Vintage Pulp Aug 16 2015
A WOLF IN NAZI'S CLOTHING
Dyanne Thorne and company recreate the horrors of the Third Reich—with nudity


Thanks to having stumbled across this interesting piece of Japanese promo art, we've finally gotten around to watching probably the most notorious naziploitation movie of all time—Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS. How scandalous is this bizarre Canadian produced b-flick? The Independent Film Journal attested that, “Only the most dangerously sadistic mentalities will manage to sit voluntarily through more than ten minutes of [the film], a graphic, stomach-churning catalogue of Nazi medical atrocities that makes Texas Chainsaw Massacre look like a Sunday picnic.” Well, if there's one thing we've learned doing this website it's that people will pronounce you morally deficient for daring to decide for yourself. We watched the film—all of it—and while we didn't feel sadistic or depraved, we did come to the conclusion that it's terrible.

Naziploitation was a subset of women-in-prison flicks that usually purported to educate the public about the horrors of the Nazi regime, but with profuse amounts of nudity and sex included in the telling. Outside the women-in-prison genre, screenwriters had to come up with rationales for having actresses lose their clothes. Thus they'd include skinny-dipping scenes, pillow fights, shower scenes, and whatever else they could squeeze in to augment the sex. But in prison no reasons are needed for nudity. The women are naked because the jailers want them that way. Full stop. Jésus Franco took the women-in-prison concept to its logical extreme when he had the female cast of Frauen für Zellenblock 9 stark naked and mostly sweaty for pretty much the entire second half of the film.

Ilsa doesn't go as far as Jésus Franco did on the nudity, but it certainly pushes the violence envelope. In some ways the movie isn't substantially different from recent hit films like Hostel or Saw, but while transgressive violence in cinema has been perfectly acceptable for at least forty years, sexualized violence has become a serious no-no. It's on this level that Ilsa shocks—literally, in fact, as a wicked looking electrified dildo is used on the female prisoners at one point. There are also naked whippings, naked beatings, rapes, castrations, naked pressure chamber tortures, and more. If you are able to remember that it's just a movie what will strike you is that it's cheap and poorly acted. Lead actress Dyanne Thorne's accent is right out of Hogan's Heroes, which is ironic, because the film was made on the old set of that show.

In the end the question you may have is why make such a movie? Well, it was the ’70s. Thirty years removed from the end of World War II, creators who had never fought in the war were closely examining and re-imagining Nazis not only in film, but in books, tabloids, and even comics. To them it probably seemed a natural progression in shattering old taboos. We imagine the backlash against them must have been terrific. And appropriate too. Yes, Ilsa is bad, bad, bad. But guess what? It's still just a movie—one that spawned two sequels, actually. Which we suppose could be seen as proof of the worth of the first film, or a blanket indictment of the entire ’70s, depending on your point of view. But we won't call you dangerously sadistic for checking the flick out. At worst, if you actually do sit through all of it, we'll call you patient to a fault. Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS premiered in Japan today in 1975

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 19
1927—Mae West Sentenced to Jail
American actress and playwright Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for the content of her play Sex. The trial occurred even though the play had run for a year and had been seen by 325,000 people. However West's considerable popularity, already based on her risque image, only increased due to the controversy.
1971—Manson Sentenced to Death
In the U.S, cult leader Charles Manson is sentenced to death for inciting the murders of Sharon Tate and several other people. Three accomplices, who had actually done the killing, were also sentenced to death, but the state of California abolished capital punishment in 1972 and neither they nor Manson were ever actually executed.
April 18
1923—Yankee Stadium Opens
In New York City, Yankee Stadium, home of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees, opens with the Yankees beating their eternal rivals the Boston Red Sox 4 to 1. The stadium, which is nicknamed The House that Ruth Built, sees the Yankees become the most successful franchise in baseball history. It is eventually replaced by a new Yankee Stadium and closes in September 2008.
April 17
1961—Bay of Pigs Invasion Is Launched
A group of CIA financed and trained Cuban refugees lands at the Bay of Pigs in southern Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro. However, the invasion fails badly and the result is embarrassment for U.S. president John F. Kennedy and a major boost in popularity for Fidel Castro, and also has the effect of pushing him toward the Soviet Union for protection.
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