Wednesday, 25 February 2015


With the incredible-looking Sky Sharks on the way, the success of The Woman In Black 2 and the recent news that Hayden Christensen has joined the cast of upcoming WWII horror movie Untöt, it seems the current and pretty damn great trend for mashing horror and war films together is still going strong. 
So, with a wealth of weird Wartime horrors out there, which are worth your time?
Read on…

Michael J Bassett, 2002

I’ll be honest, this isn’t a great film, mainly down to the script. The story, following a group of British soldiers in the First World War who attack a german trench only to find the occupants already slaughtered, sounds good, but unfortunately is let down in execution. However, what it does have is a gritty, grimy and frighteningly realistic take on the trenches during the most catastrophic loss of human life in modern history. You can practically taste the mud and dirt plastered over everything and the smell the bitter blood in the air. 
Propelled along by an eclectic (but also electric) cast, including Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell and motion-capture monster master Andy Serkis, the movie enthrals through the manner in which it makes the horrors of war frighteningly real. Serkis is a frightening real maniac, but even he fails to terrify as much as the grimly realistic trenches themselves. Well worth your time.

Steve Barker, 2007

This British film has inspired a budding franchise, with two well-received sequels already released.
Steve Barker’s original flick follows a group of mercenaries as they embark on a mission for a wealthy businessman to a fabled Nazi bunker in search of a mysterious artefact that the SS used as a part of bizarre occult rituals.
A low-fi, low-budget grim and grimy straight-faced horror flick, this works precisely because its otherworldly, malevolent and undead antagonists are genuinely scary. With a small cast, steady assured direction and a focused, intense storyline, this one does the job. It isn’t spectacular but it is imaginative and, most importantly, disturbing.

Richard Raaphorst, 2013

Sometimes a film comes along that totally flies in the face of expectation and succeeds all the more because of it. Frankenstein's Army treats the subject of Russian troops invading a Nazi base and recording it for propaganda purposes as a crazy, creature feature thrill ride and it totally works.
The creature design work is amazing and as the film hits its most outlandish moments the whole movie feels a lot like a live action take on a first person video game a la Doom or Quake. With that it becomes one of the coolest found footage flicks of the last decade.
The design work on these nightmarish creatures is totally jaw-dropping (the effects work to bring them to life is pretty damn fantastic too) and the script manages to accommodate these monsters without it ever feeling forced. A top film and one that is more than a little deserving of a sequel.

Su-Chang Kong, 2004

I’ve long been a fan of Asian horror, and R-Point offers something different to the seemingly endless stream of long-haired vengeful female spirits that have come to define Far Eastern cinema. This Korean horror film is set during the Vietnam war and focuses on a small piece of land with significant tactical value to various military forces through the ages. However, the land has seemingly become cursed, with numerous armed forces entering and disappearing. After a number of radio transmissions emanate from the area from seemingly lost soldiers, a battalion is sent in to investigate.
This is a fantastically atmospheric film, combining the almost otherworldly jungle of Apocalypse Now with the decidedly otherworldly dreamlike woodland of The Blair Witch Project. The film is legitimately creepy and beautifully shot by Kong. It is quite rightly held in very high esteem by critics and I completely echo that view. If you haven’t seen R-Point, you really should do so. It is fantastic.

Tommy Wirkola, 2009

Never before have I been struck with a similarity to the classic horror-comedy hit of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead as strongly as I was when I watched the sheer awesome that is Dead Snow. I’ve heard amazing things about the sequel (which I’ve yet to see), but this Norwegian splatter flick knocked my socks off. 
Taking the ridiculous premise of medical students on a ski holiday who accidentally awaken undead Nazis frozen in the frost and running with it, Tommy Wirkola’s kickass grossout gore comedy is a tour de force of blood, guts and gags. It is worth the price of admission purely for the intestine abseiling scene!
This a real must-see horror-comedy hybrid, up there with Evil Dead 2, Peter Jackson’s Braindead/Deadalive and Edgar Wright’s Shawn of the Dead.

Michael Mann, 1983

Michael Mann directs a Lovecraftian Nazi horror movie starring Gabriel Byrne, Scott Glenn, Jürgen Prochnow and Ian McKellan.

Read that sentence again.

How can this film be anything BUT a massive winner? I’ve heard complaints that the sound mix has become a barrier to enjoyment for some as Tangerine Dream’s (admittedly over-loud) soundtrack can stifle some scenes but the plot (based on a novel by F. Paul Wilson) , some sterling performances by a world-class cast and Mann’s trademark icy cool, intense direction make this an all-time classic.
It is NOTORIOUSLY difficult to track down to watch (mainly due to the fact that it hasn't had a DVD release yet!) but can be watched streaming from Amazon. Do it, immediately.

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