Friday, September 6, 2013

Greta - Haus ohne Männer (1977)

... aka: Greta, la donna bestia
... aka: Greta, the Mad Butcher
... aka: Greta, the Sadist
... aka: Greta, the Torturer
... aka: Ilsa: Absolute Power
... aka: Ilsa: Ultimate Perversion
... aka: Wanda the Wicked Warden

Directed by:
Jesus Franco

Dyanne Thorne is back as a sadistic, domineering bitch who gets her jollies torturing naked young women in this sleazy Swiss / West German cash-in on Thorne's highly successful Ilsa series. Despite Thorne's character being named Greta in this one, the film was released in the U.S. as Ilsa, the Wicked Warden for obvious reasons, but elsewhere as Wanda, the Wicked Warden for reasons that aren't quite so obvious. After several minutes of gratuitous full frontal female nudity in a groupie shower scene as well as Thorne showing off her spectacular figure in a bubble bath, Rosa Phillips (Esther Studer) manages to escape into the jungle. A few guys armed with rifles head out after her. Rosa slits one's throat before being shot in the back. She manages to hide out in a cave until the coast in clear and then hobbles along to the doorstep of Dr. Milton Arcos (Franco) and passes out. He brings her inside, where she deliriously pleads for "No more shock treatment!" Greta and her guards soon show up to take the girl back to where she escaped from and claim she dies two weeks later, supposedly of a rare blood disease.

Greta runs the Los Palomas Clinic, which was "established for treating sexual deviations in women; harmless abnormalities such as nymphomania, lesbianism, prostitution..." The institute is highly secretive and is run exactly like a maximum security prison.... only worse! No visitors are allowed inside, no patients are allowed outside and the entire staff seems to be in on making the patients' lives as miserable as possible. Dr. Arcos holds a press conference questioning the clinic and asking for an investigation into their practices, but all the red tape is holding things up. Abbie (Tania Busselier), Rosa's vengeful sister, doesn't have the patience to wait and gets Dr. Arcos to write up a false diagnosis to have her committed to Los Palomas (under the name "Abolina Garcia"). Her first day there, she's stripped by a pair of butch guards, who make fun of her small breasts and "pubic nest" being infested with crabs and then spray her face, crotch and ass with a fire hose. She's then given a short button-up, but no panties, and is taken to the dorms.

The clinic forbids the use of real names and if you slip they brand the number on your "ta-tas" lest you forget. Abbie is called "Number 41" and then goes to meet the other patients. One girl won't stop singing, another cries constantly and "Number 14" (Peggy Markoff) has anger issues, furiously knits and claims to have been a man at one point in her life. The queen bee of the dorms is the tough dyke Juana (Lina Romay), who bullies all of the other women and has her way with whoever she wants. But while Juana may be at the top of the pecking order among the patients, she's still at the whim of Greta, who forces her to give her massages and then uses her as a human pincushion. Still, Juana gets special privileges for the arrangement, like cigarettes and none of the harsher tortures. After getting into a cat fight with Juana for refusing to wash her "cholo" in shower, Abbie is taken to Greta, who immediately shoots acid into her vagina with a syringe, gives her shock treatment and then chains her up in solitary confinement.

The plot ultimately seems to be trying to make some kind of political statement (some of the prisoners kept in solitary in the basement are revolutionaries; a terrorist is assassinated and check the graffiti on the bathroom walls) but it's so scattershot and unfocused no one's really going to care, least of all the target audience for something like this. To up the sleaze quotient, naked ladies in the basement are whipped and administered electric shocks to the nipples, Romay's character makes a woman lick her "culo" (ass) right after she gets off the toilet and Greta occasionally likes to bring in depraved male sex offenders to rape some of the women. Her assistant, Dr. Rego (Eric Falk), tapes these sessions and then sells them to a collector, who's wanting more and more extreme stuff and offers to pay top dollar for a snuff film. The dialogue is often hilariously crude and raunchy ("Piss off you blonde bitch and you can take your brother, jack him off and shove him up your stinking ass!") and this is much more entertaining than the director's other 'captive women' efforts.

Franco's WOMEN WITHOUT INNOCENCE (1977), filmed the same year for the same producer and featuring many of the same actresses, had an identical setting (a nuthouse full of sexually confused women) and recycled many of the scenes and characters from this one.

There's an interesting commentary track on the Anchor Bay DVD with Thorne and husband Howard Mauer, who plays a small role as an officer. Both have (mostly) nice things to say about the director but she states she had a no frontal nudity clause in her contract but Franco snuck and filmed some with her anyway and that he pretty much just made all of this up as they went along. Apparently, this was also pitched to its star as a true story about real-life snuff filmmakers working out of a psychiatric clinic (which ended up being just a tiny subplot in the finished product) and that she had to change her hair color to red so people wouldn't assume that she was playing Ilsa again (though that ended up happening anyway thanks to several later title changes).



Anonymous said...

Too bad there really seems to be no one (besides Andreas Bethmann) who makes them like this anywhere.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Have any recommendations for Bethmann? I've not seen any of his films.

Anonymous said...

I have some of his films (which come in these nice, VHS-style clamshell cases) but haven't had the time to watch them, so I can't really say much about them. Ones that look okay are:

* Rossa Venezia (2003)
* Exitus Interruptus (2006)
* Angel of Death 2: The Prison Island Massacre (2007)
* Exitus II: House of Pain (2008)
* K3: Prison of Hell (2009)

He was apparently buds with Franco, who cameoed in some of his films with his wife, and German "underground horror" names like Andreas Schaas, Timo Rose, and Olaf Ittenbach (who did the gore for K3, AofD 2, and the upcoming Terror Creek).

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Thanks a lot for the list. I'll try to check one of those out sometime here soon. I'll probably view one of the ones Franco and Romay are in.

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