Tuesday, April 8, 2014

DVD Review: ANGRY NAZI ZOMBIES (2013)

ANGRY NAZI ZOMBIES (2013)
Label: Revolver Entertainment
Region Code: 1 NTSC
Duration: 89 Minutes 
Rating: Unrated 
Audio: English Dolby digital 2.0 
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen
Director: James Eaves Pat Higgins Alan Ronald
Cast: Tina Barnes, Paul Kelleher, Cy Henty


They say you shouldn't  judge a book by it's cover and perhaps the same can be said for movies but I was prepared to hate this one from the get-go. We have some uber generic DVD artwork, an uninspired title and yet another Nazi-zombies mash-up. The sub-genre has been around for decades with Shock Waves (1976), Zombie Lake (1981) and Treasure of the Living Dead (1982) but since the Norwegian import Dead Snow (2006) there seems to have been a massive (and mostly generic) resurgence of this particular brand of undead cinema. Upon close inspection my curiosity was peaked a bit when I discovered this is actually an anthology films comprised of three vignettes that occur during World War 2, oddly only one of the stories has an actual zombie Nazi which a bit misleading but I guess if gets your foot in the door. 

The first story from director Jim Eaves (Bane) Medal of Horror features a young British soldier George (David Wayman) on a suicide mission to rescue the daughter of a superior officer from a Nazi temptress named Jezebel (Tina Barnes). There's a bit of a back story about why the young George - who's just a typing clerk - was chosen for the mission, apparently George is quite a Lothario with the ladies. The segment starts off a bit meandering with a surprisingly steamy bit of burlesque then pretty much straight into our soldier infiltrating enemy territory on his quest and encountering some Nazi opposition with a decent chase through the forest. Then suddenly a zombified Red Baron arrives and kung fu battles an undead Japanese pilot. This bit is so out of left field and ridiculous - the sudden shift in tone was unexpected and awkward. The film climaxes with the expected face-off with Jezebel and a mechanized Nazi menace which is a very decent pay-off and turns out to be the best part of this particular story. The tone is uneven but I enjoyed this one quite a bit and I thought Tina Barnes was fantastic as the Nazi vixen - we needed more of her!

The second and best entry is Harriet's War from director Alan Ronald. Paranormal investigator Harriet Price (Lara Lemon) arrives in a sleepy little village to investigate a series of strange deaths wherein the victims bodies have had swastikas carved into their flesh. This one reminded me a bit of Sleepy Hollow as her character utilizes steam punk technology to sleuth the mystery aided by a young constable while getting the stink-eye from the local clergymen. Lara Lemon is pretty great as the paranormal investigator, definitely want to see more of this young woman in the future, quite captivating. Enjoyed the rural setting and characters village plus some neat supernatural elements, a lot of fun.

The final and least favorable entry is director Pat Higgins' Devils of the Blitz.wherein three members of a family seeking shelter from Nazi blitzkrieg are terrorized by pint-sized flesh eating demons. The family are comprised of a young woman named Ruth, her mother and a grandfather who are arguing about the recent actions of Rith's brother who is a deserter from the armed forces. Tensions are high and Grandpa is a bit of a douche, there's a lot of angsty turmoil between the three who must at the same time contend with the pint-sized monsters in the basement. The problem with this one are the creature effects which are quite awful and glimpsed only briefly, the cast however is quite good and turn in some layered performances.

The title and artwork are purposefully exploitative and misleading to a point but Angry Nazi Zombies is worth a rental or Netflix watch. The performances are strong throughout and the micro-budgeted tales do pack some punch with some decently executed ideas. The execution is not perfect but the cast is strong and the production values are decent and it's way better that suffering through any of the Deadtime Stories entries or (gulp) Creepshow III. 2.5 Outta 5

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