Preview: Escape from Stalag 69
As a horror fan and a history buff, I have always been fascinated by the Nazi-sploitation subgenre. It's understandable - with all of the nasty things that happened inside Germany during the second World War - that people have always had a lurid fascination with the Third Reich. That same fascination even spawned an entire sub-genre of horror/exploitation films during the 70's and 80's, appropriately called "Nazi-sploitation".
Perhaps the most famous of these films is called "Ilsa: Shewolf of the SS". "Ilsa" is a fairly boring little cult film that showcases Ilsa, a bosomy Nazi officer who likes to have sex, and then torture, Nazi prisoners. And while not my particular cup of tea, it is certainly noteworthy for it's explicit sex and nasty visuals, something which I'm positive is the sole reason why people even remember it today.
It's with direct inspiration from "Ilsa" and films of the like that Keith Crocker and Co. have lovingly fashioned "Blitzkrieg: Escape from Stalag 69", a super low budget Nazi-sploitation film that I was recently sent to review. Since I was told that the film is not in it's final form (ie editing, sound, FX), I decided to write a little preview for it here, and give my general thoughts.
The film centers around Helmut, an ex Nazi officer who - as we see in the opening scene - has been tracked down by Israeli agents in 1955. He escapes, only to find himself in a church where he begins to recall his past sins to the priest. It's through these stories that we're sent, via flashback, to WWII era Germany to see exactly what Helmet and Co were up to.
There's more to the story, a lot more, but that is the basic gist. Along the way we also see Frieda (an Ilsa type character), a handful of prisoners and a sexy naked Russian chick who is being tortured for information.
Since this is still in the editing stage, I feel the need to state this up front. This film needs chopping, desperately. Creating an homage to these films this day in age is a great concept, but at times "Blitzkrieg" seems to forget why it exists in the first place: exploitation. There are plenty of nasty thrills to be had here - a lot actually - but it's hard to stay in the film because in between every nude scene or interrogation sequence, there is about 10 minutes of boring dialogue. I didn't care about Helmut or the rest of his corpulent officers (for wartime these guys sure seemed well fed), and that was the main problem that I had here. At a full 2 hours, "Blitzkrieg" needs at least a half an hour chopped out of it. AT LEAST.
That said, I did appreciate the nods and winks to other films like "Ilsa", or even "I Spit On Your Grave", and in general you can tell the cast and crew were having fun with this. There's probably more unintentional humor in here than intentional, but as we all know that can sometimes be more fun. The one thing that kept cracking me up was the mere fact that there were no guards anywhere. For a Nazi prison camp, these prisoners sure were allowed to walk around unencumbered an awful lot. Also, props have to go out to the sassy black chick for not really understanding that she was in a prison camp. In every scene she was talking back to the Nazi officers like they had just screwed her order up at a restaurant. Funny shit.
If low (and I mean low) budget exploitation thrills are your bag, than I would recommend giving "Blitzkrieg" a shot when it's released in it's final form. The FX are quaint throwbacks to 70's and 80's horror, the nudity is ample, and the acting exactly what you would expect from something shot on video. You could even create your own drinking game to the film, based on when people's accents change ethnicity mid sentence. Trust me when I say you'll be hammered by the time it's over.
Let's just hope that the guys behind it heed my advice and trim the running time down. Nazi-sploitation movies are about two things, and that's lurid sex and shocking violence. There are plenty of both in the film to go around, but none of the plot was of consequence to me, so most of it has to go. And if you are going to venture into this, do it with a group of friends and a six pack, it will make the film infinitely more enjoyable.
If you're interested in this flick, you can visit BlitzkriegTheMovie.com for stills, lobby cards, cast, synopsis and a bunch more.