I am going to try a new column idea where I post my favorite top ten lists of several different micro horror sub-genres, the first of which will be my Top Ten Nazi Horror Movies. I must preface my lists by saying that they are not based on box office totals, critic’s reviews, or any other criteria other than my own personal opinion. Let me know if you guys would like to see more of these lists or just leave it at this one. Also let me know if you think something was left off that should have been on the list, I want to hear from you!
With this particular Top Ten list, I have to say that lately I’ve been in a Nazi horror movie mood which is the only reason why I started with this list. Instead of making this a top Nazi zombie list, I wanted to open up the choices a little bit more by making it a Nazi horror movie list. There were several very good films that wouldn’t have made it onto only a zombie list, so here goes.
Coming in at the bottom of my list, but by no means is a terrible movie. Directed by Alvin Rakoff, It stars George Kennedy, Richard Crenna, and Nick Mancuso. A deserted black freighter collides with a cruise ship, sinking it and leaving only a handful of survivors. Later the group of survivors finds a seemingly deserted ship and finds a way aboard; not knowing the ghostly black ship was the one that intentionally rammed their cruise ship. Once onboard, the group discover the ghost ship was once a Nazi prison ship and it has sailed the seas for years luring hapless victims aboard and killing them. The group must try to escape before they become the ghost ship’s next victims.
Death Ship is a pretty solid film with a great cast and a fun watch.
9. Outpost: Black Sun (2012)
Directed by Steve Barker, it stars Richard Coyle, Clive Russell, Michael Byrne, and Catherine Steadman. Helena is an investigator on the search for a Nazi war criminal, who in 1945, created an undead army of Nazi soldiers. A NATO special ops unit has been sent to Europe to stop a mysterious enemy that is killing everything in their path.
Helena, along with another Nazi expert, team up with the NATO soldiers to battle a battalion of Nazi zombie storm troopers. They must stop the march of this new undead enemy before the rise of the 4th Reich.
Outpost: Black Sun is an exciting action film with some very cool looking zombie Nazi soldiers. I really enjoyed this film and it had great production values and set design.
8. Shock Waves (1977)
Directed by Ken Wiederhorn, it stars Peter Cushing, Brooke Adams, Fred Buch, Jack Davidson, and John Carradine. In the dark days of World War II, the Nazi High Command ordered its scientists to create a top secret race of indestructible zombie storm troopers – un-living, unfeeling, unstoppable monstrosities that killed with their bare hands. They were known as The Death Corps. No member of this horrific SS unit was ever captured by Allied Forces – and, somewhere off the coast of Florida they have survived.
Shock Waves is another fun film considered by many to be a cult classic. Peter Cushing turns in a fine performance as the SS Commander who once was in charge of the zombie unit until he defected to Florida to live after the war. The film is a little cheesy, but that’s part of its charm.
7. The Bunker (2001)
Directed by Rob Green, it stars Jason Flemyng, Andrew Tiernan, Christopher Fairbank, Simon Kunz, Andrew Lee Potts, and John Carlisle. In late 1944, the remnants of a platoon of German Panzergrenadiers are caught in an ambush by American troops. In their retreat, they find a bunker, manned by an old man and a young boy. Left to defend the bunker and presuming themselves surrounded by the US forces which ambushed them, they are left by Area Command “to wait until relieved”.
As the night proceeds, strange tunnels are found beneath the bunker and the situation in the bunker becomes increasingly tense. Convinced that the enemy has worked their way into the tunnels, a terrible game of cat and mouse develops. Stalked by shadowy figures, it becomes increasingly unclear where their fantasies end and the danger begins.
As the paranoia builds up, Schenke decides to take the cleansing of traitors and cowards upon himself.
The Bunker is yet another Nazi horror film that has a cool premise and keeps you into the film until the end. You never know what is real and what isn’t, it keeps you guessing the whole time.
Directed by Steve Barker, it stars Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Richard Brake, Paul Blair, and Brett Fancy. Outpost follows a crack team of battle-hardened mercenaries on a routine mission to protect a mysterious businessman through the no-man’s land of war-torn Eastern Europe. However, after he leads them to a long forgotten, underground outpost, they unwittingly reawaken a lurking terror that soon changes their mission from one of safe-guarding, to one of survival, as they desperately battle an enemy even they’ve never faced before.
Outpost was much better than I was expecting, I was caught off guard by this film. The mood, story, acting, and production design were way above average for this type of film. The Nazi zombies are menacing, with good makeup effects. It’s a great British film worthy of inclusion on this list.
Directed by Bryan Singer, it stars Brad Renfro, Ian McKellen, Joshua Jackson, Bruce Davison, Elias Koteas, David Schwimmer, and Heather McComb. Apt Pupil is based on a novella by Stephen King. High school student Todd Bowden (Renfro) discovers fugitive Nazi war criminal Kurt Dussander (McKellen) living in his neighborhood under the pseudonym Arthur Denker. Bowden, obsessed with Nazism and acts of the Holocaust, persuades Dussander to share his stories, and their relationship stirs malice in each of them.
There is something chilling about the story in this adaptation of the King novella. The performances by McKellen and Renfro are amazing, especially when young Bowden begins his descent into madness as he becomes infatuated with Nazi practices.
Directed by Joel Schumacher, it stars Henry Cavill, Dominic Purcell, Emma Booth, Michael Fassbender, and Shea Whigham. A man and his brother on a mission of revenge become trapped in a harrowing occult experiment dating back to the Third Reich.
Blood Creek is a very engaging film about Nazi occultism, with a strong story and good performances by all involved. It has a cool scene involving a reanimated horse that blew me away. I thoroughly enjoyed Blood Creek, definitely worth a watch.
Directed by Guillermo del Toro, it stars Ron Perlman, John Hurt, Selma Blair, Rupert Evans, Karel Roden, Jeffrey Tambor, and Doug Jones. A demon, raised from infancy after being conjured by and rescued from the Nazis, grows up to become a defender against the forces of darkness.
Hellboy is one of those rare films that mix Nazi mysticism, black magic, supernatural elements, and superheroes all together at the same time. It is an exceptional film from the mind of comic writer Mike Mignola and director del Toro. It has all the elements that make a great action/horror movie great – evil Nazi’s, creatures galore, state-of-the-art special effects, and one hell of a cast, led by Ron Perlman. It doesn’t get much better than a movie like this.
Directed by Michael Mann, it stars Scott Glenn, Jürgen Prochnow, Alberta Watson, Robert Prosky, Ian McKellen, and Gabriel Byrne. Nazi soldiers are sent to guard a citadel (the Keep of the title) in the Romanian mountains. Greedy members of the German army unwittingly unleash a powerful demon when they pry off what they think are silver crosses inside the Keep’s walls, and are subsequently killed. A detachment of SS soldiers are sent in to investigate the soldier’s deaths which they believe to be the work of partisans. What the SS discover is a force of pure evil inside the walls of the Keep that will stop at nothing to escape.
The Keep is a film where either you like it or hate it, there’s not much in-between. I loved the stylish direction by Michael Mann which features gothic photography and a wonderful 80’s synth soundtrack by Tangerine Dream. Production design is wonderfully creepy and authentic looking. The demon is fairly interesting looking and not too cheesy. The incredible cast makes this film rise above its genre trappings. It has been described as style over substance, but I do not agree, it’s an example of early 80’s horror films at their best.
Directed by Tommy Wirkola, it stars Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Lasse Valdal, Evy Kasseth Røsten, and Jeppe Laursen. A group of Norwegian students on Easter vacation head up to a snowy mountain cabin where they encounter a platoon of Nazi zombies searching for their treasure.
Dead Snow is one of the best films this sub-sub-genre has to offer. This Norwegian film is a great mix of comedy and horror reminiscent of Evil Dead 2, and full of great gore gags. If you watch no other movie of this type, watch Dead Snow.
Honorable Mention: The Flesh Eaters (1964), The Frozen Dead (1966), War of the Dead (2011), Oasis of the Zombies (1982), The Devil’s Rock (2011)