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Review: Reichsfuhrer-SS

10411747_835771743161374_8355543799380349699_nNazis. People seem to love them for some reason unbeknownst to me seeing how they are one of the worst perpetrators of genocide in world history. Nazi zombies. Nazi slashers. Nazi ghosts. Despite World War II being over for almost 70 years now, people love seeing the stone cold assassins return as the villains to send a particularly realistic shiver down their spine. When trying to analyze fear or the route of a nasty problem, it’s often better to start your search at the source because that’s usually where the seeds of evil began. The same can be said for Reichsfuhrer-SS and the character it centers around.

Reichsfuhrer-SS is written and directed by David B. Stewart III with cinematographer and executive producer John Martineau. Both gentlemen also appear in the movie alongside Angelina Leigh, Chuck Maher, Martin Slamon, Tina Krause, Tammy Jean, Joseph Barford, Anthony Cerrano, Kelly Weston, Joe Ronca and Carmela Hayslett.

“The Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler was Adolf Hitler’s most loyal henchman and one of the most feared men of WWII. Surprisingly, he had only one problem… He had no stomach for murder! When the Reichsfuhrer-SS becomes physically ill during the execution of Russian POW’s on the Eastern front in 1941, ruthless, careerist SS General Hans Shellenberg rats Himmler out to the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler. Hitler tests his loyal Heinrich, forcing him to commit the murder of a Polish prisoner named Danuta with his own hands… thus awakening the Monster within him that will horrify the world for generations to come! Himmler may please his Fuhrer in 1941, but what awaits him after he commits suicide in 1945 is nothing less than Hell itself. See what happens when Himmler meets Erebus, the gatekeeper of Hell! See the nightmarish suffering that awaits the infamous Nazi leader who murdered millions!”

I think it’s important to start the review section of this article by saying that Reichsfuhrer-SS is not really what most would consider a horror movie. Sure, there are some gory moments, some “what the fuck?” moments and of course there’s the gatekeeper of Hell, but I think it’s a safe bet to say that this title falls into a different category. It’s more of a historical psychological drama with slight horror and science fiction elements thrown in. This doesn’t subtract from the quality of the movie by any means, but I have to make sure that you guys know what you’re in for should you choose to rent or buy this title.

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With that said, Reichsfuhrer-SS is a solid piece of independent cinema. The cinematography is top notch and this will automatically set it apart from other films in its historical category. Anyone can produce a movie about a historic figure, but few people in the business we’re in can make their product look like it had a much larger budget. This is why I always champion independent features that are void of megastars appearing within. It means that the film’s creators took more interest in making their product look good than in getting a celebrity to sign on for a few lines. Awesome cinematography and the fact that Reichsfuhrer-SS is a high quality production is the first thing that tells you it’s maybe worth a look.

I also liked that the screenwriter, David B. Stewart III, took a more difficult route with the script and made the film about Heinrich Himmler. It would have been so easy just to make the story about Hitler or Josef Mengele, the two most recognizable faces of the Nazi party. Instead, he took the time to do a little extra research and fleshed out a character that World War II enthusiasts may not be too familiar with. I think that was an extremely wise decision and will, again, set Reichsfuhrer-SS apart from other titles in its categories. I’m sure some creative liberties were taken in developing this particular story of Himmler’s career, but it was still fascinating to imagine parts of the scenes unfolding on screen to have happened in the past.

It’s clear to me that the filmmakers put a lot of extra effort in general into making Reichsfuhrer-SS the best that it can be. The movie manages to steer itself away from the traditional independent film pitfalls and succeeds in all areas of production. The digitally added ashes during the Hell scenes, the extremely professional gore effects, the extremely talented actors, the continuity in keeping the entire film looking like it happened in the 1940s, exquisite backing scores… The hard work is obvious to me and I’m glad that this title has distribution so other people can admire the combined efforts of the cast and crew, too. Literally the only negative criticisms I have in my notes is that not all of the characters speak with a German accent and that I would have liked to see a little bit more of the Himmler in Hell scenes.

And this is all, honestly, a little surprising to me. Generally, I’m bored to death when it comes to movies about Nazis, previous wars or anything historical in general. I half expected to have to slaughter Reichsfuhrer-SS with my review, but I actually ended up walking away from my viewing with a lot of positive things to say. Mostly, I’m trying to get at the fact that this movie was able to keep me interested despite it being far outside of my comfort zone and personal taste. That means if I like it, then you’ll like it whether or not you’re a history buff. That’s what you should take away from this review: Reichsfuhrer-SS doesn’t fit the standard horror film mold, but it’ll damn sure keep you watching with a variety of other tactics!

Reichsfuhrer-SS is a war game of trippy elements mixed with gut wrenching suspense. It’s a sleek look into the dark mind of one of the world’s biggest mad-men. Bloody, gratifying and innovative; Crazy, Hellish and it takes a lot of risks that will pay off for its target audience. Reviewing it on its own merit and not just on its slight contributions to the genres of horror and science fiction, I’m going to rate Reichsfuhrer-SS a 7.5 out of 10. Although, I would highly recommend watching the teaser trailer before deciding if this is the right title for you!

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Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)