“One day we shall come back”: Nazi zombies are resurrected in Jess Franco’s 1982 Eurotrash epic

By on August 21, 2017

If you’re not too sick of hearing about Nazis making a comeback lately, then we here at Night Flight HQ would like to recommend that you check out Spanish director Jesús “Jess” Franco’s Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies — originally released in 1982 as Oasis of the Zombies — which we have streaming in our Horror section over on Night Flight Plus!

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Near the end of World War II, the entire world was warned that Nazis would resurrect Hitler’s Nazi death machine at some future point in time when SS General Hans Friedreich, speaking his last words over Radio Brussels on September 1, 1944, said: “One day we shall come back. Until then, à bientôt.”

Recent TV news footage of white nationalists marching on the University of Virginia campus — carrying (tiki) torches and chanting “Sieg heil!” while giving the Nazi salute — reminded us again of his sinister prophecy, revealing that the atrocities of the original Nazi regime have indeed risen from the dead in what certainly feels like a modern-day zombie apocalypse.

Speaking of zombies, they’re probably as popular today as they’ve ever been, and Nazi zombies — animated by a white supremacist-laced poisonous evil which simply refuses to die — are proving to be the most difficult zombies to kill.

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Zombie films have been popular for a long time, but beginning in the 1970s, they also began to be commentaries about America’s racial problems and our obsession with nuclear catastrophes, as we learned from the late, great George Romero who said his movie Night of the Living Dead was actually “a metaphor about revolution.”

Around the same time, nearly a quarter-century after the original Nazi era, the trashy Nazisploitation sub-genre began arriving in grindhouse theaters.

Most of those films were essentially women-in-prison sexploitation flicks with Nazis committing horrific sexual acts as overseers of prison camps during World War II, with female prisoners in various stages of undress being tortured by Nazi-loving prison wardens.

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The best of those films was likely Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1975), which spun off may sequels of its own (check out our blog about Jess Franco’s Ilsa, The Wicked Warden, which we’ve also got streaming on NF Plus!)

Movies about Nazi zombies — which are starting to look like documentaries these days — are proving ripe for revision, too, but before any new Nazi zombie films begin appearing in theaters or on cable TV, we’ll always have Jess Franco’s 1982 film Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies to revisit.

Read more about Jess Franco and Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies below.

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Director Jess Franco

In the 1970s, along with fellow Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel, Franco — born Jesús Franco Manera — was condemned by the Vatican as the director whose films were most dangerous to Catholics.

That didn’t keep Franco from churning out more than three hundred features during his lifetime and 50 year-plus career (he died in 2013), principally in the horror & sexploitation genres, not to mention X-rated porn flicks.

Once named in the Guinness Book Of Records as the most prolific film director in the world, Franco usually wrote/co-wrote his own scripts and frequently doubled as his own producer, editor, composer, or cinematographer.

Here, Franco uses the pseudonym A.M. Frank, working from screenplay he co-wrote with A.L. Mariaux (another pseudonym, for producer Marius Lesoeur) and Ramón Llidó, who is also credited with the story.

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Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies follows Robert (Manuel Gélin), a student at an English university, who reads in his father’s diaries about a shipment of gold worth $6 million dollars that is still buried at an oasis in the Sahara desert.

He learns — as we do, in a long flashback — that the gold had once belonged to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, commander of the Afrika Korps in Northern Africa.

In November 1943, a small German squadron in charge of guarding Rommel’s gold had been ambushed by the Allies, and Robert’s father, British Commander Captain Robert Blabert (Javier Maiza) had been the only survivor in the deadly fight with Nazi soldiers.

Saved by Bedouins, he was nursed back to health by a desert sheik’s daughter, Robert’s mother Aisha (Doris Regina).

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Years later, his dad, Capt. Blabert was meeting with former British and German commanders — to discuss plans to excavate the site and split up the gold — when he met his fate at the hands of Kurt (Henri Lambert), a former Nazi colonel and cutthroat treasure hunter, who then heads out to find the gold himself.

Robert Jr. — along with three fellow students and a couple of archaeologists — also make plans to unearth the unclaimed fortune, but they find the gold is still being protected by restless, rotting Nazi soldiers, an army of the living dead who’ve been sleeping beneath the desert sand for forty years.

Franco shot two versions of the film simultaneously: a French-language version, L’abîme des morts vivants, but the one the one we have for you on Night Flight Plus is the Spanish version, La Tumba de los Muertos Vivientes, originally titled Oasis of the Zombies.

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There have been numerous revised titles over the years too, with lots of great VHS and DVD box art, including Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies, The Treasure of the Living Dead, The Oasis of the Living Dead, and The Walking Nazi Dead, among others.

As with most extremely low-budget schlocky horror films, the SFX and makeup are beyond ridiculous — unless you think zombies with oatmeal and rubber worms glued to their faces aren’t ridiculous — but that’s all part of the fun, right?

So, if you’re not too tired of talking about the zombie apocalypse or racist Nazis returning from the grave, then please have a look at Jess Franco’s Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies, which you’ll find streaming in our Horror section over on Night Flight Plus!

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.