Category Archives: world war 1

World War 1 Fantastic – Film

Unless you’ve been hiding out on some island hidden in the Bermuda Triangle, you may have heard the news that DC/Warner Brothers hotly anticipated Wonder Woman movie starring Gal Gadot will take place during World War 1 instead of the era where she was first introduced. DC must’ve read my mind because I’ve always imagined what Diana’s story would be like in the 1910s instead of the 1940s. This shows creativity on DC’s part because if they stuck with tradition, the film would be compared to Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger endlessly. It’ll also introduce a new generation of girls and women not just to a feminist icon but to a bygone era that changed the world a hundred years ago.

But I’m not here to speculate on a movie that won’t be out until next year (FACT: 2017 will be the centennial of America’s entry into the first world war). Today I’m here write another post about The War to End All Wars as seen through the lens of speculative fiction. My first post in the series looked at novels. My second one was about television. My last post listed video games. If you’ve guessed by now that today’s article is about film – you’re right!

Impossible! You say. There aren’t any fantastical films about World War 1! Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong! They do exist, you just have to find them.

Biggles: Adventures In Time: (1986. Released in the UK as simply Biggles). A film with arguably one of the most laughable taglines in movie history:

Meet Jim Ferguson. He lived a daring double-life with one foot in the 20th century and the other in World War 1.

Think for awhile why that that sounds so absurd. No, it’s not “double-life” part.

James “Biggles” Bigglesworth was a character from a series of book by W.E. Johns about an ace pilot and his adventures during and after the Great War. The first story, “The White Fokker” was published in 1932. The series grew in popularity to the point where they continued after Johns’ death. So it was only appropriate to make a full-length feature film about the character right.

Yes, except the original script was going to be closer in tone to the books and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then Back to the Future was released…The success of that film made executives want to cash in on its popularity and the script was altered to include a modern day character named Jim Ferguson who “stumbles” into 1917 and befriends the titular hero. Jim later learns (from Peter Cushing, in his final film role) that he and Biggles are “time twins” two men who travel through time when one or the other is in mortal danger. OK if Jim just learned he had this ability in 1917 why didn’t he travel to the first three years of the war when Biggles’ life was threatened repeatedly? You know what, never mind. It’s too confusing. In case your wondering, yes, the film was a flop. Enjoy the trailer:

Deathwatch: (2002) A horror movie directed by Michael J. Bassett about a group of British soldiers who are suddenly surrounded by a mysterious “mist” and find themselves on the enemy side of the trenches where terrified German soldiers cower in fear about “something else further down the trenches”. Ignoring their warnings, the soldiers investigate and find rotting bodies, bloodied mud and an inhuman growl in the distance. Needless to say it all goes downhill from there and the British soldiers learn the true meaning of “No Man’s Land”. The question is, is the horror the result of supernatural forces or is it all in the soldiers’ heads? The cast includes a non-CGI Andy Serkis.

Here’s the trailer:

Sucker Punch: (2011) This film is not about World War 1. It’s about a girl living in 1959 who wants to escape from a mental asylum with her friends before she gets lobotomized. Or something like that. This film is very divisive among femgeeks: some call it a sexist masturbatory fantasy, others say it’s a critique about the sexualization of women in popular culture. One scene everyone remembers best, though, is Baby Doll’s (Emily Browning) fantasy sequence where she and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), Amber (Jamie Chung), Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) and Rocket (Jena Malone) navigate through the trenches of World War 1 to retrieve a map. But they must fight off steam powered zombie enemy soldiers because all the allied soldiers are too shell-shocked to fight. The only available clip on YouTube is shown in three parts and is erroneously titled “Nazi Zombies”:

War of the Worlds: Goliath: (2012) This Malaysian animated film is a loose sequel to H.G. Wells’ seminal classic. It’s 1914, 15 years after the first Martian invasion. The world, as you know, is mobilizing itself for the Great War. Except this time the weapons used are engineered from Martian technology that was scrapped after the invaders died from disease. Just as war begins – how convenient! – the Martians return. With bigger, badder weapons! And stronger immune systems! As a wise man once said: “there’s always a bigger fish”.

Here’s the trailer:

So what do you think? Have you seen these films? Do you know of any other sf/fantasy/horror films that take place during The War to End All Wars? Let me know in the comments.


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World War 1 Fantastic – Video Games

We’ve looked at The Great War through the prism of sf and fantasy with novels and TV. Today we’re going to take another twisted trip through the trenches with video games. Once again, there aren’t as many titles dealing with the subject of World War 1 as there are with its successor. But the games are there, I’ve found them, I’m going to talk about them, and maybe you’ll end up playing them.

Note: Because many games have DLCs that take place in a WW1 setting, I will address those extras for another post.  For the sake of simplicity, I’m focusing on games that strictly take place during the war, not before or after (unless if that war never ended). I will also skip games that allow you to avert the war. I also am not, repeat, am not a gamer, so I don’t know much about the technological aspect of video games, so any corrections are welcomed.

Castlevania: Bloodlines (1994)



Single-player platform

Dracula has a niece named Elizabeth Bartley, who starts World War 1 so that she can revive her long-dead uncle. In 1917 two men named Eric Lecard and John Morris join up to stop her.

NecrovisioN  (2009)


The Farm 51

First-person shooter

It’s 1916. An American volunteer named Simon Bukner is fighting for the British Army. During a counterattack against the Germans, he and his company are ambushed by machine gun fire and mustard gas. Simon collapses and wakes up in a world where he now has to fight zombies, hellhounds, demons and vampires.

Iron Storm (2002-2005)


4X Studios/Rebellion/Reef Interactive

First-person shooter

It’s 1964. The Great War is in it’s 50th year (yeesh!). You play Lt. James Anderson. Your mission: to stop Baron Nikolai Aleksandrovich von Ugenberg and his Russo-Mongolian Empire from developing nuclear weapons. And hopefully end this ongoing war once and for all.

1916 – Der Unbekannte Krieg -“The Unknown War” (2011)




Kriegsgraben und Stormvogel

First-person avoider/ horror survival

This game reminds me of Alien: Isolation you have to hide from the xenomorph and stay one step ahead of it. Ditto for this game. You’re in the trenches. Your goal is to find a ladder, collect some needed items – and avoid the dinosaurs. In the trenches. Your trenches. Yes you read that right. Yes, it’s scarier than you think. You can check it out on YouTube if you’re curious.

  Do you know of any other video games with a fantastic first world war setting?

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