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.
February 20
1935—Caroline Mikkelsen Reaches Antarctica
Norwegian explorer Caroline Mikkelsen, accompanying her husband Captain Klarius Mikkelsen on a maritime expedition, makes landfall at Vestfold Hills and becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica. Today, a mountain overlooking the southern extremity of Prydz Bay is named for her.
1972—Walter Winchell Dies
American newspaper and radio commentator Walter Winchell, who invented the gossip column while working at the New York Evening Graphic, dies of cancer. In his heyday from 1930 to the 1950s, his newspaper column was syndicated in over 2,000 newspapers worldwide, he was read by 50 million people a day, and his Sunday night radio broadcast was heard by another 20 million people.
February 19
1976—Gerald Ford Rescinds Executive Order 9066
U.S. President Gerald R. Ford signs Proclamation 4417, which belatedly rescinds Executive Order 9066. That Order, signed in 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, established "War Relocation Camps" for Japanese-American citizens living in the U.S. Eventually, 120,000 are locked up without evidence, due process, or the possibility of appeal, for the duration of World War II.
February 18
1954—First Church of Scientology Established
The first Scientology church, based on the writings of science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, is established in Los Angeles, California. Since then, the city has become home to the largest concentration of Scientologists in the world, and its ranks include high-profile adherents such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
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