Panzer 88 came across my radar several months ago when I read a fantastic interview on Bloody Disgusting with writer/director Peter Briggs (who wrote the script for Hellboy). Briggs is a hardcore genre enthusiast, and somehow managed to get the backing of Gary Kurtz (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Crystal). The film is a low-budget ($20 million) horror flick, with some pretty cool potential. It’s in development now, with no cast in place yet, but in addition to getting Kurtz on board, they’ve also got WETA, the New Zealand based effects house that worked on The Lord of the Rings trilogy and District 9.
The story is a pretty cool one — it’s essentially another tin can movie, with a dash of the supernatural, and a Das Boot-like setting. Here’s a description from co-writer Aaron Mason:
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.
It will feature some incredibly accurate WWII-era hardware, including the titular Panzer tank, as well as a massive railroad gun. Both are pictured here (click to enlarge):
Cool, no? Not nearly as cool as the newest bit of production art that just came out in an interview with Kurtz done by the LA Times (via Slashfilm) (click to enlarge):
Whoa. That’s… interesting.