Outpost DVD review

Lots of zombies, some Nazis, and the brand new Punisher too. But does it all make a decent film?

Better than you might expect: it's Outpost...

The world of Nazi zombies is certainly not one of cinema’s most explored genres., with only Ken Wiederhorn’s entertaining Shock Waves and a few bad Eurotrash productions coming to mind.  Usually Nazis turn up in exploitation pictures (Ilsa), action films (Raiders of the Lost Ark), old fashioned war films and the odd comedy (Russ Meyer’s Martin Boormann).  So it’s nice to see history most despised villains crop up in a brand new production.

Hunt (Julian Wadham) is a man of science with an agenda.  His agenda is to locate a secret Nazi bunker in the wilds of war torn Eastern Europe.  He recruits veteran mercenary DC (Ray Stevenson – soon to be the new Punisher) and his band of world weary soldiers of fortune to assist him.  Hunt refuses to divulge his true intentions and as mercenaries are out ‘for the money’ no real questions are asked.  

Finding the bunker in a dense forest, they break open the doors and step inside.  The bunker as you would expect is a labyrinth of tunnels and rooms.  It is also pitch black due to the generator dying a really long time ago at the end of the Second World War.  One of DC’s men locates the electrical supply and soon has the power running.  Unfortunately for them they stumble across what seems to be a group of dead men.  However, one of them is alive.

The survivor doesn’t speak, doesn’t move and just stares into space.  This is to the annoyance of several of the men who scream obscenities at him to get a reaction.  The survivor is possibly one of the creepiest guys I have seen on screen for quite some time.  The actor portraying the character known as ‘The Breather’ is a fellow called Johnny Meres.  This guy has serious creepy presence and should have a nice little horror career going if he so chooses.  Then all hell breaks loose….

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It turns out that as we all know, Hitler’s regime liked to fiddle with the occult and have designed a machine to harness all kinds of weird supernatural phenomena.  This is what Hunt wants and to be fair he is really stupid if he thinks ‘The Breather’ and his horde of zombies will let him have it.  The zombies are kitted out in SS uniforms and are generally quite unsettling and kill in a selection of unpleasant ways, including various slashings and a nice little eye gouge.  Their presence reminds me a little of Blake and his men from John Carpenter’s The Fog with the swirling mist and their sudden appearances. 

Like the very best of Carpenter, Outpost is shot in a full widescreen scope ratio and has some simply brilliant almost monochromic photography.  The sound effects and music add to a brilliant atmosphere and it’s nice to see that director Steve Barker isn’t afraid to build the story up and get us to actually like the characters.  You know they will be killed off, but it is a change to actually feel sorry for a couple of them.  That doesn’t happen very often in horror films these days.

Outpost at times is quite gory but it is really an old fashioned ghost story and a very well done one at that.  Recommended for all horror fans and after watching it, search out the afore mentioned Shockwaves with Peter Cushing, which is an underrated little gem.

Extras

Sony have put together a nice little package of special features.  They include a commentary, some behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes including an alternative ending/opening and some trailers.  One of the trailers is Zombie Strippers with Jenna Jameson and Robert Englund, a film that looks stupidly entertaining…!

Film:

3 stars
Extras:

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2 stars

Starring Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Richard Brake, Johnny Meres    Directed by Steve BarkerDistributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

 

Rating:

4 out of 5