Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1975)

Directed by:
Don Edmonds

Because of the subject matter and the fact it's all done in such an exploitative way, producer "Herman Traeger" / David F. Friedman felt compelled to justify this films existence in an opening disclaimer: "The film you are about to see is based upon documented fact. The atrocities shown were conducted as "medical experiments" in special concentration camps throughout Hitler's Third Reich. Although these crimes against humanity are historically accurate, the characters depicted are composites of notorious Nazi personalities; and the events portrayed have been condenced into one locality for dramatic purposes. Because of its shocking subject matter, the film is restricted to adult audiences only. We dedicate this film with the hope that these heinous crimes will never occur again." Nice try. This sleazefest is simply in very bad taste and that's that. Its mix of graphic gore and violence, gratuitous full female nudity, sex and torture galore turned this film into a huge money-maker and several official sequels and numerous copies (mostly from Italy) followed. It also turned buxom star Dyanne Thorne into an icon of sadism and female dominance, which is supposedly about the polar opposite of the real-life Thorne, who now works as an ordained minister! Despite her newfound career, Mrs. Thorne was kind enough to provide good-natured commentary tracks for the DVD releases. Unlike many others who've done these kind of films, Thorne seems to have few regrets about her portrayal of Ilsa, so kudos to her.

Things begin with Ilsa showing off her fine form while in bed with a prisoner / lover. Not content with just using him for his stud service, Ilsa informs him that "Once a prisoner sleeps with me, he will never sleep with another woman again!" and proceeds to castrate him. The fraulein doktor runs Medical Camp 9, a concentration camp where medical experiments are conducted on the prisoners. The women are divided into two camps: the ones deemed best-looking are forced to service German troops as sex slaves and all of the others are used as test subjects in Ilsa's attempts to prove that women can withstand more pain than men. The male prisoners are forced to dig graves for the others and some are singled out to service Ilsa in bed, usually ending up emasculated in the process. Wolfe (Gregory Knopf), a blonde American POW of German descent, is actually able to satisfy the insatiable commandant so she decides to keep him around, manhood left intact. But little does she know, Wolfe really has eyes for the sweet Rosette (an unbilled Jacqueline Giroux) and is plotting, along with castrated prisoner Mario (Tony Mumolo) and others to revolt.

While some - namely those who actively seek out sick flicks - might not be too shocked by what goes down here, the vast majority of filmgoers will find this one nasty and repulsive (and possibly even offensive). The film has dated well, In fact, the grisly, almost-non-stop torture inflicted upon fully nude victims basically makes most of today's mainstream torture movies (Hostel, et al) look like episodes of 7th Heaven by comparison. Eyeballs are plucked out, toes are ripped off, maggots are put on wounds, bones are snapped and women are hung, boiled alive in a vat of bubbling water, gang raped, electrocuted with nipple clamps and electrodes placed on their privates, violated with burning hot vibrators and infected with syphylis, flesh-eating bacteria, typhoid and gangrene. Pleasant stuff this is not. Anna (Maria Marx), who unwisely talks back to Ilsa, spits in her face and refuses to show signs of fear or pain while being tortured, naturally gets it the worst. You should see what the poor girl looks like by the end of the movie!

The movie certainly isn't without its faults if one wants to get technical. There's very little plot, the acting is highly variable, the accents (at least from those who even both trying with one) are ridiculously bad, the attempts to make this feel like it's actually set in Germany are paltry (in fact, the sets from Hogan's Heroes were used) and there's so much nastiness to go around that the last ten or so minutes of breakout action (explosions, gunfights, etc.) seem almost like an afterthought. However, no one in their right mind will be watching this looking for depth and quality filmmaking, so none of that really matters. The movie is an efficiently-made smörgåsbord of sex and violence; precisely what it was intended to be and remains a must for those into this kind of stuff.

George 'Buck' Flower plays a skeezy doctor and Richard Kennedy (as "Wolfgang Roehm") plays a degenerate Nazi general who makes Ilsa piss on him. There are many uncredited sex film stars in the cast too, including Sharon Kelly (who'd later do hardcore under the name Colleen Brennan) getting whipped to death and strung up, and Uschi Digard, who surpasses even Thorne in the endowment category and dies a bloody death in a pressurized chamber. Both actresses would go to larger roles in the first Ilsa sequel: ILSA: HAREM KEEPER OF THE OIL SHEIKS (which is much more camp than the original). Flower and Kennedy both have roles in it, as well. The other Ilsa movies were Jess Franco's ILSA: THE WICKED WARDEN (which featured Thorne in a similar evil / dominant / sadistic bitch role and was originally called "Greta the Mad Torturer" but was re-titled as an Ilsa movie for U.S. release) and ILSA, THE TIGRESS OF SIBERIA (1977). Joe Blasco provided the special make-up fx.


Paul Awful said...

Whoa thats weird. I just got done watching Franco's Ilsa flick. She Wolf of The S.S. is the best. On the top of my most rewatched movie list. So disgusting that you have to love it.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Yeah it has definitely managed to keep its shock value all these years later and that by itself is pretty impressive! I need to rewatch this whole series but from what I remember Harem Keeper was my favorite of the bunch (though that could easily change on a rewatch).

Paul Awful said...

Yes I like She Wolf the best. Then Haren Keeper and then Wicked Warden. I don't remember liking Tigress at all but it has been a very long time.

Unknown said...

Nigga tf get yo nasty asses off here go watch prisoner of paradise. I Would def blow loads into the two nazi females.

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