Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies aka The Treasure of the Living Dead is a lurid 1981 exercise in tedium from the demented zoom lens of schlockmeister Jess Franco. Utilizing a great title and typically deceptive ad campaign Franco spins his usual incompetent but, at times, fun fare.
The film opens with two actresses (fresh from the “Tracy Adams School of Acting and Hair Perms”) stumbling along through the desert (I have no idea why) and coming across various Nazi war artifacts and relics before being dispatched by the titular zombies. After this promising start it’s pretty much all downhill, with Franco’s foot planted well and truly on the accelerator.
Cut to two dueling moustaches talking about six million dollars of gold, lost during the second world war, and a “myth” about “ghosts of soldiers standing guard over the treasure”. Before you know it, in a probable pique of moustachioed-envy, one character is shot dead and his mercenary accomplice goes in search of the gold. Elsewhere the murdered man’s son ends up traveling to Africa to find out what happened to his father. Before their paths inevitably cross there’s war flashback footage which is surprisingly well-shot (given that the same dozen soldiers are killed over and over and get work later as zombies), romance, stock footage and the usual heady Franco mix of bad dialogue and excessive zoom action.
Given Franco’s history it all seems rather tame and remarkably restrained. There’s hardly any nudity and minimal gore. Compared to some of his other films this is Franco-Lite.
The Nazi Zombies of the title comprise of either thrift-store skulls or embarrassed extras with goop on their faces. It has its moments but, unfortunately, they are few and far between.
DIRECTOR(S): Jess Franco | COUNTRY: France | YEAR 1981 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): Cheezy Flicks | RUNNING TIME: 82 minutes | ASPECT RATIO: 1.33:1 | REGION: All / NTSC | DISCS: 1