Decapitations and Saving Private Ryan: Overlord plot begins to snap into focus as director teases "pure madness"

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Apr 29, 2019, 5:57 AM EDT (Updated)

While the mysterious Overlord makes its world premiere at Fantastic Fest this weekend (and we’ve got a cool poster to get you hyped up for the Nazi-fighting alt-history weirdness), we still only know a bit about the plot of the supernatural war film. Despite a few trailers and a synopsis, there hasn’t been much out there about what actual madness will be contained in the J.J. Abrams-produced movie - until now.

Speaking to cast and crew, Total Film sussed out some details for what fans can expect when they go back in time to an alternate world where the bad guys of WWII are dealing with some seriously twisted technology that’s made them...well, very hard to kill.

An opening scene - presented in a single shot - tracks a plane crash, channeling Saving Private Ryan with all the twisted metal and disorienting madness of combat. “You can’t not think of Steven [Spielberg]’s extraordinary work in Saving Private Ryan,” Abrams said. “This opening scene, en route to D-Day, is such a powerful, painful, horrible way into a story: these young men having that sense of feeling like they’re about to lose a lot of friends, or lose their own lives.”

But as much as the movie wants to veer towards combat realism, this is a genre film at its heart. There’s some weird stuff going on. “There’s this woman without a body in the movie,” said director Julius Avery. “It’s inspired by this crazy black-and-white video that’s on the internet. If you type in ‘Russian Dog Experiment,’ the first thing that pops up is this video of a decapitated dog which has been kept alive somehow. It’s pure madness.” Pushing scares based on Experiments in the Revival of Organisms, the 1940 short documentary film which Avery references, is seriously spooky.

Thankfully, steering away from the real atrocities of WWII and towards the more Twilight Zone-esque genre possibilities, Overlord looks to thrill alt-history seekers when it opens nationwide on Nov. 9 - and you can check the gallery below for some newly released pics of the film.