‘Oasis of the Zombies‘ is a 1982 film by B-Movie legend and exploitation maestro Jesus Franco. The film has also been released under the titles ‘L’Abîme des Morts-Vivants‘, ‘The Treasure of the Living Dead‘, ‘Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies‘, and ‘Le Tresor des Morts Vivants‘.
Jesus Franco was known for churning out films at a rapid rate, and during the shooting of ‘Oasis of the Zombies‘ he simultaneously shot a Spanish version that was called ‘La tumba de los Muertos Vivientes‘ which had a different running time, featured some scenes in a different sequence, had some entirely new scenes, and had a different soundtrack.
The plot is pretty thin and involves some treasure hunters trying to track down some Nazi gold that they hear is hidden in the desert. When they locate it they find it is guarded by a squad of Nazi Zombies.
Basically, if you have seen a Jesus Franco film before, and had fun watching one, then you’ll know what to expect here. If you have never seen a Jesus Franco film before then be prepared, set your expectations low, and prepare to meet the man the put the capital ‘B’ in B-Movie.
The movie itself was made on a shoestring budget (and it shows) and is full of stock footage of desert scenes that don’t quite match with the close-ups when the action turns to the actors. This patchwork approach also applies to the soundtrack with some audio being plundered from other films, blended in with tracks from long-term Franco collaborator, the composer Daniel White.
The soundtrack was created by Daniel White and features a distinct ‘Arab-esque’ or ‘middle-eastern’ atmosphere with eastern drumming and other ambient sounds. It is actually pretty good and effective in heightening the desert setting.
The rest of the soundtrack is pretty odd and disjointed and is probably made up of audio from other films or sound libraries, as well as reusing previous tracks by Daniel White – tracks that were not specifically scored for this movie.
It is full of odd synth sounds and rasping drones that are repetitive and trippy (usually used when the zombies appear) – how much you enjoy it is probably going to be down to how open minded you are, or how off your head you are.
The score also includes tracks that horror nerds will be able to trace back to other films that Daniel White has scored – for example, there is a moment in the film where a bizarre pop track (it sounds like theme to a 70s US commercial for bubblegum or children;s toys: “Ohhhh…Bap a dap bap…..La La La La”) is used that was featured in ‘Zombie Lake‘ (a film that Jesus Franco worked on before dropping out of the production (leaving it to Jean Rollin to finish).
As previously mentioned, Franco shot two versions of this film simultaneously, and the Spanish version had a slightly different soundtrack that was credited to Pablo Villa. Pablo Villa was a joint pseudonym used by Jesus Franco and Daniel White.
The soundtrack has never been released, and probably won’t be, but it would make for an interesting product if anyone could pull it together.
Check out the trailer for Oasis of the Zombies below which will give you a taste of the sounds and music in the film.
Watch Oasis of the Zombies at The Zombie Site