Nazi horror-war film 'Overlord' was inspired by horrifying real-life experiments

By Kevin Polowy

As unbelievable as some of the events in Overlord may seem, sadly they’re rooted in reality.

The new thriller from producer J.J. Abrams, which combines the horrors of war with horror movie elements, follows a U.S. platoon behind enemy lines in the lead-up to WWII’s D-Day, as they discover the Nazis are conducting unspeakable experiments on captured Allied soldiers and French civilians.

As star Wyatt Russell explained, the title is a reference to Operation Overlord, the code name for the Battle of Normandy, and the procedures were influenced by actual Nazi human experimentation.

“There are some elements that are real,” Russell (22 Jump Street, Everybody Wants Some) told Yahoo Entertainment during a recent stop at their Los Angeles studios.

Wyatt Russell in Overlord (Paramount)

And they weren’t just drawn from the Nazis. Russell pointed to an infamous experiment from Soviet Russia in 1940 in which scientists reanimated a dog’s head, a feat that inspired a specific scene (you can see it in the film’s trailer) where a woman’s dismembered head is seen talking.

“It’s absolutely terrifying horrifying, awful,” Russell said.

Of course, other elements are purely science fiction, including what the platoon uncovers as the motivation behind the experiments: to create indomitable fighting machines.

“If they could’ve created a supersoldier by trying to experiment with people in this horrible, awful, demeaning, demonic way, they would’ve,” Russell said. “So it’s not far off that way.”

Overlord is in UK cinemas now.


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