Shock Waves is a 1970s US horror film that was written and directed by Ken Wiederhorn.
A boat of holidaymakers crashes into another mysterious ship and the crew are washed up on a tropical island. Once there they find a crazed scientist who has been creating undead SS super-soldiers who can survive on land and underwater. These Nazi-zombies were designed as a secret weapon, but things go badly wrong.
The film is a B-Movie fanatic’s paradise – low budget, full of Nazis, zombies, blood and gore, Peter Cushing, and a fantastic and distinctive soundtrack.
The soundtrack was composed by Richard Einhorn, a US composer who studied electronic music and composition at Colombia University. Einhorn actually studied under the guidance of Vladimir Ussachevsky, who was onne of the pioneers of electronic music.
As well as ‘Shock Waves‘, Einhorn created soundtracks for a number of other horror films in the 1980s such as ‘The Prowler‘ (1981) and ‘Dead of Winter‘ (1987).
Einhorn’s horror soundtracks from the 80s have become somewhat of a Holy Grail for horror-score aficionados as they haven’t really had any formal releases, and his simple yet very inventive synth/electronic soundtracks can be held up as shining, but doom-laden, examples of the genre. (update: Shock Waves finally got a release in late 2014, see below for more detail).
The Shock Waves score is largely electronic, with long, drawn-out and slow-building chords, all drenched in lots of water sound-effects throughout. There are deep dark droning sounds that at times almost sound like a ship’s foghorn in the distance, but then build into a powerful and dark electronic chords punctuated by synthesizer howls and discordant sounds – the whole effect is very sinister, and adds real depth to the score. You can almost feel the terror and danger lurking in the murky depths of the score, and Einhorn’s compositions are about as moody as electronic horror soundtracks get.
The good news is the Shock Waves got its first official release and was issued on CD in late 2014 by Howling Wolf Records.
A release of the soundtrack initially looked highly unlikely as when Einhorn had been contacted in the past about the soundtrack by members of the Film Score Monthly forum he had stated that he wasn’t even sure where the master tapes where: “They may be somewhere in my archives, but I suspect they are lost for good, and probably unplayable even if we did find them.“
Commercially available for the first time, the score has been remastered from the Einhorn’s personal 7.5 ips master tapes in mono.
This official release of the soundtrack will have many fans parting with their money in a matter of seconds to get their hands on a copy and you can see the album art and track listing below:
01 Shock Waves (Opening Titles) 0:59
02 Where It All Began 1:37
03 Zombie Chase 1:05
04 Death Corps 2:47
05 Arrival on the Island 0:26
06 An Unearthly Glow 0:13
07 Rescue 1 0:30
08 Nazis from the Deep 1:26
09 Discovering the Captain 0:17
10 Laying Ben to Rest 0:48
11 Towards the Hotel / Dobbs Finds the Zombies 0:48
12 Danger in the Water 0:33
13 All I Can Remember 1:24
14 Neither Weapons nor Shields 0:57
15 Rescue 2 0:27
16 Dog Watch 1:11
17 Hit by a Ghost Ship 1:07
18 The Sea Spits up What It Can’t Keep Down 1:13
19 Life Underwater 0:48
20 Always Lurking 0:38
21 The Light 2:08
22 The Deep End of Horror 0:56
23 The Grave of a Ghost Ship 0:46
24 Awaken from the Grave 0:42
25 Shock Waves (Alternate) 0:18
26 Where It All Began (Alternate) 1:35
27 Towards the Hotel (Alternate) 0:48
28 Hit by a Ghost Ship (Alternate) 1:07
29 Death Corps (Alternate) 2:48
In the meantime you can at least experience some of the dark and moody horror of Einhorn’s soundtrack below: