ridiculous and absurd. "Mondo Cane" to modern men's eyes, looks like
this. And its subject wouldn’t have place even in the worst
sensationalist show of the worst regional TV. But if we try to imagine
the 1962 society and the dissemination
of information of the time we realize how "Mondo Cane" was surprising
and innovative, and why it has so much influence on the world of cinema.
This is a damn idea that seems to generate only bad movies. But we can
also see it as Karma revenge against Jess Franco. The Spanish director
use the basic idea of the bad "Le lac des morts vivants", of which he
wrote the screenplay and then abandon the project leaving it to Jean
Rollin, who was ashamed of the result for years. And with good reason.
To the disaster of this film must be added a series of criminal
versions, different and imaginative but basically all poor and the
inevitable series of legends that came from fragmentary and
contradictory sources. The original title is "La tumba de los muertos
vivientes" but apparently also "The Abime des Morts Vivants" to witness
two different versions for Spain and France. And so far so good, but in
the French one (then distributed in North America as "Oasis of the
Zombies") there are different actors. According to most reliable
sources it’s the same Franco who shot both, according to others
the Eurociné would take its hand on the movie. But above all,
for some Franco it would have to at all costs direct a version with
Lina Romay to please her, because excluded in the first moment by the
The French version also has a different soundtrack but both catch
scenes from " Giardini del diavolo" already plundered by "Convoi
de Filles” other film by Franco and Eurociné. And the mess
is almost complete. Two films almost different.
Despite all this background and given the period, we are in 1982, there
isn’t that Franco who put naked and sex scenes everywhere, making
us forget the narrative gaps, no, no, we only see the usual Lina Romay
dying in a fast topless filled with a really fake blood. It only
remains to focus on the plot, which to be fair Franco, in collaboration
with Ramon Llido, builds fine but only half, forgetting to complete the
There is an interesting incipit, because we are in the midst of a war
story, lost treasures, of greed, of love and revenge. It seems that
during a bloody clash between Nazis and the Allies took place in 1943
in Africa, the first have buried a treasure in the sand and the same
says a legend, now dead, are still guarding it.
The former chief of the Nazi commando, Colonel Kurt Meitzell, wants to
the hands on this treasure. He finds the chief of the Allies at the
time, who gives him the map and then the Nazi kills him. This
homicide lights the curiosity of his son named Robert, who lives in
London and leave for Africa in search of the treasure. To horror and
adventure adds the melodrama, because Robert also discovered to be the
grandson of a fallen sheik who had helped his father after the battle.
The daughter was in love with the soldier and had a son. Robert.
So far the story holds up, but the rest is poor. The action never grows
up and the zombies are really poor. Franco then loses lucidity along
the way, directing dimly.
The cast is composed apart the well known to Lina Romay by Eduardo
Fajardo also known for the roles of villain in the "Spaghetti Western"
(we see him also in "Django"), the faithful Antonio Mayans and Franco
in the usually cameo