Oh Nazis, is there anywhere you won’t hide a secret base?
In the first part of our Secret Nazi Base Double Feature, Iron Sky aimed really, really high (with the help of a huge budget) and fell well short of the mark in all areas except visual effects. This week, Nazis at the Center of the Earth (2012) aimed low to medium-low (with no budget) and managed to put together a far more entertaining movie.
In Nazis at the Center of the Earth, everyone’s favorite group of heinous, murdering Germans are forced to retreat after their defeat in World War II. Where do they go? The title says it all. Sort of. They don’t really go to the center of the Earth, what with the magma and all. But they do find themselves a nice gigantic hollowed out area beneath Antarctica.
At the start of the film, we join a handful of German soldiers fighting it out with Allied forces while evil Nazi scientist Dr. Josef Mengele makes his escape from the field of battle with some sort of mysterious steampunky contraption.
Then, we cut to a group of scientists stationed at a research base at the bottom of the world. Research bases in Antarctica bear a strong resemblance to crappy office buildings. And if you were in any doubt, you know it’s Antarctica because when characters are outside, they are wearing medium-weight windbreakers and it’s slightly breezy.
The action opens with two characters stumbling upon a metal floor with a swastika on it outside of the base. It’s easy to see how no one noticed before as it is buried beneath two inches of fake snow, er, snow. One of these characters is played by Dominique Swain of Lolita “fame.” She…does her best.
They both are quickly vanished at the hands of some gas mask-wearing…wait for it…Nazis! Word of their disappearance gets back to the research base and a rescue mission is organized by the remaining poorly acted scientists.
There are a handful of them, but most don’t bear remembering. Except these.
The head scientist is played by Jake Busey of teeth fame. Go back and read that again. Jake Busey plays the lead scientist at an Antarctic science station. Yep.
Then we have hysterical female science person Silje Lagesen played by this Iggy Pop impersonator.
And then this guy. Now I am aware that in some parts of the United States it is possible to hire Hispanic gentlemen who congregate at Home Depots for a day of construction work. I did not know this was also done with actors. I’m not sure this guy has even heard of the English language as he has absolutely no knowledge of its pronunciation or cadence. His lack of discernible facial expressions may also bely a recent pre-production stroke.
Our intrepid young scientists repel into a hole, 1960s-Batman-turn-the-camera-sideways-style, and we soon find out that hiding out in the underground base is none other than evil Nazi scientist Dr. Josef Mengele, who’s been passing the years by making contributions to the pioneering science of cutting people’s faces off.
There’s some treacherous double-crossing and our scientists are all taken captive for inclusion in Mengele’s experiments with tissue transplantation, organ replacement, and life-extending cybernetics.
This is where we begin the art of line crossing. Violence is perpetrated, there are some great gross outs, and even a couple of well-exploited taboos, one of which left me laughing out loud and shaking my head in “yeah, that’s way over the line” giddiness.
The characters fight back blah blah blah and we end with a surprisingly tame finale. I don’t want to give away too much, but suffice it to say the Fuhrer makes an appearance. Or at least part of him does. And it is completely worth the price of admission.
Ok, I can’t not say it. Hitler-head robot, you guys.
Side note: I don’t know how the Nazis advance their technology so quickly. First they had a secret base on the moon and now they are able to mod a Nerf N-Strike Maverick Rev-6 to shoot actual laser blasts! I tried to get mine to shoot farther by taking a part out of the inside and the thing never worked right again.
The special effects are generally bad but budget-decent. I think the scientists’ Snow Cat vehicle was animated using the same software they used to make Reboot. But that’s ok, because they spend it later in the right places.
And the sets are as good as they can be seeing as they were stolen from outside the local Medieval Times.
I loved this movie! It’s everything a low-budget B movie should be. The plot is straightforward, it’s bad, it’s huge amounts of fun, and it made me want to share it with everyone I know. It’s everything Iron Sky should have been and could have been had it not been obsessed with inept Anti-American satire.
The only thing Nazis at the Center of the Earth is inept at is not being awesome.