Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Outpost

“I don’t trust scientists”

Jarv’s rating: 2.5 Changs out of 4

A pox on the fucking supermarket. How dare they put DVD’s of schlock for less than £3 next to the fucking checkout. Seriously, I’m a mug and this just sucks me in every time- I’m going to run out of shelf space at this rate. I’m going to either have to grow some self-restraint, or send Mrs. Jarv to do the shopping.

Nevertheless, Let’s look at the rules for low-budget horror: if in doubt add zombies. If still in doubt then add some Nazi’s too. It’s a formula that should always lead to good dirty fun.

The British film industry is a bit of a mess, to be honest. We make either dismal kitchen sink dramas that leave the audience suicidal, crap camp comedy that makes me cringe, or horror that tends to be about as scary as a fart in an elevator. There are a couple of films that stand out in each genre, but as a rule we tend to make utter shit.

Outpost was made in 2008 and there are several reasons to watch it. First, it’s about zombie Nazi bastards (not Daily Mail readers, the real thing), and that is entertaining by definition, but secondly it’s got Ray Stevenson in it as a double hard mercenary bastard. He’s excellent as double hard bastards- Titus Pullo is almost a triple hard bastard, and Frank Castle (although psychotic) is clearly not someone to fuck with. Here, he plays DC a world-weary, bitter, burnt out mercenary, but he’s still double hard.

Plotwise, Outpost is simple. A nerdy type guy hires DC’s troop of mercenary bastards to guard him to a “valuable piece of real estate” in some war-torn shithole in Eastern Europe (that looks suspiciously like Britain). It turns out said real estate is a Nazi bunker where nefarious German movie scientists where fucking around with some bollocks theory to make invulnerable soldiers. Sure enough, undead Nazi bastards pitch up, and everyone dies messily.

Steven Barker (one to watch in the future), the director has clearly both seen a lot of other films and also played a lot of video games. This film reeks of Carpenter- the undead Nazi bastards are most reminiscent of the undead leper bastards from The Fog. There’s a sequence in it when the mercenaries come under fire from the undead nazi bastards, and the lights flick on bright, a wind howls and you can only really see them in silhouette that comes straight from The Fog. It isn’t anywhere near as good as The Fog (or anything else that it robs from- Dog Soldiers for example) but Outpost is an object lesson in that if you’re going to steal from something make sure you steal from something good (I’m looking at you Cokey McFrankensteinhead, you fuck).

The script is reasonably entertaining- there’s a couple of genuinely good lines in it- mostly Ray gets them, but Prior (the redneck yank second in command) and Mckay gets a couple too. I particularly like the exchange where Prior snaps and shoots the obvious dead Nazi that they’ve been looking after:

Prior: [shoots the Breather in the head] Well, that worked.

Jordan: So we can kill them, right?

Prior: His brains are all over the wall. That’s good enough for me.

McKay: [the Breather sits up and looks at them] Oh, you’re hummin’ my balls!

Quite.

Aside from the script, the performances are all reasonable. Ray is on good form as a double hard bastard, Julian Wadham is excellent as the sleazy nerd movie scientist (yes, this mess is all his fault), and Richard Brake’s slightly unhinged drawling Prior is great fun. Solid is the best way to describe the acting.

The film is generally reasonably scary and also reasonably good fun. However, following my new policy of dealing with Torture Porn, any film with elements of utterly gratuitous torture automatically loses 1 chang minimum, and I’m sorry to say that there’s a particularly gruesome sequence involving a nail and a kneecap. Ouch. Nevertheless, this isn’t a torture porn film (or it wouldn’t have got any Changs at all). It’s essentially a ghost film, all about atmosphere rather than shocks and gore. There are no outright jump moments in it, rather it’s on a slow build and when the climax (nicked straight from Assault on Precinct 13) comes, it’s tense exciting stuff. So why force in a gruesome torture sequence? It’s jarring and utterly gratuitous.

Overall, this is good entertaining stuff, and if you’ve got an interest in Horror, mercenaries, zombies, John Carpenter films or Nazi bastards then you’ll enjoy it. It’s certainly the most promising genre debut from a Brit since Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers. It’s a great example of if you must steal, steal from the best, and I’m sure Carpenter appreciates the royalty cheques he must be getting for this. He probably spent all £20 of them on fried chicken and weed.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but they made a sequel due out this year, and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a simple premise, well executed and if they follow the formula the sequel will also be an entertaining horror film. It makes a very pleasant change from the utter crap masquerading as horror nowadays and I’m certainly keeping half an eye out for any forthcoming Barker films.

Until next time,

Jarv

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

33 responses to “Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Outpost”

  1. xiphos0311 says :

    Sounds like a winner to me I’m going to try and find since I’ve been in a horror sort of mood since watching the Crazies on Friday. They did the same thing in the Crazies as here they stole from good movies and didn’t screw it up.

    • Jarv says :

      It’s surprisingly good.

      And on the “making of” they own outright to stealing from The Fog. I also said computer games because they rob blatantly from Castle Wolfenstein as well.

      It’s good fun, and Stevenson is always entertaining.

  2. xiphos0311 says :

    if you’ve got an interest in Horror, mercenaries, zombies, John Carpenter films or Nazi bastards then you’ll enjoy it.

    I’M IN

  3. xiphos0311 says :

    Stevenson is always reliable. He did some real interesting work in The Book of Eli in role that could have been one dimensional.

  4. Jarv says :

    Yeah,

    The characters in this do border on the one dimensional but he does a good job

    hilariously, there’s an Irish character that wears Paratrooper uniform but has IRA tattoos- that’s as close as they get to depth.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      A character sported IRA tats and a Para uni? That’s pretty funny.

      I’ve got a Para utility uniform at home, they gave them to us when my Army unit earned British jump wings. I framed the blouse with a graduation ceremony picture(beer drinking mostly) and the jump wings.

  5. Jarv says :

    Typically, me being me I then followed this with an utter piece of shit by dead Italian filth merchant Fulci, called “Manhatten Baby” and I’m currently writing an open letter to Shameless DVD inviting them all to the 9th circle of hell that’s going to be tomorrow’s review

  6. Tom_Bando says :

    Ha ha this sounds like a winner. Zombies, mad Nazi scientists AND a shelled out peice of ‘Eastern Europe’ (AKA LEEDS) should be fun.

    I’m NOT willing to sit thru torture porn, thank you. And was gladdened that this is def. NOT one of Those.

  7. koutchboom says :

    Yeah I saw the trailer for this and one other Sean Bean movie like youth gang movie. I keep getting them confused they both looked like DTV crap. Good to hear that one is good.

  8. Continentalop says :

    Question about torture porn: would a sex scene involving Ron Jeremy qualify as torture porn?

    • xiphos0311 says :

      It qualifies as TP if you are forced to watch it.

    • Jarv says :

      Depends.

      I suspect so

    • xiphos0311 says :

      Have you seen the Hedge Hog lately? Visually he’s a crime against humanity but you know what he’s a pretty nice guy.

      I spoke to him once in Las Vegas outside of the porn convention. He came up to me and my buddy and asked if we were service men(hair cut dead give away) and talked to us for about 10 minutes after he found out we just came back from Afghanistan.

      • Continentalop says :

        I see him once in awhile in LA driving around in this little Gremlin.

        And a friend mine’s wife met him on a plane ride and he gave her a lift in his limo(!). He was also nice enough to show her his penis. No really.

  9. Droid says :

    Sounds like you got a good one. I like Stevenson. He was pretty good in Book of Eli as well.

    Good review.

  10. jarv says :

    It’s good and I really wish they hadn’t put the torture in. It’s so unnecessary in what is essentially an atmosphere piece- they could have had the guy begging in front of the nazi’s then cut back to the squad who hear his screams. I didn’t need to see the kneecapping.

  11. Continentalop says :

    I seriously wonder what qualifies as torture porn. The ear chopping in Reservoir Dogs, the vise in Casino, the original TCM…none of those are TP in my opinion although some people find it distasteful.. But pretty much everything in Hostel, the new TCM or those New French Extrmity movies are TP IMO although other people would defend them.
    I guess Torture Porn is in the eyes of the beholder…or at least his empty eye socket.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      I think intent is what separates TP from non-TP movies. The TP films you named all start out to “shock” the viewer in the extremity of their visuals. The ear scene in Reservoir Dogs showed something that could be a shock to a viewer but it still was integral to to the story and not gratuitous in the least.

      The scene in Casino I don’t think even counts since it allegedly happened in real life.

    • Tom_Bando says :

      It’s like so many other things, ya know it when ya see it. I have both Casino and Reservoir Dogs, while both have some pretty brutal things in’em(Sharon Stone’s caterwauling being the worst of it), neither is Hostel or Garfield. And that’s both the long, and the short of it.

  12. jarv says :

    The ear scene in Dogs doesn’t as it isn’t on camera.

    TP, for me is paradoxical- on one hand the torture has to be gratuitous, and on the other has to be the point of the film.

    For example, would Hostel work if they didn’t show the torture? No, and that’s why it’s TP

  13. xiphos0311 says :

    Go with what Jarv wrote it makes far more sense then the mess I wrote.

    USA v Canada just went into OT so I’m making less sense then usual.

  14. xiphos0311 says :

    HA! good one Frank.

  15. Tom_Bando says :

    Heheheheh-ARSON’S COOL yeahyeah!!

  16. herrmilflover says :

    Never heard of this one, but it seems pretty cool.
    Cant be worse than Dead Snow as far as Nazi Zombies go, it had its moments but I was a bit let down by all the damn hype.

    And I’m avoiding The Crazies review because I wont get to see it until later this week, stupid work schedule.

  17. herrmilflover says :

    you come from Lake Titicaca?

  18. jarv says :

    I liked Dead Snow- but it’s a different animal to this. Aside from undead fascists they don’t have anything in common

  19. just pillow talk says :

    This definitely sounds like a winner.

    And speaking of torture porn…never seen any of that shit, nor will I ever. Weak. Pathetic. If one actually had some creativity, one could scare the viewer with atmosphere and whatnot.

  20. koutchboom says :

    Ahhhh a good ole down home style Torture Porn debate.

    Seeing as that I’m deemed as the one guy who likes Torture Porn, I’m really really against the term. Mainly because now ANY movie with ANY sort of torture scene the stupid term gets thrown in their and lets face it, has negative consiquences.

    To me the only Torture Porn movies I’ve seen are Hostal 1-2 and Saw 3-4. I don’t really consider those french films torture movies because they are more experiments in brutality. To me they are more fucked up then just torture porn. Because they try to have some base in reality and are bloody realistic, where as torture porn stuff is just silly nonsense. I wish the term would go away because it s a lazy term thats getting way too over used.

    Hopefully with this recent string of schlocky stuff (Daybreakers, Eli,Legion, The Crazies) all being more inventive and interesting then the usual horror/genre fair movie makers are moving away from the J-horror/torture porn crap that has been way over done.

  21. Jarv says :

    Torture Porn is a totally fair term, and one I don’t mind using.

    It was slightly lazy of me to do it here, but the nature of the torture scene is so unpleasant and so gratuitous that I consider it a real shame in an atmosphere piece. The second kill also involves an element of torture, but I don’t consider that to be TP because it’s organic.

    Massive fucking spoilers so:

    The reason I consider the first one TP is that it comes out of the blue and is forced into the film. The slav, Tek, is grabbed by the undead Nazi bastards. It cuts away and they debate something, then cuts back to the nazi banging a nail through Tek’s kneecap. While he wails, gibbers and otherwise begs for his life. It then cuts back to the mercs who are listening to his screams, before cutting back to show undead Nazi bastard pop his eyeball out with a bullet.

    The point being that the scene would be every bit as effective if not more so without the close up lasciviousness of the torture.

  22. Jarv says :

    Huzzah!

    First legit use of invisitext.

  23. ThereWolf says :

    Blimey, this is the first time I’ve seen Outpost spoken of in a positive light!

    I also got it cheap. It’s nothing special but I thought it was okay. Brake’s role is sort of like a distant cousin to the one in he essays in Doom.

    The odd thing is their treatment of the survivor – you’d think they would be concerned about his medical condition but instead they treat him as a prisoner, to be interrogated and all that, right from the off.

    I can’t even remember the nail business!

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