Blitzkrieg: Escape From Stalag 69 (2008)

DVD Cover (Wild Eye Releasing Reissue)
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Overall Rating 33%
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Ranked #9,014
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Steve Montague
Steve Montague
Tatyana Kot
Tatyana Kot
Minerva Borack
Minerva Borack
Gordana Jenell
Gordana Jenell
Brenda Cooney
Brenda Cooney
Review by Chad
Added: September 21, 2009
There will never be another subgenre of films as controversial as the Naziploitation flick, and it's really a shame. These are films that play off of the real-life tragedies that befell hundreds of thousands of innocent victims and the people who committed those monstrous crimes, and they also provided everything that a grindhouse fan could ask for. The stories wrote themselves: we know who the villains are before frame number one, we watch as the Nazis torture, maim, murder, rape, and humiliate their innocent victims in the grisliest ways imaginable, and it's all capped off with some sort of revenge on the part of the innocents.

There's little room for variation in these movies, but much like the zombie subgenre, it's best to stick with what's best. Much like blaxploitation and the "reefer madness" releases, this type of movie has unfortunately faded away as the years flew by: today's kids know that Nazis weren't exactly the good guys, but those goosestepping rascals are now equated to rednecks from the Jerry Springer show and they've lost their power to shock. Imagine my surprise when a recent release came along to breathe some life into a genre that has all but died.

We begin the festivities in South America sometime in the fifties, where a man decides to confess his sins to the local priest as he rightfully believes that his time on earth is coming to an end. His sins, however, are not the typical lust and indulgence violations that most ask forgiveness for. You see, this is Helmut Schultz (Charles Esser), a man who used a Nazi P.O.W. camp as his own hellish playground during World War II. The prisoners inside this camp were used for sadistic medical experiments when they weren't being forced to work their fingers to the bone (literally in some cases), and if any of them dared to so much as say "Good morning" to a fellow prisoner, they'd be mercilessly punished in Schultz's torture chamber. Helmut is aided by his right-hand - and backdoor - man Wolfgang (Steve Montague), his sister Frieda (Gordana Jenell), and a woman that I like to refer to as Ilsa-lite in Dr. Zuber (Steph Van Vlack).

This wouldn't be a proper entry in the genre without a group of prisoners who are planning an escape from their tormentors, and the gang is rounded out by Jack (Edward Yankus), an American who is the brains behind the operation, the Scottish Lucille (Brenda Cooney), the straight-out-of-a-blaxploitation flick Marjie (Marjie Kelley), and the Southern belle in Candice (Tammy Dalton). Throw in a Russian prisoner (Tatyana Kot) who is being tortured daily as a result of her withholding information vital to the German war effort, and you have yourself a movie.

Let's get the bad out of the way first, shall we? I'm just going to go ahead and say it: Blitzkrieg: Escape from Stalag 69 is too damned long. It clocks in at over two hours, when really, it could have been cut down to a typical ninety-minute feature. I wouldn't go so far as to say that the film is padded, but there are scenes that do little to establish anything beyond what we have already seen, and there are also scenes that go on for around five minutes when their points could have been made in two. A tighter running time would have helped my enjoyment immensely, but by the same token, I wasn't thoroughly disgusted with the end product either - just a little disappointed.

With that said, the lengthy running time does allow the filmmakers plenty of opportunity to insert gratuitous violence and wanton nudity, and the film does deliver in that regard. We get to see not one but two penises cut off, bamboo shoots forced under fingernails, flogging, electrical shocks, stabbings, cuttings, shootings, hangings, and yes, there are even a pair of nipples that find themselves removed from their titty hosts. If you came to see some gore, some violence, plenty of the red stuff, and a healthy dosage of T&A, then you picked up the right movie.

If the internet is to be believed, Blitzkrieg: Escape from Stalag 69 was shot on a budget of just ten grand. I can't confirm that number, but there are moments where I'd readily believe it and others where I'd think it was a bold-faced lie. The sound editing is a small step above atrocious, as volume levels consistently rise and fall while some scenes feature crystal clear dialogue and others are muffled to the point where you just give up on understanding what is being said. Some of the special effects are a little silly (the penises spring to mind), but some of the gags were pulled off surprisingly well. On the positive side, the costumes used for the Nazis were damned good, and though I'm no history buff and wouldn't notice if a pin was out of place or a logo was on the wrong side of the jacket, I can definitely say that I was convinced with what I saw on my screen. Some films were content to slap a trench coat on a guy and plaster a Nazi logo on his arm, but I applaud the filmmakers here for going the extra mile in the wardrobe department.

Bottom line, should you pick this movie up? If you're a fan of Naziploitation flicks, then yes, you should have it on your desk right now. It's not a film that will redefine the genre, but it's certainly not the worst release that I've seen of its type. If you're inexperienced with the genre but love a good, trashy night in front of the tube with lots of gore and plenty of girls baring it all for the screen, then yes, you too should be picking it up. It's a sleazy slice of grindhouse garbage, and though it's not perfect, it's certainly entertaining. 7/10.
George Snow #1: George Snow - added 10/30/2009, 12:25 AM
This is in my Netflix cue, Brenda Cooney who played Louise in Us Sinners is in this. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
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