Nazi Zombie Death Tales Movie Review
Written by Daniel Benson
DVD released by Safecracker Pictures
Written and directed by James Eaves, Alan Ronald and Pat Higgins
2012, 79 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 13th August 2012
David Wayman as George
Paul Kelleher as Major Kendricks
Tina Barnes as Jezebel
Julian Lamoral-Roberts as Father Hyde
Jess-Luisa Flynn as Ruth
Natalie Milner as Nurse Raven
Lara Lemon as Harriet Price
Jeanie Wishes as Daisy
Cy Henty as PC Jones
Paul Cousins as Graham
Sam Smith as The Red Baron
Liza Keast as Mary
Geoffrey Sleight as Arthur
I think I’ve cracked it. After many months of people telling me not to take a car to London, I finally gave in and took the train. Much more relaxing I have to say, and the lack of hassle finding an astronomically priced parking space was completely gone. And what event got me to give up the convenience of my motor and use public transport? Why, it was the latest anthology horror production from the ‘Death Tales’ boys: James Eaves, Alan Ronald and Pat Higgins. Their previous film, Bordello Death Tales, is a fine British production in the spirit of the portmanteau horror anthologies made famous by the legendary studio Amicus.
This second installment was originally named Battlefield Death Tales, fitting in nicely with the BDT initials of the first and reflecting the WWII theme of all the stories. Pressure from a particular sales outlet brought about a silly re-titling (that I wrote about here) to its current moniker Nazi Zombie Death Tales. Ironically, the same outlet that insisted on the title change then didn’t bother to pick it up for distribution. Nice.
The basement of the Phoenix Pub in London’s Cavendish Square was the setting for tonight’s premiere in front of an assorted audience of mainly cast and crew with a few industry people. And me. It’s a weird thing looking round the audience at one of these things and wondering who might be in the film. Even weirder when you see people who’ve been in other films and you can’t decide whether you know them because you know them, or because you’ve seen them on screen.
After the invited guests had arrived, the Death Tales directorial trio took to the stage to introduce the film and thank their collaborators. A few false starts later, caused by cranium-splittingly loud audio, and the film got immediately underway with James Eaves’ Medal of Horror segment. What is immediately evident from the opening minutes is how much the filmmaking has grown, both in production values and the overall professionalism. Eaves’ story is about a cowardly military office clerk sent to rescue a general’s daughter after almost causing her death by suicide. It’s a far cry and much more grown up than his story in Bordello, surprising from the man that proudly displayed and labeled a ‘fanny hammer’ and ‘gooch gouger’ as part of a serial killer’s arsenal. This segment did feel just a little too overlong for an anthology chapter, but makes up for it with some striking visuals and being probably the goriest of the three tales.
There’s a very obvious lack of any wraparound story in this Death Tales movie, which is a strange omission as the Madam Raven segues in Bordello do a nice job of pulling together all the stories into one flowing film. Here, we fade to black and start the next segment with no introduction save for the title card.
Hariet’s War threw me a bit of a curveball. I guess I should have paid more attention to the press information but seeing Cy Henty on screen (who’s previously appeared in every Pat Higgins production to date) made me think I was watching the story Higgins was responsible for. Not so, Alan Ronald is the filling in the NZDT sandwich, just as he was with Stitchgirl in BDT. Hariet’s War seems like Ronald’s own homage to Sleepy Hollow, as a female paranormal investigator descends on a quiet village to poke around some very peculiar goings on. Cy Henty, as to be expected, plays a blinder as the bumbling local bobby to Lara Lemon's rather stern lady detective.
Finally, Pat Higgins serves up Devils of the Blitz, a story that’s very Doctor Who-esque in its concept and starring Jess Luisa-Flynn as a girl trying to defend her family from both Nazi bombers and the titular devils. She was one of the stand-out performers in Higgins’ The Devil’s Music and she doesn’t disappoint here either. The story itself is classic Higgins, carrying most of the run-time on deftly written dialogue and featuring a creature design that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1980s Richard Band production. That’s old-school practical effects, people, none of your fancy CGI here.
As if a WWII-themed horror anthology wasn’t enough, we were treated post-film to a wartime burlesque act featuring the alluring curves of Miss Khandie Khisses (I’m guessing that’s a stage name). If my eyes weren’t spinning after the assault from the film, they certainly were after this tassle action. Jiggly.
A great evening only buggered up by my train being booked altogether too early for me to hang around afterwards and chat. Congrats Misters Eaves, Ronald, and Higgins; you’ve made another little cracker, so let’s see your newly honed skills put into some feature-length movies now.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screening.