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BLITZKRIEG - ESCAPE FROM STALAG 69
DVD region 0. Wild Eye Releasing.

Blitzkrieg - Escape from Stalag 69Nazisploitation is one of the most reviled of movie genres, with even some hardened sleaze fans considering a step too far into bad taste, and it’s also one of the most time-specific – after a couple of 1960’s pioneers like Love Camp 7, the genre rose with Ilsa – She Wolf of the SS, The Night Porter and Salon Kitty in the early Seventies and after a few years in which a glut of mostly Italian movies like SS Experiment Camp were churned out, was pretty much dead and gone. A modern revival seems unlikely, though Keith Crocker, the man who brought you The Bloody Ape, does his best to capture the spirit of those grubby films with this homage.

Set in a Nazi prisoner of war camp, the film follows the exploits of chubby Kommandant Helmut Schultz (Charles Esser) and chubbier sidekick Wolfgang (Steve Montague) as they torture and abuse various prisoners – most notably Russian killing machine Natascha (Tatyana Kot) – amidst various flashbacks. Meanwhile, the prisoners make vague plans to escape that eventually lead to an unconvincing uprising.

Blitzkrieg is a collision of ideas from other films – torture scenes right out of Mark of the Devil, a bathtub castration that is a direct lift from I Spit on Your Grave and assorted moments Nazi sleaze aficionados will be overly familiar with – that never quite come together. Director Crocker is far too much in love with his own words, resulting in a 135 minute film that would be a lot better with an hour cut out, especially as none of his performers are really up to delivering the reams of dialogue that aren't that great anyway. If you are watching this for the sex and violence – and quite frankly, why else would you be? – then you’ll have to wade through scene after scene of stilted arguments, making this the slowest nazisploitation flick since The Beast in Heat.

Blitzkrief - Escape from Satalg 69However, I’ll concede that the sleaze levels are high – Kot spends the whole film naked, either gunning down Nazis or (more frequently) being tortured, and there is plentiful nudity – male and female – throughout. There are two castrations, tongue pulling, eye stabbing, throat slitting and plenty more gory mayhem, all delivered with bargain basement FX, ensuring that it is likely to offend anyone not thoroughly hardened to such grot – though why they’d be watching is anyone’s guess.

Acting performances, like the accents on display, are all over the place – Kot deserves credit for the sheer level of unpleasantness she has to put up with, but the rest of the cast either ham it up or give performances as flat as the shot-on-video visuals that make this feel more like a glorified home movie than a proper film.

If someone were to cut out the rambling dialogue, this might be entertainingly offensive. As it is, the film is often slow and boring – the cardinal sin for any exploitation film, especially one with such squalid predecessors.

But if Blitzkrieg is a turd, Wild Eye do their damndest to polish it thoroughly – also included here is a lengthy, though basic 'making-of' that includes interviews with more or less everyone involved (Crocker is either a much better actor than any of his cast or else really does think this is a serious film!), footage of an on-stage Q&A with cast and crew, and a commentary track with Crocker, production designer Keith Matturro and Kot. There’s also Crocker’s 16mm fake trailer Schindler’s Lust (the inspiration for this), his 16mm short De Sade 88 and some 16mm test footage from Blitzkrieg (abandoned due to cost), together with outtakes and deleted scenes.

A tasty package for a trashy film.

DAVID FLINT

BUY IT NOW (USA)

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