Werewolves of the third reich starts off with a title card telling us it’s 1944. Probably a good idea, and the setting is beautiful. A brick bar that feels like it’s in a basement, with well it light glinting off the bottles. Our main character, Maddog, starts a fight with a Nazi which turns into a shoot out in the bar. They’re good at tension, but that Beretta his partner is holding his way out of place.
We passed the credits to chapter 1, which takes place at a prison camp where the women have more anachronistic hair. It’s an experiment camp, where they’re testing out chemicals and serums on the prisoners, making progress on their biological warfare efforts, even enough for a scientist to deliver a report to the least convincing Hitler I’ve ever seen.
Flashback to the execution of a traitor and his family, filled with CGI blood splatters from the same pack everybody else uses, and then a return to the scientist who talks about combining human DNA with wolves. I’m glad to finally hear something about wolves because we’re a half hour into this thing and I haven’t seen a single werewolf. That takes us to chapter 2, with a couple of our army men arguing. The junior officer is tossed into the back of an empty van with a group of guys headed for lock up. Stories in the van before we shift back over to the more interesting Nazi scientist, working in his lab. He needs a male and a female, according to his brain research. Meanwhile, the MP then get stopped by a blockage in the road… A suspicious stack of logs. It’s an ambush, but it does provide the prisoners with a chance to escape.
Meanwhile a mad scientist is cooking up a reanimator style serum to turn ordinary men into wolf hybrids. His first test subject is his guy his wife is having an affair with.
It’s just past an hour before we finally see this first werewolf. The thing is, it’s not really a werewolf as much as a monstrous mutant. I’ve always preferred Lon Cheney wolfmen to the American werewolf in London style, but this thing isn’t either. It’s more man than wolf. Practically hairless, with a fair looking appliance on his face. The cheating wife is so heartbroken that she injects herself with a serum to, just in time for the merry band of prisoners to find the installation and launch their own assault.
The good news is we finally get to see the werewolves strut their stuff… Bad news is there’s only 10 minutes left in the movie.
At the end of the day, this entire film comes off looking really cheap. It’s got that unflattering shot-on-video sheen to it, and they make a common mistake that low budget reductions fall into. When you do a period piece, everything has to look period. Not just the army uniforms, not just the Nazi uniforms (which are okay), but the haircuts, the beards, the house interiors, the photographs all of it. On a low budget production, it’s too easy for stuff to slip by or for “good enough” to be the standard of the day. These locations never feel genuine, and the characters just don’t look right. Some pinup hair and harsher make up would’ve gone along way on some of these characters… Even if it were out of place, it’s a sort of thing we expect to see… The sort of thing that conveys the era to us. The uniforms tend to be badly fitting and made from fabric that fails to convince… No matter how historically accurate they may actually be. And the fact that they don’t really commit to the werewolves, makes this a massive disappointment.
More a shame, because somebody had a clever idea, but not the skill to truly develop it. I don’t get to know this group of soldiers well enough… In fact, we really learned More about the mad scientist and his wife that we do about our heroes! I want these army guys to be people I can root for, a group of heroes that I want to revisit again and again, in sequels down the line. I think that’s something they could’ve accomplished… The templates are all there, but they failed to stick the landing and instead of becoming heroic arctypes, they really end up just being cardboard cut outs, and it’s a shame. Werewolves of The Third Reich is a hard pass both for werewolf lovers and fans of natziploitation.
Mad Scientist or science gone wrong
Girl is in love with Monster
Bad CGI (common, afterFX, same old blood packs)