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Wyatt Russell on horrifying real-life experiments that influenced Nazi horror-war film 'Overlord'

·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
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  • Wyatt Russell
    Wyatt Russell
    American actor and hockey player

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

The new thriller, 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 our Los Angeles studios.

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 opens Friday. Watch the trailer:

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