2014 – Not Rated – Revolver
Starring Tina Barnes, Paul Kelleher, Cy Henty – Directed by Jim Eaves, Pat Higgins and Alan Ronald
Angry Nazi Zombies. There’s a title that puts a movie in your head, much like something such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre. However, you’d be lead slightly astray and if you’re like me, you thought maybe it was along the lines of Dead Snow or Shock Waves, but you’d be way off. It’s actually an anthology featuring three thirty minute segments all set in England during World War II. So, do each of the segments contain zombies? Ehh, kinda. The first segment does, the second is more of a ghost story and the last is a creature feature. Ok, so the title is slightly misleading that way, but marketable since zombies are what the kids consider to be hip and when you say Angry Nazi Zombies out loud, it’s sure to grab attention.
Nazis and zombies have always been like chocolate and peanut butter; they go well together and offers one a variety of horror themed elements to exploit. How well does Angry Nazi Zombies pull it off? Well, clearly that’s what we are going to talk about. Sheesh.
Unlike some of the previously mentioned anthologies, there is no narrative tale that binds these stories stories together. Instead, we dive head first into the segment “Medal of Horror,” which I have to admit is a clever name and sports a stylish title card ala brand label on a bottle of whiskey. A soldier named George who writes those, “sorry about your loss” letters watches a sexy burlesque dancer, played by real life burlesque dancer Jeanie Wishes (check her out on the Facebook). She falls in love with George and the two have a night of fiery, passionate love, but no love for us, since her bosom is always covered up by his hands. Lucky hands! But you know how it is; she starts getting all clingy and you have to fake your death and write a grief letter using your honed skills. As fate would have it, her pappy happens to be a General and knows about his dirty little lie and sends George on a suicide mission to rescue his daughter who has been kidnapped by Jezebel of the SS! Wow, what a string of coincidences. As a character, George is pretty unlikable, seeing as he’s a sniveling coward, bailing on those who need his help and whimpering along the way. In fact, I believe all of his battles, complete with the most unnecessary slo-mo, and his encounters with the undead (I think a whole two or three zombies), he manages to escape through dumb luck. He even defeats his villains through sheer, blind luck, but as fate as been following him and his coward ways, it ends on a “what goes around comes around” note and justifiably so. The short does jump in between serious and comedic tones, which can be jarring since it’s not well transitioned, but when it does either, it does them well.
Moving along, we’re thrown into the supernatural in “Harriet’s War.” A young, attractive paranormal investigator named Harriet (I hope you picked that up from the title) travels to the podunk village Chapelton to investigate a bizarre murder, where the victims are covered in carved swastikas. And you thought getting a rash was bad! Harriet is likable and has that dry, British charm we come to think of. Plus, she is mighty cute, have I mentioned that? The victim was a young man of a grieving housewife who also lost her husband in the war and his girlfriend disappeared during the murder. However during a town meeting, to which the priest of the village openly despises Harriet, she turns up covered in swastikas. Harriet teams up with the local constable in order to solve this crime, which will bring them back to where they started… Using all her gadgets that look like proto-Ghostbusters designs, she tracks down the supernatural element responsible for the killings. It’s quirky, it’s silly and I want to see it in syndication, dammit!
They certainly didn’t save the best for last. For the curtains, we have “Devils of the Blitz.” As Ruth and her mother take shelter from a bombing in their wicked step father’s home, we see cuts to Ruth’s brother Graham at war, who just lost his best friend in combat, hiding from a Nazi soldier. But you can’t hide forever, as Graham is found by the soldier and the two duke it out. But suddenly to his rescue, a weird demon puppet thing! What? I’m not kidding. This thing looks like it was bought last minute at a Halloween store. I know these are extremely low budget films, but… I had to pause the movie and busted out laughing. It makes the imp from Sorority Babes in the Slime Bowl-O-Rama look well made. Believe it or not, this little toy chews off Graham’s face and he wakes in a hospital dressed like Darkman, his whole face wrapped in bandages. He begins seeing visions of his dead friend who tells him to take the chainsaw that is for whatever reason there in that hospital (and time period) and go nuts! Meanwhile, Ruth now not only has to deal with that douche of a step dad, but a hand puppet imp as well!
Which leads us to following complaint. While the first two segments are very well acted and shot and have decent effects, this is where the third seems to suffer, although I will say it is acted very well. The story is quite boring and I found myself drifting in and out of attention, but maybe it was due to the fact that it looked like it was shot on Mini-DV, which I don’t have a problem with, but it was boring to look at and the conversations between the family was the same stuff you’ve heard before in a drama and the sound quality seems flat. All dialogue and sound effects sound at the same level and nothing sticks out about this segment. Until you see the rubber demon puppet. That guy is bananas.
You know, even if they stress the word “zombie” in the title, I’m glad there are barely any zombies in it. You can count the number of zombies in this film on one hand. Given that the film market is oversaturated with zombie films, Angry Nazi Zombies could have suffered heavily from the “zombie-itus” and became obscured in the diarreha sea of crappy direct to video zombie movies, so it was a good move to make it an anthology with different ideas of what zombies are, even if the quality of stories were a mixed bag. Anthologies have made a bit of a resurgence in the past few years after successes with films like The ABC’s of Death and V/H/S or even Trick ‘R’ Treat if we want to go a little earlier than that and it’s nice to see that they can still be done with strong stories.
The quality of the segments seems to deteriorate as the film goes on. While I felt the first film was the strongest and certainly the most beautifully shot, what with great angles and the bar scene is lit wonderfully. I felt the characters were well developed, as unlikable as George was and at first it chugs along (but not unbearably so), but when it picks up, it throws you into all kinds of well directed action. The second segment sort of plays out like a CW supernatural show and given how this segment ends, I wanted to tune in to the next episode. I feel it is the best acted of the three and has some humor in it and I caught myself chuckling more than a few times and it’s, for lack of a better word, fun. The third segment, however, feels like a missed opportunity. They set up this character with a tragic origin that leaves him disfigured and seeing the ghost of his dead best friend warning him of end times, so he grabs a chainsaw and goes on a demon killing rampage, but instead we get the story of his family bickering at thome. Why did we not get that other movie? It would have been so entertaining and probably the fan favorite of the three, but no.
Overall, you may want to goosestep over to your video store (or Amazon) and pick up a copy. especially if you are fan of low budget, indie cinema, like myself. Although the DVD is bare (no extras, no commentaries, nada), it helps support and it’s not a bad film. The theme of the anthology, Britain during WWII, was a brilliant touch and the fact that it isn’t flooded with your typical zombies, makes this a fresh film, both in the zombie genre and anthologies. Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear a puppet demon in my basement.
The Lost Highway puppet show features lumps of dough!