Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (1975)

Director: Don Edmonds
Writers: Jonah Royston, John C.W. Saxton (as Jonah Royston)
Stars: Dyanne Thorne, Gregory Knoph, Tony Mumolo

Should this have been banned on its content (or even Nazi depiction)? Should this kind of film be ‘entertaining’? Not my place to say, but if you check it out (cut version can be found on YouTube) then don’t say you were not warned. Castration and other parts lopped off, burning things shoved in places they shouldn’t…sex…humiliation…brutality…ahhh this film has them all. And it’s not even Italian! How glorious it would have been to been able to watch this when it was first released (or not as it was pretty much instantly banned here).

My love for horror came at an earlier age than it perhaps should have done. Certainly from a legal point of view. My love of bad, dodgy exploitation trash came later, probably mid to late teens. This was one of the first I saw that started that particular love affair. The grainy VHS copy only added to the experience. The story tells of Ilsa (the buxom Thorne), a Nazi officer based in a concentration camp with a fetish for torture and pleasure in equal amounts. “Do not be afraid, we are doctors” (she says to new ‘captives’) is one of the many ridiculous and foreboding lines of dialogue in this trash piece of cinema.

The plot and story are almost non-existent. Using women as ‘medical experiments’ to prove women can cope with pain better than men and using the men as sexual objects (unless they don’t perform…poor them). That loose plot is just there to enable the many ridiculous and gory scenes (which in turn serve to enable the silly sex scenes). Eventually fate intervenes and a handsome soldier (Knoph) enters the camp. Using him as her sexual outlet (while he uses her for other reasons) she cannot see what’s happening right under her nose, leading to her eventual demise (but don’t worry folks, as the writer/director didn’t think anyone would remember this rubbish, she appears again in the sequels hehe).

Now let’s not be wearing our rose-tinted here, this film is cheesy, badly acted, unintentionally funny and just plain not very good. Does it deserve its reputation as a nasty bit of celluloid? For sure, though viewing now years later (or for your first time), a lot of its shock value is missing, though it can still be shocking. A sign of how desensitized we have become with modern cinema over the last thirty plus years (and the world in general I guess). This a sleaze-fest, it is depraved, plenty of blood and nudity and violence. Everything you’d expect and want from a classic exploitation flick. They don’t make them like this anymore.


The Sage’s Rating:

Posted in Horror, War and tagged , , , , , , .

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