BLITZKRIEG: ESCAPE FROM STALAG 69 (2008)
Wild Eye Releasing
RUNNING TIME: 135 Min.
DIRECTOR: Keith J. Crocker
CAST: Charles Esser (Helmut Schultz), Steve Montauge (Wolfgang), Tatyana Kot (Natasha), Edward Yankus (Jack Jones), Giordana Jenell (Frieda), Paul Richichi (The Priest),
TAGLINE: A New Era of Nazi Terror
SYNOPSIS: Germany, 1945. Stalag 69, a POW camp ruled by the sadistic SS commandant Helmut Schultz, is nothing but a blood-soaked playground for this perverse Nazi monster who uses his Americana, Russian and British prisoners in cruel and ghastly biochemical weapons experiments and kill-for-sport pleasure. When a group of young wanton USO girls are captured and fall into the hands of Schultz and his battalion of butchers, the shocking brutality is turned up. Now it's up to these rag tag survivors of the camp to strike back against their captors and escape from Stalag 69, alive or in pieces!
The plot of Blitzkrieg: Escape from Stalag 69 centers around a POW camp Stalag 69 run by the monstrous Helmut Schultz (Charles Esser) and his sidekick Wolfgang (Steve Montague) whom resembles a more sadistic Schultz from the aforementioned and beloved Hogan's Heroes which itself was based on the WW2 classic Stalag 17 (1953) which Crocker cites as an influence on this film. They are joined in their torturous activities by Helmut's sexy-sadist sister Frieda (Giordana Jenell ). In 1945 the Third Reich is on it's last legs and as Allied forces converge on Stalag 69 the Gestapo has plans to eradicate all evidence of Stalg 69's crime against humanity. It's up to the POW's and a group of USO girls to make a desperate attempt at escape led by the all-American good guy G.I. Jack Jones (Edward Yankos). Also causing a ruckus at the compound is the Russian femme fatale Natasha (Tatyana Kot) who delivers some nasty I Spit on Your Grave (1978) style revenge on her captors.
Stalag 69 is in your face with nudity and not always of the scintillating variety, either. Crocker doesn't want to let us relish in the glory of the naked form and the bodies are scarred, bruised, mutilated and tortured. It's all disturbing to some degree including the scene where Nastasha escapes the experiments and runs through the forest nude while mowing down Nazis with a machine gun. The torture scenes in Stalag 69 are unnervingly brutal and Crocker and company do an decent job with the gore effects work. It's hard to watch human degradation in any form and Crocker taps into the worst that human nature has to offer and its on display here in all it's shocking glory.
The acting and line readings are suspect and the accents are are over the place. The weakest aspect of the film is the protracted dialogue exchanges and monologues, every character in this film is a long-winded gas bag. Paul Richichi appears in a wrap-around story as a Catholic priest but sadly the outrageous lunacy that made him such an awesome presence in Crocker's The Bloody Ape is not on display and the climax of the film suffers for it. That combined with the overly long running time of the film made Blitzkrieg a bit of a slog at times. I enjoy Crocker's eye for exploitation shock and awe but he's no Tarantino when it comes to snappy dialogue. The idea of marrying a WW2 epic like Stalag 17 and a mid-70's Nazi-sploitation sounds awesome but the epic running time tried my patience at times.
DVD: The Blitzkrieg: Escape from Stalag 69 DVD release from Wild Eye Releasing is presented in a non-anamorphic letterboxed 1.78:1 aspect ratio director's cut with a 2.0 stereo audio mix. Much like Wild Eye's release of Crocker's super-8mm classic The Bloody Ape it is jam-packed with bonus content. A fun commentary plus 16mm test footage. Initially Crocker intended to shoot the film on 16mm black and white, the test footage looks great but proved to be too expensive.
- Commentary with Director Keith J. Crocker, Production Designer Keith Maturro and Actress Tatyana Kot
- Nazis Over Nassau Featurette (38:16)
- Original Schindler's Lust Trailer (7:12)
- Trailers for The Bloody Ape (0:55) and Blitzkrieg - Escape from Stalag 69 (0:50)
- 4 Deleted Scenes (5:49)
- Bloopers (5:47)
- 16mm Test Footage (5:33)
- Cast and Crew Q+A from NYC Premiere (30:27)
- Production Stills
- Short Film Desade '88 (5:56)