BATTLEFIELD DEATH TALES (REVIEW)
previously titled NAZI ZOMBIE DEATH TALES
Dir. James Eaves, Pat Higgins, Alan Ronald
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
As the film opens up, we know that the next 90 minutes are not going to be serious.
DEAR HISTORY, WE HAVE TAKEN A FEW LIBERTIES - SORRY LOVE, JIM, AL AND PAT XXX
And as the titles close we’re welcomed to a striptease and intrigue. BOOM! How to begin a series of 3 short films encased in a title of BATTLEFIELD DEATH TALES.
The first film, ‘Medal of Horror’ directed by James Eaves, is the most story laden one of the bunch. A Lothario who fakes his own death is forced to enter the frontline to rescue the woman whom thought him dead, but in his path he comes across a Nazi pilot, a robot Nazi controlled by a female officer and a ghost of his short past that proves to be the end of him.
For a short that has a serious tone throughout when we finally meet the Nazi pilot it turns into a huge joke featuring a Japanese warrior who comes out of nowhere to induce a Benny Hill styled fight scene. While this tongue in cheek humour is maintained throughout all of the shorts, it just has no place in what is scripted as a serious piece and by the time that our ‘hero’ escapes and meets the end, we cannot help but just feel like MoH is just a mixed bag of feelings that just quite don’t gel together. The film could have been half the length, or at least split into two different films using the ideas but together, they just don’t flow like they we intended.
Secondly we have ‘Harriet’s War’ and if you can forget the obnoxious leads annoying character is actually a much better film. More of a ghost story than one of Zombies, Harriet goes in search of the spiritual murderer of a couple in Chappleton.
Laced with very dark humour (“they even cut into his soul” as the camera zooms out to show a swastika carved inside the corpses foot) and genuinely chilling scenes with a very gripping story, HW is a small hidden gem.
Finally, ‘Devils of the Blitz’ is where BATTLEFIELD DEATH TALES really grows its own. Out in the battlefield, we hear the story of one soldier’s tale read back from a letter to his wife back home. As piece by piece we hear the story, the true demons of War begin to show. Back home, she fights an unforgiving grandfather while comforting her mother, three generations hiding against the blitz. But even on the home front, nobody is safe. As the mother recalls a story from The Great War in which Angels saved our forces, she insists that there may be something else at force this time.
Demons attack the soldier on the frontline ripping skin and showering blood and soon it is only a matter of time before the invasion hits home as the blitz is a cover for the demons. Charming in its own right and the better of the three works, DotB has a Gremlins/Critters feel to it with descent special effects on the small budget the film was made with.
The problem with the film is that the acting, during the most part, is awful. While this plays well for the last feature, MoH is slow and painful, almost as much as watching the Nazi Ice-Queen die her violent bloody death.
Overall though, for an amateur production BATTLEFIELD DEATH TALES (or tales of Death that features a couple of Zombies, a ghost and a few grizzly Demons) has some entertainment value. If you're still curious, give it a whirl after you've had a drink and it's gone dark.