April 23, 2012

Nazis at the Center of the Earth (2012)... the addendum.

NATCOTE Director Joe Lawson sent us this comment/criticism of our review of his movie:

"I'm asking this in all honesty and without snark: Did you watch the movie? Because while you have done a fair review of The Asylum, I would love to hear an honest critique of the film itself... we learn to be better by knowing what works, what doesn't, perhaps even why. Your review provides none of that for the film itself so I find myself genuinely curious to know more than just your reaction to the producer's M.O.. Thanks, I look forward to your thoughts, the good, the bad and the honest! :-) Joe Lawson, Director, Nazis at the Center of the Earth"

He made a pretty great point; our review really was about the Producer's M.O. more than it was about the film itself. So in the interest of fairness, and because he definitely deserves comment on his film, here is an addendum of sorts to our NATCOTE review.

The idea of NATCOTE is an interesting one, and I suppose I didn't go into the plot because with Asylum films, plot tends not to matter much and ends up being totally ridiculous. Asylum movies are about camp and shock for the most part, much like the Troma films of old.

The plot involves group of researchers that discover Hitler's Third Reich hiding under the ice in Antarctica, are captured by the evil Nazi bastards, and forced to treat their various dermatological issues. They have bad skin. The Nazi's also want spare body parts and brains, so really, it's just Mengele doing what he's always done, but this time to usher in a new 1000 year Reich... That's all I got.

Daniel Craig's Dad as Herr Gandalf.
It's definitely an Asylum film, although it's one that is reasonably constrained by its restrictions; small crew, short time and little money. If Joe Lawson had the option of making this movie with more money to improve the bad CGI and was allowed to shoot this film on a more "serious" level, it wouldn't be bad at all. The Nazi's look good, and their motivation is interesting. The story itself is workable, and the direction isn't bad at all. It almost felt like your average genre flick until the tried and true Asylum antics reared their damn head, and brought it all back down to b-level. More budget and more time could have made this the first Asylum movie to not be an Asylum movie, if that makes any sense.

While the cheesy CGI is ever present, I will say that the practical FX work was pretty good. A lot of the skinless Nazis and other bloody FX shots were well done. Some of it even recalled horror movies of old. The Nazi's flying saucer (yes, really) looked pretty good too. Cyborg Hitler I can't budge on though. I mean, come on!

"You're all my Nazi's now!"

For those fans out there who do not like cheesy B-grade flicks, like myself, the original grade of DO NOT WANT still stands.

For everyone else... There is a decent movie here, buried underneath the trappings of its own B-movie schlock; as a b-movie aimed at the part of our fandom that loves the cheesiest of b-movies, Nazis at the Center of the Earth is somewhere around a solid C+. There are lots of people who will dig this for exactly what they think it is, and be surprised when it's better than they expected it to be. In this case, that's above average as b-movie's go, and it should please fans of all that which is schlocky.

This is probably why I don't review many movies along the lines of what The Asylum or Syfy offers us, because films like that are not my taste and they earn my venom outright. Most of the time, they deserve the venom.

In some cases though, what I see as dismissible would be welcomed with open arms by other Horror fans, and so I say nay to movies that might just make those other fans happy. Then again, B-movie fans wouldn't listen to my critique anyhow, as they already know that most cheesy movies are right up their alley.

So, there it is. That was the fair shake. Not my thing, but it is definitely the thing of others, and they should find it pretty enjoyable.

And for the record, this wasn't any sort of retraction or me bending to the whim of an ego-filled director who though his film was better than I made it out to be... on the contrary, Joe Lawson was fine with us liking or hating his movie. He just wanted some honest feedback about it either way, and he was really nice in asking for it, so who in the hell are we to say no to that? 

We're waiting for your next movie, Joe. Next time, more boobs please.

Maybe remake Lolita where she's a vampire, and add in something about karate and the zombie apocalypse... and lesbian stuff.


  1. You have earned my respect and appreciation. Thank you for taking the high road and doing the review even though you didn't have to... and I hope one day, God willing, you'll have the opportunity of reviewing what we're able to do with a bit more than 12 days of shoot and one month of VFX post! Thanks for your thoughts... and if I ever do develop any directorial megalomania, you have my absolute blessing in kicking the stuffing out of it! Cheers and keep on reviewing the good, the bad and the fugly! Joe Lawson

  2. As far as production is concerned, I have never put effort or heart into a project. I called in favors and cut corners like I never had before in order to boost production value on this project. The team we assembled cried and bled for this show and as a result, as far as Asylum projects go, this film stands alone. I'd love to produce the same project, with the same crew, with the same cast, with 10x the budget: we'd make something out of this world (or in this world? pun somewhere...).

  3. You made me appreciate b-grade movies a little bit more tonight Joe, by making me actually think a bit more instead of being so dismissive. You're definitely welcome.

    And Devin, I think I have to agree with you, it does stand alone. Of the Asylum movies I've seen, Nazis was the most "normal" if you will. I'll keep my eyes peeled for your next project.

  4. Seen it today the movie is funny

  5. As a fan of B-Movies myself, I have to say that last part where you say,

    "There are lots of people who will dig this for exactly what they think it is, and be surprised when it's better than they expected it to be."

    That rings so true. Asylum is one of my more favorite B-Movie companies, and as far as their usual fare goes, I found this was above-average and surprised me quite a bit. I can totally understand the casual movie-goer or movie fan not liking this kind of low budget stuff, but for those of us who are into it, this one was a really pleasant surprise.

    At least for me. But then again, my taste is pretty questionable, lol

    1. In a nut shell, this movie is bull and the actors are talentless fudgepackers

  6. I promise you Jeffrey, our taste is VERY questionable in most things too LOL

  7. I seriously shouldn't have watched this; well I didn't, but I begrudge the nearly ten minutes I spent on it.

  8. The super hitler reminded me of wolfenstine 3d wtf not bad tho

  9. Movie sucks ass and the actors are garbage movies from the 90 s had better special effects althoughsome of the female castare fairly attractivethere isn't a reasony u should waste 90 mins of ur life

  10. Oh come on you people. It's a low budget B movie with a flying nazi saucer and a zombie cyborg Hitler. With a title named "Nazis at the Center of the Earth", if you went in expecting anything other than campy low-budget crappy horror, you only have yourselves to blame. And as a fan of B movies, I use crappy as a compliment.

    Yes it's not for everyone of course, but for those of us who love wacky B movies, this stands amongst them and actually has some really good special effects. For the make up, at least.