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.
May 18
1926—Aimee Semple McPherson Disappears
In the U.S., Canadian born evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson disappears from Venice Beach, California in the middle of the afternoon. She is initially thought to have drowned, but on June 23, McPherson stumbles out of the desert in Agua Prieta, a Mexican town across the border from Douglas, Arizona, claiming to have been kidnapped, drugged, tortured and held for ransom in a shack by two people named Steve and Mexicali Rose. However, it soon becomes clear that McPherson's tale is fabricated, though to this day the reasons behind it remain unknown.
1964—Mods and Rockers Jailed After Riots
In Britain, scores of youths are jailed following a weekend of violent clashes between gangs of Mods and Rockers in Brighton and other south coast resorts. Mods listened to ska music and The Who, wore suits and rode Italian scooters, while Rockers listened to Elvis and Gene Vincent, and rode motorcycles. These differences triggered the violence.
May 17
1974—Police Raid SLA Headquarters
In the U.S., Los Angeles police raid the headquarters of the revolutionary group the Symbionese Liberation Army, resulting in the deaths of six members. The SLA had gained international notoriety by kidnapping nineteen-year old media heiress Patty Hearst from her Berkeley, California apartment, an act which precipitated her participation in an armed bank robbery.
1978—Charlie Chaplin's Missing Body Is Found
Eleven weeks after it was disinterred and stolen from a grave in Corsier near Lausanne, Switzerland, Charlie Chaplin's corpse is found by police. Two men—Roman Wardas, a 24-year-old Pole, and Gantscho Ganev, a 38-year-old Bulgarian—are convicted in December of stealing the coffin and trying to extort £400,000 from the Chaplin family.
May 16
1918—U.S. Congress Passes the Sedition Act
In the U.S., Congress passes a set of amendments to the Espionage Act called the Sedition Act, which makes "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government, its flag, or its armed forces, as well as language that causes foreigners to view the American government or its institutions with contempt, an imprisonable offense. The Act specifically applies only during times of war, but later is pushed by politicians as a possible peacetime law, specifically to prevent political uprisings in African-American communities. But the Act is never extended and is repealed entirely in 1920.
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