Joe’s Blog

Archive for August, 2012

Nazis at the Center of the Earth (2012)

August 6, 2012 6:15 am

HERE BE SPOILERS! You’ve been told…

Oh, The Asylum. It’s been far too long.

Having grown tired of ripping off blockbuster titles with cheap-jack copies (Grimm’s Snow White, The Almighty Thor) and finding ludicrous prefixes to the names of large animals (or combining the names of large animals) to create MEGA movies (Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, obviously), they have taken an interesting turn with their latest shit-fest, managing to sully the good work of someone who spent five years trying to make an interesting low budget film, whilst combining it with a Hollywood rip-off and the excesses of the long dormant Nazisploitation movies of the 70’s. And it truly is a new unwatchable low.

The title alone should tell you that The Asylum are desperately trying to ride the coat tails of Iron Sky, a film that piqued the interest of many a trash film fan a few years ago with a brilliant trailer and a marvelous concept (“Moon Nazis”), that sadly ran out of money and relied on donations from tinterweb geeks to get it finished. It’s a great achievement, managing to look a hundred times better than most Hollywood movies, and it’s good fun, with its tongue nestling nicely in its cheek without being a full-on spoof.

It’s also got a billion times more heart, soul, talent and balls than this. Trying to make a few bob convincing stupid people in video shops or skipping through the Sky EPG that your movie is connected to a big Hollywood film is one thing. Convincing those same people that this is “that new Nazi film everyone on Facebook is talking about” is a different kettle of fish, considering how hard the writer and director worked to get the bloody thing finished AND good. Sad fact is that given Iron Sky‘s wretched distribution, this is more likely to garner bigger audiences, as it will undoubtedly play endlessly on SyFy and be the subject of wonderful internet chatter about how god-awful it is. Which of course I’m perpetuating because I’m a massive hypocrite.

It’s actually more fun spotting the steals from other films than bothering to follow the plot. There’s a touch of The Thing (I wonder if the film had originally been planned to cash-in on the remake/prequel/big stinky poo but they thought better of it), a dash of Dead Snow, a soupcon of Boys From Brazil and lashings of ghastliness familiar to anyone who has ever seen an Italian Nazi camp movie.

One thing The Asylum has always had on its side, is that their films are almost watchable if you’re a few beers down with a group of mates. This is not. I’ve watched a lot of what could be deemed ‘reprehensible’ films in my time, but even I at one point thought “No, you’ve crossed a line there”. If by some bizarre quirk of fate I do choose to watch an Asylum film, I don’t expect to be laughing at the appalling acting one minute, then be witnessing a woman having her clothes ripped off by some undead Nazi, and then be left to be gang raped by a bunch of them while she screams her head off. (This is preceded by a shockingly offensive scene-lift from Schindler’s List!)

I also don’t expect to go from trying to work out how many times the same set can be used for different locations, to the sight of a villain performing an abortion on his girlfriend with a vacuum cleaner.

This is certainly the goriest Asylum film I’ve seen, and some of the effects are reasonably impressive. There’s a couple of good face-rippings, and an amusingly trashy brain operation.

Apparently there is some plot. It’s some nonsense about an Antarctic research base which happens to be right on top of a Nazi underground base where Josef Mengele is alive and well performing skin graft and organ transplant experiments to keep his henchmen alive (an idea which reminded me of the gag in Only Fools and Horses about Trigger’s road sweeping broom). Above them, Dr Jake Busey (huh?), who has ‘lost’ more students than another doctor in the history of Antarctic Research Bases, leads his charges into a big hole, looking for two colleagues snatched by a Nazi at the start of the film.

Yes, of course, Busey has been supplying Mengele with a succession of unwitting subjects for ten years in exchange for his life. Now, he’s decided he quite likes the sound of being led by them. Or does he? It’s hard to know, since he seems to change his mind every 5 minutes. Someone who definitely doesn’t is Dominique Swain (John Travolta’s daughter in Face/Off). Taken at the start of the film, Big Joe takes a bit of a fancy to her, so she dresses up in Nazi gear and plays along. As you do.

But wait… the worst is yet to come. Seriously, if you don’t want to know what all this is leading to stop reading now…

Right… are you ready?

Robot hitler

Remind you of anything? It did to me…

Robot nixon

NIXON’S BACK!!!!

So we get Mecha-Hitler finishing off the survivors, and finally launching his Death Germ Spaceship, with which he’s going to take over the world. The FX budget of about £4.50 gets blown here. They don’t even composite the actor playing Hitler into the suit for most of the shots (only close-ups) instead employing a CGI rendering that looks like a grey splodge with a moustache on it.

This is all so very wrong in so many ways. And I don’t mean that as an endorsement. If you’re even considering watching this, watch Iron Sky instead. Or at least first. The budgets aren’t wildly different, but the film quality is world’s apart.

I think it’s shameful The Asylum thought Iron Sky was fair game, and that they thought the excesses of something like Beast in Heat have a place in a supposedly ‘fun’ movie. It’s also pretty tragic that fair actors like Busey and Swain are reduced to appearing in gutter trash like this to make a buck.

Go back to what you do best Asylum, making mockbusters for the terminally stupid and drunk.