Angry Nazi Zombies

| March 31, 2014

Well folks, there’s good news and bad news regarding Angry Nazi Zombies. First, the good news: Angry Nazi Zombies is not actually a full-length feature about angry Nazi zombies. It is actually an anthology of short micro budget horror films all set during World War II and shot in the UK, and originally released there as Battlefield Death Tales (the title under which you will find this film, as of this writing, on the Internet Movie Database). Now, the bad news in two parts: there is actually one angry Nazi zombie in the film, and the title is as likely to put off horror fans sick to death of zombies as it is to draw in people who still find the concept of “Nazi zombies” novel. And it really is too bad about that title, because a good number of horror fans are likely to skip this film entirely thinking it’s a knock-off of Dead Snow, but it has more than enough of interest to recommend it on its own merits to fans of super low-budget independent horror films.

The first entry, “Medal of Horror” by James Eaves, is easily the weakest segment. A young soldier (David Wayman) is sent on a suicide mission to seduce Jezebel (Tina Louise Barnes), the occult high priestess of the SS, and save a young woman (Jeanie Wishes) taken captive by German forces– discussing the reason the young man is chosen for this particular job would be spoiling the film’s modest surprises. The biggest problem with “Medal of Horror” is that it never establishes a coherent tone, veering wildly between serious scenes of grief and battle to nearly Troma-level hijinks. The lengthy fight scene between a Nazi zombie (the only one in the entire feature, making that plural title a tad suspicious) and a Japanese zombie makes no real sense and only serves to drag out the running time. “Medal of Horror” manages to reference Hellboy with a clockwork Nazi automaton, and then ends with a twist telegraphed well in advance. Unfortunately, as it’s first in line, it’s entirely possible that even those curious as to what this film is about will stick around for the rest.

Which would be a shame, as the second segment, “Harriet’s War” by Alan Ronald, is the highlight of the film and an enjoyable little mystery. Harriet Price (Lara Lemon), paranormal investigator, is summoned to a small town to investigate the murder of a young couple under mysterious circumstances. Except for PC Jones (Cy Henty), the locals are less than welcoming: the local priest Father Hyde (Julian Lamoral-Roberts) is particularly against Ms. Price influencing the people of his town with her talk of ghosts and the supernatural. Undeterred, Harriet and PC Jones investigate, using her box of special steampunk ghost-hunting equipment and both of their wits. The humor is perfectly balanced by the darker elements of the storyline here, and the characters of Harriet and PC Jones are well-played and endearing. The end of the short even suggests the possibility of more adventures for Ms. Price, which would be entirely welcome.

The final segment, “Devils of the Blitz” by Pat Higgins, takes place in London during the Blitz. Ruth (Jess-Luisa Flynn) lives with her mother and grandfather in the city. Ruth’s brother has been dishonorably discharged from service for desertion, but his last letter to Ruth and his mother reveals that something supernatural happened to him and is threatening to come to London as the war drags on. Grandfather wants nothing to do with his grandson and kicks Ruth out of the house, but when she returns just in time for that night’s air raid, Ruth discovers that the horror of the battlefield has come to London in more ways than one.

The budget of each short in Angry Nazi Zombies was clearly minuscule, and each one of them shows some seams as far as that goes. There are video issues with all three films, but different types and of different degrees, some of which may have come from the transition from PAL to NTSC standards. Others are clearly issues with low-quality digital video, this most clearly evident during the battle scenes that open “Devils of the Blitz.” However, charm and ingenuity can go a long way, so even the blatant anachronisms of the shorts can be overlooked thanks to solid writing and acting. Still, the creatures in “Devils of the Blitz” are a little too silly to be genuinely scary, although the concept behind the short is solid. Sound is mostly fine, although again in “Devils of the Blitz” it is clear that most of the sound in the film is taken directly from the in-camera microphone, which detracts from the dramatic impact of the film. Despite its (admittedly distracting) technical issues, Angry Nazi Zombies is surprisingly inventive and interesting, and well worth a look for fans of independent horror cinema.

Revolver Entertainment released Angry Nazi Zombies on DVD 18 February 2014 and VOD 25 March 2014.

About the Author:

Jason Coffman is a film writer living in Chicago. He is author of "The Unrepentant Cinephile," and a regular contributor to Daily Grindhouse and Film Monthly as well as a member of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle. He is co-director of the Chicago Cinema Society and proud owner of 35mm prints of Andy Milligan's "Guru, the Mad Monk." Follow his long-form film writing on Medium:

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