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.
Edit: We're writing in 2019 now, and we finally checked out one of the sequels. It's unreal, and we mean that in a bad way. You can read about it here.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 06
1944—D-Day Begins
The Battle of Normandy, aka D-Day, begins with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of northern France in an event codenamed Operation Overlord. The German army by this time is already seriously depleted after their long but unsuccessful struggle to conquer Russia in the East, thus Allied soldiers quickly break through the Nazi defensive positions and push inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history.
June 05
1963—John Profumo Resigns
British Secretary of State for War John Profumo resigns after the revelation that he had been sexually involved with a showgirl and sometime prostitute named Christine Keeler. Among Keeler's close acquaintances was a senior Soviet naval attaché, thus in addition to Profumo committing adultery then lying about it before the House of Commons, authorities pressed for his resignation because they also feared he had been plied for state secrets.
June 04
1939—Journey of the St. Louis
The German passenger liner MS St. Louis, carrying 963 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida, United States, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later die in Nazi concentration camps. The event becomes the subject of a 1974 book, Voyage of the Damned, by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts, and is later adapted into a film with the same title, released in 1976.
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