Nazis at the Centre of the Earth (2012)

Nazis at the Centre of the Earth (2012)

Dead…But Not Gone.

A team of researchers at an Antarctica station are abducted by a mysterious squad of masked storm troopers and taken hostage deep into a lost continent at the centre of the Earth. They find that, in the dying days of the Second World War, infamous Auschwitz butcher Dr Joseph Mengele fled Nazi Germany and set up a secret base. Here, they have been planning for the return of the Third Reich, developing highly advanced weapons and prolonging their lives through grotesque skin grafting techniques. With the addition of the knowledge of the research team to perfect the invasion plans, the Nazis hope to conquer the Earth.

 

The Asylum have done it again! With the recent release of Iron Sky, about a secret Nazi colony on the moon which plans to conquer Earth, the studio famous for its ‘mockbusters’ comes up with Nazis at the Centre of the Earth, a $200,000 cheapie about a secret Nazi colony in the centre of the Earth which plans to conquer the planet. Who said creativity in Hollywood was dead?

I’ve been hard on The Asylum for their ridiculous cashing in of higher profile films like Transmorphers and their never-ending slew of truly awful monsters films like Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus. Reality, logic, common sense and physics all get thrown out of the window with a ‘rapidly throw everything at the screen’ motto. They attempt to make their films look big budget but end up doing the exact opposite. But is the tide turning? For the first time, I can honestly say that I enjoyed an Asylum mockbuster better than the film it was supposed to be ripping off. Iron Sky promised a lot and looked fantastic, with some amazing set design for the advanced Nazi moon base and the simple fact that it had Nazis – from the moon! But it was all too daft to fully enjoy and it would have worked far better as a more serious sci-fi-horror film (if you could buy into the premise, which isn’t all as daft as it sounds).

Nazis at the Centre of the Earth takes the idea of a hidden colony of Nazis and runs with the ball like Iron Sky should have done. After a bit of a sluggish start to set characters up, once the group are captured by the Nazis and taken underground the film turns into one of those trashy Nazi Euro-horror sleaze fests of the 70s. In mean-spirited scenes, there are forced abortions, shower gang-rapes and un-anaesthetised surgery to name a few instances of brutality. Its unpleasant stuff, kind of out of character for The Asylum’s usual ‘cheap and cheerful’ approach but completely in synch with the character of the Nazis and what they did in real life. This is exactly the sort of perverse sadism that Iron Sky should have been revelling in: playing upon the Nazis’ reputation instead of turning them into clowns.

Nazis at the Centre of the Earth is still dogged by The Asylum’s usual cheap special effects. Outdoor scenes in the snow are in fact shot in studios in front of green screens which will convince no one watching of their authenticity. Vehicles, planes, spaceships and buildings look like computer game effects. Think of how much CGI George Lucas used in the Star Wars prequels and multiply that by ten (but subtract loads of points for the quality) and you’ll get the gist of how overworked the special effects guys must have been for this film. Pretty much everything you see except the human actors is computer-generated. Usually these effects have been to the detriment of the film but because everything that happens here is so completely off-beat and insane, there’s little time to even stop and think about how terrible everything looks.

The worst special effect is saved for one very special moment which happens two-thirds of the way in. I honestly can’t reveal anything else here except that this part comes out of nowhere and its one of the most brilliantly bonkers things I’ve ever seen. Words alone can’t explain how ridiculously amazing this moment is. It’s so crazy that it’s worth watching the film for on its own. It’s at this point where the film jumps the shark. Up until this point, it had all been dark and depressing but the gear shift around thirty-five minutes from the end is just totally out of the blue. Laser beams, robots that look like Autobots and Decepticons, flying Nazi spaceships and more all going hurtling around the screen.

Out of the cast, Jake Busey is the only real notable star and he looks almost bewildered as to what is going on, like he wondered in off another set. It’s the performance of Christopher Karl Johnson as Joseph Mengele which really menaces the screen. Though it seems like everything else around him is turning into a nightmarish acid trip, Johnson keeps the genuine fear factor throughout as the chilling Auschwitz butcher. Don’t get too attached to the rest of the cast either – the Nazis take good care of the majority of them.

 

Nazis at the Centre of the Earth is arguably The Asylum’s best film to date. By any criteria, it’s one of the worst films ever made. Ultra-camp, ultra-silly, utterly insane and completely unmissable. The last thirty-five minutes feature some of the most mind-bending low budget movie moments of all time. Stop reading and go and watch it. Love it or hate it, you’ll never forget it!

 

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