Thursday, 28 June 2018

Film Review: HITLER LIVES! (2017)


HITLER LIVES! ** Australia 2017 Dir: Stuart Rowsell 80 mins

Removing his workmans attire and donning his Nazi uniform , faithful henchman Dorff welcomes his unsuspecting co worker down into the depths of a rotting bunker. "Are you telling me Hitler lives in Adelaide?" Spanner questions. "I can prove it to you" replies Dorff as he opens a door and we are faced with the ailing body of Adolf Hitler attached to this strange boiler device.
After his brief introduction to the fuhrer Spanner meets a grisly end at the hands of Dorff who chops him up and feeds him into the contraption which in turn is seeming to fuel our decomposing dictator. From far away Argentina Hitler receives  a video call from Dr. Mengele who divulges the secrets to Hitler's immortality through his experiments with alien technology and how he plans to make further improvements to his current condition all Hitler has to do is remain calm and patient and Mengele will contact him soon. In his addled and messed up state all he can do is muse over his favourite composer, Wagner, whilst watching Nazi propaganda videos on repeat and be visited by hallucinations of past subordinates in the form of marionette puppets sporting all manor of strange and hilarious voices (Hermann Göring sounding like Arnie is a hoot!). After about an hour of this random nonsense Dr. Mengele appears once again and his final plan is revealed. The last 30 minutes is a gloriously insane, gloopy mess of gender swapping, birthing clones and alien invasions. Disturbing images of things that I will never unsee and don't expect I will ever see again all together in one movie.... which is rather a lot of fun. You will laugh and be repulsed at the same time but is it just a bit too much too late? This is Stuart Rowsell's first directors role as he is more known for his Special Effects skills in a couple of the recent Star Wars movies and is credited as a creature technician for ALIEN:COVENANT. So as you would expect even with it being at low budget level where the crew and cast are tiny, a lot of effort has gone into the visuals. Shot with a grubby sepia almost colourless hue and incorporating black and white it looks as tarnished as it feels in terms of the content. The use of stop motion and the brilliant puppetry is very good to watch. Their choice to use CGI for the blood was not so good though. It is effectively splashy and fun but does not sit right with the other techniques used, but oddly blood doesn't really feature that heavily so it's not too distracting. I do contest the idea that this Hitler is a zombie, if he is its a loosely based concept of the word and more likely used to try and appeal to a wider audience. The other thing I wasn't so keen on was that after a bit of excitement in the first 10 mins the next 50 mins are just the hapless Hitler lolling about doing weird shit I didn't quite understand. I think it was a combination of the slurred way Hitler spoke, the way the sound was recorded and the script but I couldn't really hear it or understand what he was going on about the majority of the time. I could only pick out the odd word here and there and given the weird randomness of the scenes it would be good to know what the hell was going on. It does have a very tiny cast and in terms of acting its not bad at all. The role of Hilter is played by a guy known as Morte (once a member of Nazxul and Sadistik Exekution both Australian Black Metal bands) and he plays his character with confidence given that a lot of the time it is just him on screen. He is entertaining it's just a shame I couldn't really understand his crazy ramblings. I loved the soundtrack to this too with everything from Classical to stuff from early Silent Movie soundtracks. Billed as a modern homage to Exploitation film I would say this does fit that bill even with my fairly limited knowledge of the genre I don't think it could be described as anything else. It certainly does try (and succeeds) in shocking and entertaining even if it does leave the good stuff right til the end. I think this really does need to be seen to be believed and if you can endure the middle section then by the time the ending comes you will not be disappointed!

Review by Sarah Budd




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