour photography and the excellent score. Cushing does not have a large role in this film, and nor does John Carradine, who plays the skipper of the boat, but they are both very good. Brooke Adams is the heroine.

    The acting of the non-stars in the cast is pretty bad, most of them being local actors who the director hired because they were cheap I suspect. The zombies though are quite well characterised, wearing blonde hair and dark goggles, and they look a little scary. This is a low budget independent horror film and it shows, but not as much as similar genre outings. It comes in the three-disc set Superstars of Horror Volume 1: Peter Cushing, and is not available separately.

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Transfer Quality


    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    It was shot on 16mm film, so it is neither sharp nor detailed. There is a lot of grain and colour is never accurate. There is a washed out look to the film. Contrast is average at best, and shadow detail is poor. That sort of thing often helps a horror film.

    There are some faint scratches, dirt and white flecks evident throughout. Otherwise there are no serious artefacts other than those already mentioned.

    The disc is dual-layered, but the film seems to be contained wholly on one layer. There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The sole audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    The audio is not brilliant but is acceptable. Dialogue is clear and there is no hiss or significant distortion. It does not jump with life but does the job nonetheless. Bass seems to be a little lacking.

    The music score by Richard Einhorn is excellent. It is comprised of electronic sounds and really adds to the mood of the film. It reminds me of the score for the original Assault on Precinct 13, not in style or content but in the importance it plays in making the film as good as it is.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Audio Commentary-Filmmakers

    A good commentary with director Ken Wiederhorn, stills photographer Fred Olen Ray (later a noted genre director himself) and make-up artist Alan Ormsby. There are a few amusing stories and a few dead spots.

Featurette-From Flipper To Shock Waves (7:43)

    An interview with Luke Halpin, former Flipper star, who talks about the film with enthusiasm and a refreshing lack of pretension.

TV Spot (0:30)

    An original TV spot with voice-over narration. It is widescreen and 16x9 enhanced, so I suspect it is not in the original aspect ratio.

Radio Spots (1:02)

    Two very similar radio advertisements.

Gallery-Photo (1:38)

    Nearly 100 posters, behind the scenes stills, promotional material, sketches and more.

Theatrical Trailer (2:52)

    An original widescreen trailer which is 16x9 enhanced.

Trailer-Peter Cushing Trailers (6:50)

        Trailers for Biggles, And Now the Screaming Starts, Bloodsuckers and The Abominable Snowman, all of which feature our star.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This release seems to be identical to the US Region 1 release from Blue Underground, so there is no reason not to shop locally, unless you just want this film by itself.


    A spooky zombie movie that is better than it has a right to be.

    The video quality is about as good as the source material will allow, which is not very.

    The audio quality is not bad.

    A good range of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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