Saturday, 10 August 2013

Bloodstörm (Nazis at the Center of the Earth) - review

2012 (USA)

Contains mild spoilers.

I've seen some daft films in my time but nothing prepared me for Joseph Lawson's Antarctic Nazi exploitation craziness. Maybe if I'd take the time to research it a bit and discovered its US title I would have had more on an inkling I'd bought a first class ticket to crazytown and importantly I may have saved myself from all the cinematic lunacy as it's not a zombie film.

You see, the decaying Nazi foot soldiers aren't actually dead. They're nearly dead; they should be dead, but they're not. From the cover and title I'd kind of assumed another Dead Snow, and I'd even wondered if this was to be another Draugr film but Dr. Josef Mengele (Christopher Karl Johnson), the evil mad scientist and leader's minions are in fact patched up monstrosities kept alive with harvested flesh and organs taken from unsuspecting Antarctic researchers. They're foul looking and kind of behave for the most part like zombies but they're very much alive. A certain Nazi bigwig is kind of either brought back to life or reanimated with half an hour to go and I guess he could be a kind of zombie but I'd just be opening a big can of worms if I said he was, and in all honesty it's not something I care to do and I don't think he really is. In fact as the film was reaching it's truly off the scale bat-shit-crazy climax I was in two minds whether to actually write a review for my blog and it was only Paige Morgan (Dominique Swain) shouting 'bobble headed zombie Nazi son of a bitch' that swayed me to do so.

It all starts reasonably sane and safe, if seventy odd year old hidden Nazi kind-of-zombies capturing Antarctic research students to experiment on and harvest, can be deemed safe. Paige and Brian Moak (Trevor Kuhn) out experimenting on the ice are seized and taken to the Nazi secret underground bunker. After failing to check in, the rest of the Antarctic team lead by Dr. Lucas Moss (Joshua Michael Allen) set off to look for them only to find signs of a struggle and footprints leading off into a series of caverns that go deep under the ice.

It's a 'The Asylum' picture so it's in your face 'B' movie stuff with CG and blue-screen effects in keeping with the low budget direct to TV/DVD standard the studio is known for, and a script not afraid to jump off the deep end. As such I was ready for when the caverns lead to some kind of prehistoric (without dinosaurs, though I don't know why with everything else that happens) centre of the earth lost world. I was also ready when when the gang found the secret Nazi complex and the lead Antarctic scientist Dr. Adrian Reistad (Jake Busey) was outed as a Nazi sympathiser and explained how he was complicit helping them stay alive and preparing to take on the world and begin a fourth Reich.

I like a good bad film and so far so good. I'd left my brain at the door, ignored the dialogue, laughed at the narrative and cringed at some of the truly gratuitous gore sequences. It was daft, the pacing was all over the place but it was all interesting enough and the acting wasn't that bad. There was nothing I could have done to prepare me for where the film went for final thirty or so minutes though.

I imagine writer Paul Bales half way through writing a semi-serious screenplay about kind-of-zombie Nazis and lost worlds just suddenly said ah, fuck it and every idea screwed up under his desk was picked up, unfurled and added to the mix. But as much as I want to say it's the most painful, mind numbingly atrocious, absurd piece of cinematic fruitcake I've yet seen, I couldn't help but be blown away by the sheer ambition and audacity of it all. That someone took the screenplay, read it and exclaimed they would make it, on its own is breathtaking; that they actually did with seriousness, consistency and coherence is truly mind blowing.

One of the most ambitiously ludicrous films I've ever seen with very little to recommend it other than to say that you actually have, Bloodstörm is an ultimate 'B' movie. You can't help but admire everyone involved in getting this made but you also have to question how and why they did. I imagine after that first screening to friends and family there would have been a lot of awkward polite smiles and nods, and a lot of excuses to leave quickly. A bad film made kind of good only through the audacity to be as mad as a bag-of-cats, just not a zombie one, 4/10.


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