"The 4th Reich" Heading Towards Production

In a time when our real life villains seem amorphous, impersonal, and complicated, many directors are turning to the Nazis as go-to, easily readable manifestations of evil. Even the horror genre is turning to Nazis as a trend villain, specifically Nazi Zombies. While this year's "Dead Snow" put the Nazi Zombies in the present day and played it for laughs, "The Fourth Reich", which enters production later this year, looks like a more straight ahead horror piece and is set in war-torn Europe during WWII. Here's the synopsis:

June 1944, after the glorious victory on D-day, the armies of the combined allied forces begin their long push to Berlin with the aim of bringing down Hitler and the despised Nazi regime of the Third Reich.

But buried deep in secret files German Reichstag, is the chilling reality of Hitler’s plan to create an eternal living hell, The 4th Reich.

Dr. Joseph Mengele, Hitler’s chief scientist, was charged with creating a new super army of invincible soldiers. A force that would never be beaten. His experiments and research at the death camps of Auschwitz, Belsen and Birkenau would create unspeakable evil.

A small brigade of soldiers from 3rd Infantry Division, under the command of the battle hardened Captain Bathurst embark on an ever darkening quest to liberate Europe. Fighting their way through the French countryside, villages and war ravaged towns. Each step discovering progressively strange battles and events until they reach an abandoned research facility where the true horror begins…

The director, Shaun Robert Smith, explored similar territory in his short film "The Soldier", and "The 4th Reich" is a bigger-budget expansion of the concept. Embedded below is the trailer for that short film, which can be found here.

"The 4th Reich" has been getting some press as pre-production rolls on and cast members are attached - the film's website is 4threichmovie.co.uk, and the Propaganda page will take you to some press links if you're interested. In interviews Smith talks about the origins of the idea, teases us with which genre legend cameos to be in the film he can and can't mention, and walks a thin line trying to distinguish his film from other horror flicks that used Nazis and which he calls "exploitative." Here are a few quotes from a choice interview.

‘The Soldier’ was once described as ‘A dark bloody slap to the face’ we intend ‘The 4th Reich’ to be ‘A twisted gory wallop in the nuts’...

The Nazis are more an allegory for all forms of control. A fear that cannot be drunk or ignored away as it is the potential for what is deemed the ‘evil’ in all of us, plus we are shooting in 3D which will add to the intensity...

Tom will appear in a scene with Simon Bamford (Hellraiser 1 & 2) and another horror legend who I can’t name just yet, but Tom Savini playing a Nazi will certainly whet the appetites of even the most avid horror fans...

I find the marketing ("Join the 4th Reich") pretty distasteful, but the film sounds like it could be great, so I hope production goes well and we get to see it next year.

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