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Eric D. Snider

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Eric has been a film critic since 1999, and a beard wearer since 2008. He holds a degree in journalism and used to work in "the newspaper industry," back when that was a thing.

Eric’s Bad Movies: ‘BloodRayne: The Third Reich’ (2010)

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Several years ago, you wisely chose not to see a movie called “BloodRayne,” directed by German dummkopf-provocateur Uwe Boll, in which a 1700s Romanian human-vampire hybrid lady named Rayne went around trying to kill all the vampires (except her herself). Demonstrating similar prudence, you also skipped the straight-to-DVD sequel, “BloodRayne 2: Deliverance,” in which Rayne hunted cowboy vampires in the Old West. As delightful as the premise sounds, you knew instinctively that the film would be dull and disappointing. Or more likely, you just never knew it existed.

Now we come to the third entry in Uwe Boll’s epic saga, “BloodRayne: The Third Reich.” It combines two of our favorite trashy-movie elements: Nazis and Clint Howard. Oh, and vampires, I guess. Oh! And soft-core lesbian erotica! So four of our favorite trashy-movie elements. As she is immortal, Rayne (Natassia Malthe) can theoretically continue to pursue the undead bloodsuckers in all sorts of historical and futuristic contexts. The possibilities are limited only by Uwe Boll’s imagination, which unfortunately means they are quite limited indeed, because Uwe Boll is a dummy.

When the film begins, it is 1940-ish and Rayne has expanded her search-and-destroy mission to include not just vampires but also Nazis, because you gotta keep things fresh. She attacks a Nazi train at a rail depot somewhere in occupied Europe, and as she’s fighting with a commandant, some of her own blood accidentally gets in his mouth (gross) and infects him with her vampire cooties. Here she wants to kill Nazis and vampires, and instead she turns a Nazi into a vampire, giving her one more of each to deal with. Rayne is creating problems to be solved by herself, a savvy move in an unstable job market.

She happened to attack these Nazis at the same time as some Resistance fighters led by a dude named Nathaniel (Brendan Fletcher), whose accent and dialect indicate he comes from the region of American Actor Not Bothering to Sound European. (Many people in Boll’s films hail from there.) Nathaniel and his compatriots think it’s cool that Rayne is a half-vampire, though they do comment on her dour tone and general humorlessness. They think she is too morose even for a vampire, and they are not wrong. They’ve heard stories about her prowess at killing Nazis, which evidently she has done successfully in the past. It seems likely that Nathaniel and Rayne will have sex at some point.

Back at local Nazi HQ, a sleazy scientist named Dr. Mangler (COME ON) is experimenting on a live vampire that the Nazis captured in the course of their adventures. The doctor is played by Clint Howard, who as usual has neglected to factor his own personal baseline oiliness into the equation, resulting in a character who is twice as oily as Howard meant him to be. If Clint Howard is in your movie and you want him to be just mildly off-putting and uncomfortable, like the kind of guy you’d move away from if he sat by you on a bus, the direction you give him is, “Play it straight, like he’s just a regular person.” As the Nazi doctor, Howard kind of sounds like he’s doing an Igor/Peter Lorre voice, but again, that might just be him.

Dr. Mangler wants to figure out what makes vampires immortal and give a dose of it to Hitler. Hitler, the exasperating fussbudget, wants to live forever but doesn’t want to be a vampire. Dr. Mangler is intrigued by the news that Commandant Brand is turning into one (a process that evidently takes a day or so, or at least it does this time). The doctor can feel himself getting closer to his goal of making Hitler immortal, which would surely mean a promotion for him.

Meanwhile, Rayne is at a nearby brothel, getting a nude massage from a prostitute in a negligee, as one does. She pauses to rescue another hooker from an abusive john, a German soldier, and is warned by the burly Russian madam, “Your aggressive encounter had better not be problematic for me.” Rayne returns to her massage, which quickly develops into a steamy lesbian sex scene that exists only so the movie can have the words “steamy lesbian sex scene” used in descriptions of it, while one of the other whores, who hates her boss, runs off to tell Commandant Brand that the vampire chick who attacked the rail depot is beating up his soldiers at the whorehouse — a classic gambit from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”!

During the ensuing skirmish between Rayne and the commandant’s men, Rayne is injured and Dr. Mangler is able to collect a sample of her blood. That’s twice that her carelessness with her own blood has screwed things up just in a 48-hour period. Rayne scampers away to team up with Nathaniel’s group, and while she’s at their hideout has a nightmare where a vampire Hitler bites her neck. It’s the only time we see Hitler in the whole movie, unfortunately, but you can tell Boll was thinking about him a lot.

After some tediously chaotic battles, Rayne and Nathaniel are eventually captured by the Nazis. Dr. Mangler has already used Rayne’s blood to prepare a potion for Hitler, which he is positively giddy about. “Soon I will infuse our Fuhrer with your blood!” he says. “Then we will see what we get!” The spirit of discovery is alive and well in Dr. Mangler! The commandant’s whole operation, including the captive Rayne and Nathaniel, packs up and heads for Berlin, and it is while riding together alone in the back of a transport truck that Rayne and Nathaniel finally take the opportunity to have sex. Does it make sense that they would do this here and now of all places and times? No. But the film’s almost over and it hadn’t happened yet, so Boll didn’t have a lot of options.

The Resistance fighters attack the convoy, freeing postcoital Rayne and Nathaniel and leading to another tediously chaotic battle in which extras in period costumes pretend to shoot each other while Boll shakes a camera at them. Commandant Brand, now fully vampirized and even more onboard with the Nazi agenda than he was before, pauses from the firefight to drink the serum intended for Hitler, against the protests of the Fuhrer’s prescribing physician. Upon drinking it, Brand declares in a demonic voice, “I am the prodigal son of the Third Reich! I am power incarnate!” He follows this with “Oof!” as Rayne kicks him from behind, knocks him over, then uses a rock to smash his head like a pumpkin. The doctor dies in this scene, too, drawing his just-crazy-enough-to-work scheme of using vampire blood to make Hitler live forever to an anticlimactic end. Say what you will about Dr. Mangler, the man was dedicated to his work.


Categories: Columns

Tags: Bloodrayne: The Third Reich, Eric d. snider, Eric's bad movies, Lesbian Vampire Nazis, Uwe boll

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