Friday, March 30, 2012

Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (1975)



"Ilsa is an evil Nazi warden at a death camp that conducts medical experiments. Ilsa's goal is to prove that woman can withstand more pain and suffering than men and therefore should be allowed to fight on the front lines."

Although "women in prison" dramas aren't really my thing, I had nothing better to watch so I went through all four "Ilsa" exploitation movies back to back.

Obviously the first one, "Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS", is the best one and it gained some notoriety during the "video nasty" era in Britain. I'm still not completely sure if an uncut version is legally available in the UK especially as the short run of the Anchor Bay DVD release is now stupidly expensive.

For what it was, which was basically a softcore porn movie with some torture scenes, "Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS" kept my interest all the way through. I wouldn't say that any of the acting was particularly good but Dyanne Thorne, in spite of not being that attractive facially to me, was quite sexy in other ways.

The story itself was a bit of a boy's adventure in spite of the emphasis really being on the girls in the film. It was juvenile and exploitative but some of the effects held up well for a film made 38 years ago. The make-up was very good indeed but the hirsuteness of the women tended to take away a lot of the eroticism from their scenes as did all the screaming in agony which also accompanied most of them.


As we all know, the Nazis did far worse things in their stalags than anything depicted in this film but, if you are a little bit delicate, you might still find the torture and gore scenes shocking. Some people find films like this funny but they have something mentally wrong with them anyway.

I'm not sure if I actually enjoyed my time with "Ilsa" as much as I was fascinated by what the filmmakers got away with back in the 1970s. The sequels ("Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks", "The Wicked Warden" and "The Tigress of Siberia") completely ignored the ending of "Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS" and were just more of the same in different settings except weaker and more toned down.

Since the "Ilsa" movies are really cult exploitation fodder rather than horror per se, I'm dubious about recommending them to horror fans, but, with the current dearth of any new horror releases, they are something to pass the time with instead of rewatching the classics over and over again.

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