Nazis make the ultimate movie villains. (You can bet that they’re going to be the villains in the upcoming Captain America movie.) In addition to their legacy of genocide and evil, they’ve got those wicked cool outfits and outrageously sinister accents. But since the Third Reich is long gone (yay, us!), most of the Nazi movies these days are either set back during World War II or dedicated to Nazi zombies and Nazi ghosts. The latter two are just fine with me, because a Nazi zombie ups the ante to a whole other level. Sure, a ravenous undead housewife is going to be a bit scary, but she pales in comparison to some SS officer with half of his face missing.
In this article, we’ll be looking at Nazi zombie movies and Nazi ghost movies (see Top Ten Ghost Movies for more information about movies with ghosts.), with an emphasis on the former. From Nazis popping up in the frigid mountains of Norway to a floating concentration camp filled with ghosts, this list will have you goose-stepping straight for your nearest video store.
- Oasis of the Zombies (1981) – Cult film director Jesus Franco (Vampyros Lesbos, Venus in Furs) weaves this tale of an American treasure hunter who heads to the deserts of Africa to find a lost fortune in Nazi gold. But it turns out that the Nazis guarding it are rather tenacious, and their undead corpses are ready to chomp down on any intruders. It’s admittedly an awful film, but the sight of zombified members of the Afrika Korps may make it all worthwhile for hardcore fans.
- Shock Waves (1977) – According to the DVD box, “SS zombies rise from the depths of the ocean to wreak havoc amongst the living!” Rose (Brooke Adams) and her pals are enjoying a yachting excursion when they suddenly hit a freighter and wind up stranded on an island. There, they meet an SS commander (an over-the-top Peter Cushing) who’s been passing the time since WWII by caring for a bunch of Nazi zombies. As you might expect, things don’t well for Rose and the gang once the goggle-wearing undead rise from the water in slow motion.
- Zombie Lake (1981) – Back during WWII, a group of German soldiers (let’s go ahead and call them Nazis) were killed by members of the French Resistance and dumped in a lake. Now they’re back for revenge (see Movie Vigilantes), wiping out plenty of naked females in the process. The movie is a complete mess, fit only for the most dedicated zombie fan. The bright green makeup worn by the zombies comes off in the water and rubs off on the clothes of their victims. Some zombies wield knives and try karate chops, and it’s obvious that the underwater scenes are being filmed in a swimming pool. Still, it’s got Nazi zombies and boobs, so beggars can’t be choosers.
- Horrors of War (2006) – With the Allies pressing the attack, Hitler (see Hitler Movies) decides to unleash his ultimate weapons of warfare. As reports filter back to Allied headquarters, a member of the O.S.S. (Jon Osbeck) is sent to learn the truth. He teams up with a group of U.S. grunts led by the rugged Capt. Joe Russo (Joe Lorenzo), and together these men fight werewolves and zombies intent on advancing the evil cause of the Third Reich. It’s a low-budget affair with far fewer monsters than you would hope for, but it’s still light years ahead of movies like Oasis of the Zombies in terms of craftsmanship.
- The 4th Reich (2011) – Following the D-Day invasion, a group a soldiers led by Capt. Bathurst (Sean Pertwee) make their way across the French countryside on the way to Berlin. But Hitler is determined to go down swinging, so he unleashes the nightmares perfected by Dr. Josef Mengele (Sebastian Street) in death camps such as Belsen and Auschwitz. Directed by Shaun Robert Smith, the film was made possible after Smith entered his short, The Soldier, into the 2 Days Later Short Film Competition and won a fistful of awards. The movie also co-stars make-up legend Tom Savini (Sex Machine in From Dusk till Dawn–see Vampire Movies.) and Craig Conway (Sol from Doomsday).
- Outpost (2008) – One of the better film on this list, Outpost stars Ray Stevenson (HBO’s Rome) as D.C., a grim British mercenary who accepts a job escorting a corporate scientist (Julian Wadham) into an abandoned Eastern European bunker. Along with the rest of his team (including Michael Smiley and Richard Brake), D.C. is led to believe that the mission will be a simple one. Wrong. Turns out that the bunker was once used by the Nazis to conduct experiments on reality manipulation and reanimation, and soon ghostly Germans are picking off the mercs one by one. A tense horror flick that deftly creates a sense of isolation and impending doom.
- The Frozen Dead (1967) – Dana Andrews stars as Dr. Norberg, a German expert on cryogenics who happens to be trying to resurrect several key Nazis by attaching their severed heads to new bodies. With funding and support from ODESSA, Norberg is on the brink of success. Okay, the film doesn’t really feature any Nazi zombies running around and eating people, but the intent is certainly there (well, at least the “running around” part). A precursor to the Nazisploitation genre, The Frozen Dead is another one recommended for hardcore fans only.
- A Chance in Hell (2011) – Billed as “Inglourious Basterds” meets “Day of the Dead,” this zombie movie features American soldiers who come across a Nazi facility in the winter of 1944 and are forced to contend with the undead horrors found within. While machine guns work great against zombies, an axe never runs out of ammunition.
- Dead Snow (2009) – During Easter vacation, a group of students head into the mountains of Norway for a little fun in the snow. Guess who doesn’t like having fun? That’s right, SS zombies with an obsession for hidden gold. Back from the dead to reclaim their treasure, the undead Germans engage in a gory struggle with the never-say-die protagonists. Mixing comedy with horror, Dead Snow features some surprises not normally seen in the genre, plus a bevy of lovely Norwegian gals. The SS Nazi leader, Standartenfuhrer Herzog (Orjan Gamst) looks especially cool.
- Death Ship (1980) – After colliding with another ship and becoming stranded at sea, a group of passengers are picked up by a massive black vessel. They should have waited for the next ride, as this turns out to be the Death Ship mentioned in the title. Back during WWII, it was a torture ship used by the SS, and now the hateful spirits of the dead delight in picking up passengers and killing them. George Kennedy is the wrecked ship’s captain who slowly becomes possessed by his Nazi counterpart, while Richard Crenna plays the hero. Nick Mancuso and Saul Rubinek co-star is this Nazi ghost movie that’s decent fun for those who disengage their brains beforehand.
Sadly, this list covers pretty much all the Nazi zombie movies and Nazi ghost movies out there. But as the years roll by, you can expect additional films from this bizarre sub-genre. Until then, pass the time with the following high-quality articles: