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Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S.

Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS

Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne), the evil Nazi commandant of Medical Camp 9, is a woman to be feared. Prone to castrating men who fail to satisfy her and flogging workers who speak to the female slaves, she makes her cruel presence known. On top of her usual brutality, she is also conducting endurance experiments on the women in her camp as a means of showing that women can be trained to handle intense pain. When her latest batch of prisoners decide they want nothing to do with her evil scheme, they plan an escape that will ensure that there will be no future victims of Medical Camp 9.

One of the most infamously edited (sometimes down to 45 minutes!) films ever made, Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS should be THE definitive cult film. Supposedly full of graphic violence and sex, this film has repeatedly been the subject of censorship for more than two decades. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the film barely comes through on its promises and is actually contains less sexual situations than the "adult" films associated with producer David F. Freidman's camp.

Unlike the graphic torture seen in, say, Troma's Bloodsucking Freaks (which Ilsa is unjustly compared to), most of Ilsa's torture scenes are implied. Bloodsucking Freaks still remains the most difficult to endure film I have ever watched and Ilsa pales in comparison. There is some violence and gore, but not enough to match many recent films (or many films from the era it was released as well!) As such, the controversy surrounding the film seems a little extreme, though I'm sure that it was shocking for the time it was released.

Amidst the scant sex and violence is the standard escape from prison plot, replete with a violent overthrow by the prisoners and lots of guards dying in slow motion. There is even the good old "getting revenge on your torturous captors" sequence. The shoot out sequence is decently done though, and they even include a cool "splintery" explosion of a guard tower that rains debris all over the camera.

Dyanne Thorne is a frightening amazon of a woman. She plays a Nazi commandant like she was one and she even looks the part. Although she is amazingly endowed, her hard facial features literally draw your attention away from most everything else. Depending on your own personal reaction to Ms. Thorne, there are three more sequels to this film featuring her, two of which are available in the US (even though her character is killed at the end of the first film!). Fans of the 1987 cult favorite Real Men will also recognize Ms. Thorne as the woman that hits on John Ritter, until James Belushi reveals that she is actually his transsexual father.

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