Nazis at the Center of the Earth (2012) – Review

3 1/2 Stars

Nazis at the Center of the Earth is a little more of an original outing for The Asylum. Usually they’re happy to rip off Hollywood with one of their mockbusters, and a case could be made that the inspiration here is Iron Sky, a Nazi’s from the moon flick. If Iron Sky is half as entertaining as this evil Nazi picture, then it will be a cult hit for sure. The idea behind this is the Nazi’s have survived in an underground bunker in Antarctica. When a modern day research team discover the Nazi hideout, they are taken hostage and used for horrific medical experimentation. The Nazi’s haven’t fared well in this underground world, their bodies are decaying and their doctor is working at his extremes to keep them alive. Now, armed with the knowledge of the research team they may be able to bring the Third Reich back to power.

If you think it sounds stupid, then you’re right, and that’s half the fun. This is a ridiculous plot and the filmmaker’s are aware, exploiting it around every corner. This is director Joseph Lawson’s first feature film and I hope The Asylum brings him back for more (maybe a sequel?). Aided by longtime Asylum cinematographer Alexander Yellen (who has done more than a few of the better Asylum flicks), Lawson is able to create a great b-movie atmosphere out of, at times, very little. Paul Bales’ (one of the three partner heads of The Asylum) script is full of entertaining camp, but can turn gross-out fun when necessary. There’s a lot of small touches to this script that are often left out of Asylum fare. Such as the setup of Jake Busey’s character as a research doctor with a spotty past. There’s also a lot of turncoating done here for survival, which is something that goes back to how the Nazi’s took power to begin with.

The special effects are great as well. This is probably due to Lawson coming from that field and serving as visual effects supervisor for many an Asylum picture, including this one. He’s also done stuff outside of the infamous indie studio, such as Caprica, Return to House on Haunted Hill, Lake Placid 2 and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Admittedly his Asylum effects are hit and miss depending on the picture, but this is right on – and gory to boot. People are skinned in this, there’s a shot of the Nazi doctor ripping off a guy’s face, and later we are shown his entire skinless body. The CGI effects are still a little rough going up against big budget stuff, but they are passable. The end CGI character is an absolute hoot though, this movie goes all out with a big campy and fun ending.

The other thing that holds this film up is the acting. Sure it’s not Oscar award winning, but it’s done with just the right amount of seriousness to hold you in this world. Outrageous, gory and chock full of camp, Nazis at the Center of the Earth is surely going down as my favorite true b-movie of 2012.

Director: Joseph J Lawson
Stars: Dominique Swain, Jake Busey, Josh Allen

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