Science Fiction Film & Television

Fascist drag

Race, Laibach, and playing Nazi in the Iron Sky universe

Science Fiction Film & Television (2022), 15, (1), 21–39.


Timo Vuorensola’s Finnish-German sf satire Iron Sky (2012) tells the story of a Nazi invasion from the Moon. At the time, a Nazi return seemed to be far-fetched, even ridiculous. The pointed critique of a Sarah Palin-like president who wins a second term using fascist propaganda techniques was overshadowed by the film’s space opera setting. Although certainly not unique in its critique of the US, this Naziploitation parody was eerily prescient with regards to what Umberto Eco has termed an eternal fascism that will return again and again. Thus, the film invites further questions regarding what is a shift away from the one-sided representation of Nazis in popular sf film. Through a discussion of German scholar Katrin Sieg’s term “ethnic drag,” this article analyzes the intersections of the representation of race and fascism in the film. It posits the term “fascist drag” to refer to Nazi representation as well as a linguistic break in which discussions of fascism in the West became taboo during the Cold War. These movements have until recently remained buried in postwar memory and rehearsed in the popular imagination.

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Author details

Fritzsche, Sonja