31 Days of Halloween: Day 03 – Outpost: Black SunA movie review article by: Paul Brian McCoy
This Schlocktober, Comics Bulletin will be exploring the world of horror cinema, featuring thirty one notable films released between Halloween 2012 and Halloween 2013. Next up is director/co-writer Steve Barker's Outpost: Black Sun.
In 2007, Steve Barker and Rae Brunton wrote and directed the sleeper Nazi zombie sci-fi horror flick, Outpost, which thanks to a clever script, tight directing, and excellent performances from Ray Stevenson and Michael Smiley, was a delight from start to finish. One of the most impressive things about the movie was the creative explanation for just what was going on.
These weren't just zombie Nazis. They were fucking unkillable, reality-shifting, undead bastards -- the result of a Nazi science experiment that worked a little too well. A modern group of mercenaries finds the bunker where all of this went down during the final days of WWII, and try to liberate the tech. In the end, practically no one escaped unscathed.
In November of 2012, Barker and Brunton returned with the sequel, Outpost: Black Sun, following Nazi Hunter Lena (Catherine Steadman) and rogue physicist Wallace (Richard Coyle), and a somewhat faceless group of soldiers, as they try to stop the spread of the 1000 Year Reich. It turns out the electromagnetic field that allows the Nazi zombies to shamble around unstoppably is spreading outward and unless they can shut down the machine causing it all, Nazis will rule the planet!
And everybody knows that would suck.
Black Sun has a bigger budget (a little bit bigger) and uses the money wisely, creating a grander feel than the first film, but at the same time it lacks some of Outpost's personality. But what it lacks in character, it makes up for in set design and scope. Plus, Barker and Brunton figured out a way to give our heroes some hope. An EMP pulse upsets the field keeping the Nazis immortal, giving the military brief windows of opportunity to kill Nazis all over again.
And what good British soldier could pass up the chance to kill some Nazis?
It all goes a bit off the rails as it steamrolls towards an action-packed conclusion involving more Nazi killing, a race against time, an impending nuclear strike, and some weird pseudo-science and occult madness. There's a boatload of potential here that is only partially realized. But what we do get is pretty solid entertainment combined with the joy of machine gunning Nazis to death.
Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor/editor for Comics Bulletin. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is available at Amazon US & UK, along with his collection of short stories, Coffee, Sex, & Creation (US & UK). He recently contributed the 1989 chapter to The American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1980s (US & UK) and has kicked off Comics Bulletin Books with Mondo Marvel Volumes One (US & UK) and Two (US & UK). Paul is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy.