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Panzer 88, a Nazi tank combined with supernatural creatures

Panzer88.jpgSounds crazy doesn't it? However the film Panzer 88 will feature a King Tiger World War II German tank and it's crew heading across the Russian border and coming across an ancient entity.

The descriptions of the film include horror, occult, supernatural, and above all a serious grounding in the reality of World War II around the time of 1944 when Panzer troops crossed the Russian border, it seems reality for this part of the story is going to be important.

What a mix up that sounds, and a strong one too. You can imagine something such as Das Boot, The Hunt for Red October or Crimson Tide, which are all mentioned by the director of the film, as bringing the same feel for the crew aboard the tank, isolated, alone, and then throw in something like The Keep which one of the writers suggests is a comparison to the war and supernatural/occult elements combining. However he's keen to point out that this story is much faster and much, much less sombre.

The director of Panzer 88 is Peter Briggs, who also wrote some of the screenplay along with writers Aaron Mason and James Cowan, and speaking to L.A. Times Hero Complex he says:

”I'd already written a paranormal World War II sequence in the opening of 'Hellboy,' the British filmmaker said. "Tonally, 'Panzer 88' is a tad different from that. Our military aspects are more realistic, and mostly akin to the claustrophobic action and tension of 'Das Boot.' We're aiming to do for the tank genre what 'Hunt For Red October' and 'Crimson Tide' did for submarine flicks. Only, with a supernatural twist. We're upping the ante with visuals, equipment, and scenes that have never been seen in a World War II milieu. In retrospect, it's strange nobody's thought to do this in quite this way before...”

Sounds cracking already, and if you wanted more to sell the idea then Aaron Mason has more:

”The story features German protagonists on the Eastern Front of Russia in October 1944, and Peter and myself labored to anchor the story in the real history of the time, right down to charting actual troop movements. The few tank movies that are out there, like 'Kelly's Heroes' or 'The Battle of the Bulge,' are fairly slow affairs, which is the furthest thing from 'Panzer' which shifts at breakneck speed. We've an occult slant to our story, like Michael Mann's movie, 'The Keep,' although that movie's pretty solemn and plodding, which is so not us.”

Wow, there are some heavy comparisons in there, and the article uses more throughout, as well as a couple of concept art shots which look great, but I think those comparisons made by the makers themselves are perhaps the best and the most informing.

For me though it's the final quote from Mason that blows me away and earns a ton of respect from me for just a few lines. He's right on my wavelength, or rather I'm on his:

”I think movies, and certainly horror movies -- if you want to label 'Panzer 88' as horror -- are struggling and mostly failing now to come up with something new. We're besieged by 3-D and the 'bigger and more' mentality. Well, whatever happened to just doing something different? I think that's what attracted Peter to Jim Cowan and myself's original script. And that freshness is what's making people sit up and notice this project.”

Absolutely. Imagination is what it's all about not just making the same old stuff but throwing gore at the camera for 3D, something more, something a little more thoughtful perhaps. With Panzer 88 we may just get that. What do you think?



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