It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before, and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born.

For the curious, here are links to 20082009 (a bad year), 201020112012 (when we left the blog behind), 2013201420152016, 2017, and 2018.

After watching Overlord, I realized that we’d never watched Outpost for an Easter Zombie Movie Marathon. I’d never even reviewed it for any reason, despite having written up both sequels, Black Sun and Rise of the Spetsnaz. So, we called an audible and added it to the line-up, bumping Cargo (2017) to our final position. Now, without further ado, here’s a look at Steve Barker’s directorial debut, Outpost (2008).

Scottish couple Arabella Croft and Kiernan Parker mortgaged their Glasgow home in order to raise two hundred thousand pounds to finance Outpost, which was written by Rae Brunton after story credits to Parker, Brunton, and Barker. It worked out for the best once Sony Pictures bought the distribution rights for 1.2 million pounds and released it directly to video in the US in 2008.

Fresh off his star-making role in HBO’s Rome and a few months before taking on the role of Frank in Punisher: War Zone, Ray Stevenson takes the lead here as D.C., a retired Royal Marine Commando who runs mercenary squads on jobs in Eastern Europe. He is hired by a shady “Company” agent named Hunt (Julian Wadham) to take a team into an unnamed Eastern European no man’s land in order to protect him while he conducts a mineralogical survey. D.C. gathers a team (which includes Richard Brake from Rob Zombie’s 31, and one of my personal favorite actors, Michael Smiley – Spaced, Utopia, Luthor, Kill List, A Field in England, and more) and as the weather turns bad, they discover that Hunt is actually looking for an abandoned Nazi bunker out in the middle of nowhere.

Most of the filming took place in Scotland, making the most of the budget by keeping the action either in a small clearing in the woods or underground in cramped and dark sets. The special effects are also nicely actualized on the cheap, making the film look like it was much more expensive to make than it actually was. This really elevates the film once our Nazi zombies begin showing up.

Because what Hunt’s actually looking for is Nazi Occult Technology! Deep in the bunker is a machine that manipulates the Unified Field in a way that allows for the phase-shifting of undead Nazi soldiers in and out of reality. In theory, an entire undead Nazi army could just show up on the front lawn of the White House with this tech, if it had enough juice.

Or something like that. It’s all very vague and hand-wavy, but essentially what we need to know is that the pile of bodies our heroes find in the bunker are the physical remnants of the undead Nazis, who are actually trapped in the immediate vicinity, able to phase in and out of reality at will, but limited to a very tight location around the bunker. If Hunt can get the machine running, though, it will shut them down.

Somehow.

Again, it’s a high concept that it’s probably best not to think to closely about. What matters is it means we’ve got zombie Nazis who can’t be killed with a head shot and can also appear and disappear like bloodthirsty ghosts. Barker uses the shadows and nighttime settings to really get the most from his zombie appearances and stretch those effects dollars (pounds). The gore is light, but effective, and Barker really uses every trick in the book to amp up the tension to the inevitable zombie invasion of the bunker.

Stevenson goes into full hero-mode and makes this movie work. Most of the mercenaries get good moments here and there, but Brake and Smiley shine the brightest along with Paul Blair as the struggling-with-his-faith French Foreign Legionnaire. There’s a lot to like here and I’m actually a little surprised that the majority of reviews aren’t more enthusiastic. I loved this one from start to finish and while Barker’s return for Black Sun didn’t come together entirely in the end, this one-two-punch of films really impressed me. That’s why I was hoping for more from The Rezort, during this year’s marathon.



Outpost (DVD)

As war ravages Eastern Europe, a battle-hardened team of mercenaries sets off on a mission, facing an enemy powerful and evil enough to turn these violent, seemingly indestructible men into quivering victims. Surrounded by hostile forces, they fight their way to a half-century-old underground Nazi bunker, a place where soldiers were experimented on to create a super-human army. The mutilated remains of those soldiers still exist along with a ghastly discovery – a survivor. Then suddenly, the men are attacked by primeval, horrific forces, protecting another secret – a nightmare they and the entire world will now have to face.

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