Some things just go hand in hand: strawberries & champagne, peaches & cream (or Herb), peanut butter & bologna, and of course Nazis & zombies. What’s the deal with that? This is something I’ve wondered for a long time, and by that I mean a really long time. Seriously. I saw Shock Waves on VHS, like, 40 years ago.
I mean, one answer is obvious. Who wouldn’t want a zombie army to send into battle instead of using actual live soldiers? Okay, it’s not like that’s for humanitarian reasons. It’s for world domination. These are Nazi scientists. But like Styx said back in 1981, “Nothing ever goes as planned.” So führer not! Here’s a half dozen of my favorite Nazi Zombie Movies.
I wasn’t gonna include this at first as there’s nothing new here. Nazi scientists, human experimentation, zombie army, all stuff that’s been around for decades. Lotsa folks I know raved about this movie. I have yet to see what all the hoopla was about. What saves it are the effects. There are some cool transformation scenes and some respectable gore. Plus it’s one of the most recent items on this list.
#5 Revenge Of The Zombies
There are 3 possible focal points to movies in the Nazi Zombie sub-subgenre—the zombies, the mad and/or evil scientist, or both. Earlier movies like these this one focus mainly on the scientist, and the zombies are much more like the obedient voodoo zombies than they are like George Romero zombies. In some respects, Overlord becomes a kind of reworking of this very movie, a kind of Revenge Of The Zombies meets 28 Days Later.
#4 Zombie Lake
Ah, now we’re gettin’ somewheres. I’ve writ about this one before. It answers the age-old question, what’s a French village to do with the bodies of the Nazis they executed? Toss ’em in the local cursed lake, duh. It’ll be fine. What’s the worst that could happen? Oh sure the movie’s got its problems, but makes up in nekkid-idity what it lacks in acting, coherence, and special effects.
#3 Dead Snow
“A breath of fresh air” ain’t exactly a phrase you’d associate with zombie movies. Come to think of it, why doesn’t anyone address the reeking odor of decay that certainly has to surround the risen dead? I’m not gonna say Wirkola ripped Verbinski off directly, but come on—undead connected to ill-gotten treasure? Anyway, as zombie movies go, this one is definitely one of the most entertaining I’ve ever watched. I haven’t gotten to the sequel, but I’ve heard good things.
#2 Planet Terror
Okay, I’m not 100% sure this is in fact a Nazi Zombie movie. At some time, Tarantino said something about wanting to do a Nazi Zombie movie, and that idea apparently found its way (with Robert Rodriguez at the helm) to Planet Terror, and damn it that’s close enough for me. Military dudes in a secret, sinister deal for some lethal biochem? An accidentally released gas that turns people into deformed zombies? Rose McGowan with an assault rifle for a leg? Sure it might sound dumb when you explain it that way, but oh hell yeah! In a sense, Rodriguez doesn’t break much new ground here, but why should he if he’s going for (and nailing) that ol’ grindhouse look and feel?
#1 Shock Waves
Well before Zombie Lake, there was Shock Waves. A tourist boat starts sinking, so that passengers take to the life boats and end up on the nearest island where they meet a former SS Commander (Peter Cushing). Turns out he was in charge of the Death Corps—zombies who were intended to act as unkillable supersoldiers. Sadly they turned out to be impossible to control and turned on their own troops. Somehow nobody ever sees this coming. Still, this one had to top the list for a couple reasons. As far as I know, these are the first underwater zombies. Besides this, Zombie Lake, and Fulci’s infamous shark scene, there really aren’t a whole helluvalot of aquatic zombies out there. Second, death by sea urchin.
So yeah, a handfulla Nazi Zombie flicks. I wasn’t gonna include skull ratings, but these skulls seem particularly well suited for this post. Gotta favorite that’s not here? Well don’t stall-ag. Lemme know in the Comments. I won’t Gestapo you.