Nazis At The Center Of The Earth (2012) review

Nazis At The Center Of The Earth posterDirector: Joseph J Lawson

Starring: Dominique Swain, Jake Busey, Joshua Allen, Christopher Johnson

Also known as: Bloodstorm (UK DVD)

“Come on, you bobble-headed zombie Nazi son of a bitch! Fick dich!” (Dr Paige Morgan, Nazis At The Center Of The Earth)

I’ve spoken in the past about The Asylum, the delightfully shameless film studio that have no qualms about constantly releasing low-budget rip-offs of popular films to trick confused mothers at video rental stores (Snakes On A Train, Paranormal Entity and Atlantic Rim spring to mind).

With said rental stores on the way out though, The Asylum have instead seemingly switched their focus to original movies, albeit completely ridiculous ones.

Recently they struck gold with Sharknado, the does-what-it-says-on-the-tin film that’s so bonkers it ended up trending on Twitter in the UK when it aired on SyFy. This one, though, may have taken things a little too far.

Dominique Swain may still be a looker, but she certainly ain't no actor
Dominique Swain may still be a looker, but she certainly ain’t no actor

Let me just explain the plot to you. For a bit of fun, as you read, try to imagine you’re a film executive and someone’s pitching this film to you. See how long you’d last until you’d say: “Let me stop you there chaps, we have a stringent anti-drugs policy at this studio and you’ve clearly fucked it many times over.”

The film opens with two scientists (Joshua Allen and ex-Lolita starlet Dominique Swain) drilling through the ice in Antartica. They soon come across a hidden tunnel which drops them hundreds of feet (so not quite to the ‘Center Of The Earth’ then) and lands them outside a massive underground complex.

This is no ordinary underground complex, not that they’re usually that ordinary anyway. It’s run by Nazis. Not modern day citizens who have decided to follow the Nazi way of life, mind you, but the actual same Nazis from the 1940s.

Living in their underground labs they’ve managed to find a way to stay alive all these years by grafting other people’s skin to their bodies. But they’re running out of said people. Hang on a minute, aren’t scientists people? Da da dummm.

Well, it gives a whole new meaning to facemask treatments
Well, it gives a whole new meaning to facemask treatments

Worried that their colleagues have gone missing, another group of scientists (led by Gary Busey’s son Jake) decide to go looking for them, eventually stumbling upon the tunnel themselves. Entering the German complex they meet Dr Josef Mengele.

If that name’s familiar to you then you’re probably already offended. If it isn’t, he’s the real-life ‘Angel of Death’ who supervised victim selection at Auschwitz and performed horrible experiments on its Jewish prisoners. Again, this wasn’t in a film, this was a real man who did those real things. And now he’s the villain in a shit sci-fi movie.

Clearly deciding Mengele’s presence alone isn’t questionable enough, the film continues to push the envelope. And when I say ‘push’ I mean ‘jam it into an orphan’s fragile face’.

The scientists are told they have to work with the Nazis and help them with their experiments, or be killed and have their skin become that year’s spring/summer line. Naturally, some object, and things get nasty.

What in the shit is this? Read on, I'll explain
What in the shit is this? Read on, I’ll explain

A warning: the next few paragraphs are particularly grisly. If you’re easily offended you might want to skip forward until you’re past the next screenshot.

Three of the girls are sent to the shower room (remember, under the supervision of the guy from Auschwitz). In a completely uncalled for scene, one of them is stripped and raped by six Nazi zombies.

Another reveals to Busey – who’s already agreed to help the Nazis – that she’s pregnant with his child. He apologises and punches her in the face. The next scene – and this is no word of a lie – sees her awake and screaming while Busey and a Nazi abort her foetus and take its stem cells.

Those stem cells are then used to kick off the film’s final, insane act, as Busey uses them to bring to life – and let me make sure I use the correct technical term here – a FUCKING MASSIVE ROBOT HITLER. That’s a giant mech with Hitler’s actual resurrected head attached.

Oh dear. This just won't do at all
Oh dear. This just won’t do at all

The thing that’s wrong with Nazis At The Centre Of The Earth is that it can’t decide which sort of horror film it is, and therefore it tries to be both. But it can’t be both, it doesn’t work.

You can’t have a robot Hitler firing laser beams at helicopters (bet those who skipped the spoilers are wondering where the fuck robot Hitler came from), but also have Josef fucking Mengele ordering sexual violence. Either it’s serious or it’s a piss-take, it can’t really be both.

Ultimately, the film suffers due to its insistence on controversial scenes. Its title and its studio’s heritage will be enough for most to come on board expecting silliness, and while they do eventually get it they have to sit through a number of extremely uncomfortable scenes to get there.

I’m torn, then. The final act with robo-Hitler is among the best work The Asylum has ever released, offering plenty of CGI-fuelled action at its silliest. But the second act is so poorly handled, so tonally wrong, so offensive, that I can’t recommend it as a must-watch.

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HOW CAN I SEE IT?
Nazis At The Center Of The Earth can be found in the UK under its alternative title, Bloodstorm. It’s dirt cheap, too – here’s the DVD and here’s the Blu-ray. As for the US version, here’s the DVD and here’s the Blu-ray.

Despite being called Bloodstorm in the UK, it’s shown occasionally on the UK’s SyFy channel under its main title.

SHOW ME THE TRAILER:

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