Yeah, forgive me for sounding like a Sesame Street segment, but "One of these things is NOT like the other!"
Similarly, as the actual film opens the producer (Herman Traeger) takes the time (in the form of a red-band title card) to not only claim that the events depicted in this film are based on actual events (the characters being composites of real bad actors of the day) but also to "dedicate this film with the hope that these heinous crimes will never occur again." Honorable words, yes. And with that, we fade into a scene of our TITular Character completely naked and having Basic Instinct-like sex with one of her prisoners. Personally, I can't imagine anybody touched by the holocaust taking this "Dedication" as legitimate or appreciated. Offensive CRAP on the other hand... that I can see anybody taking this as.
Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS was one of a whole series of Nazisploitation Flicks that were regurgitated onto grindhouse screens in the 1970s and onto seedy video store shelves in the 1980s. Ilsa takes a lot of cues from the Nazi Sex Exploitation flicks that came before it, most notably Love Camp 7 and, after becoming an international sleazy success, influenced a butt load of bad flicks that followed it, such as L'Ultima orgia del III Reich. If you've seen most of these flicks, you've seen Ilsa, but she's got it all. A sadistic lesbian guard, a mean-spirited commandant, a camp full of abused and usually naked women, a single sympathetic male, a burgeoning revenge plot and so forth. Even the Torture scenes are identical to either those that came before or those that came after. How this one didn't get Banned in the UK as a Video Nasty is hard to fathom as it's even banned in GERMANY! The easiest answer is that to be banned as a Video Nasty a movie first had to be a Nasty Video in the UK... and Ilsa was denied permission (by the BBFC) to even run in British Movie theatres. Interestingly enough, this film is available to purchase in England via Amazon.co.uk!
But on to the Pissy Plot. Ilsa (played by model and Vegas showgirl turned actress Dyanne Thorne, who has since become an ORDAINED MINISTER with a Ph.D. in Comparative Religions[!!!]) is a sadistic Major for the Third Reich, supervising medical experiments on her captives. While this generally focuses on the women (for stupid reasons we'll get to in a moment), the men get some nauseating punishment too. Remember that naked Basic Instinct opening scene? Well she has the guy she had that mind-blowing sex with castrated soon afterward because he gets off too quickly, forcing her to masturbate with a shower head. Poor lady. Can you blame the guy? Her measurements are 37D-22-35! But he gets castrated, man... and he wasn't the only one!
Beyond this, though, Ilsa's main goal is to prove that women are actually tougher than men and therefore, soldiers such as herself can be sent to the front line. Okay, then... Ahem. In order to prove this she subjects her female patients to all manner of torture, from pressurized rooms to nipple clamps to boiling water to even one big, huge electrified vibrator. In some of the scenes I wasn't sure whether that was actual torture or not. Other shots leave the ambiguity out completely and we're given all kings of disgusting shots of naked women with blood on them from varied "medical experiments" that I won't even repeat here.
Fuck, I hate Nazis.
Soon, Ilsa meets her match in the form of a German-Descended American Student who was living in Germany when the war broke out (man!) named Wolfe. Now, Wolfe (Gregory Knoph), aside from being handsomer than Ken Doll and John Edwards put together has one thing that Mario (Tony Mumolo) and all the other eunuchs Ilsa has left in her wake never had. I'll give you a hint... unlike most guys, Wolfe will never, ever, ever need viagara, because he never, ever, ever goes soft until he's READY to release. Okay, that was more than a hint. Has anyone seen my sense of subtlety? I seem to have misplaced it.
So... you see what kind of mature, sensitive movie this is. A Nazi Commandant played by an erotically beautiful, oft-naked model meets a penis that never goes soft. Yes, I'm sure the Jewish Anti-Defamation League has sent writers Jonah Royston and John C. W. Saxton all kinds of fruit baskets as "THANK YOUS" for all their good work. No doubt director Don Edmonds is often a guest speaker at their meetings.
All involved seem to want to push the boundaries further and further. Uschi Digard is given a bloody de-pressurization scene... while naked; porn star Sharon Kelly gets one of those too-often-used upside-down hanging scenes... while naked; way hot and super tough Maria Marx (as Anna) gets all kinds of torture once Ilsa finds out she's super tough... all the while she's naked. Ilsa's two hot henchwomen commonly engage in their experimental torture duties while topless, as does Ilsa herself. Later on Ilsa "forces" Wolfe (poor bastard) to prove his "staying power" by having long-lasting sex with both henchwomen, Ingrid (Jo Jo Deville) AND Maigret (Sally Richman) in one of the more explicit of the soft-core porno scenes (ruined by the constant sight of hairy man-ass). If this isn't all enough extreme depravity, when the Nazi General (Richard Kennedy) shows up for inspection, Ilsa urinates on him.
Folks, it's simply a ridiculous, nasty little movie. There's even an appearance of the hanging-victim-on-ice-block torture that we see again in Saw IV. Good job, Lion's Gate folks... rip of this garbage.
It's very strange to say this, but to an extent this is all in fun, or, at least, is intended to be. While it's almost impossible to buy the concept that this thing was a viable "dedication" of any kind, it also goes a long way toward making Nazis look like not only assholes but idiots too. But, let's face it, this is still all at the expense of good taste. Further, this isn't exactly what I'd call a "feminist" movie. In fact, I'm thinking that Don Edmonds should think about entering into group therapy with a certain Umberto "Nightmare City" Lenzi to air out some of their issues with women.
Setting morality aside, this film still isn't any good. Wolfe falls in love with one of the many prisoners seemingly just for the hell of it, there's consistent depravity all over the place, more gore than a Hellraiser flick and an underlying and undeniable feeling that the whole thing was completely unnecessary. For all its obvious exploitative qualities and ridiculous vices, apparently the whole fake feminism and phony sincerity succeeded greatly in keeping Grindhouse patrons from feeling guilty for watching this trashy film because it became a big cash cow that spawned a whole fuck load of immitators, two sequels and one semi-sequel. But on WorldsGreatestCritic.com it spawns a Dog rating! Yeah, there are a lot of beautiful naked women in this movie and I, for one, could stand to see tough-chick Maria Marx in a few thousand other flicks (alas, she made only one other, twenty-three years later). And that latter day flick didn't have Nazis in it. Really, this movie didn't have to have Nazis in it! Think about how much greater this would've been without the Nazis and the Blood. Ilsa, Lone Wolf of the Ass, Ass! She could have a Summer Camp where all the women are just hanging out casually naked and instead of gruesome experiments they could endure relaxing massages, dips in the hot tub and coconut oil baths. Seriously, missed opportunity there.
But for more of that sort of thing, you can just follow up on the career of sweet, sweet redhead Sharon Kelly whose porn career spans twenty years and ninety-nine films (including this one). You like that? Well, here's a bit more trivia for you... Sexy Maria Marx just happened to be married to the director of some other Exploitation flicks, notably 1971's Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song... yep, Melvin Van Peebles himself. Together they had three children, including Mario Van Peebles. More trivia? Okay, you asked for it, you got it! The set might look a bit familiar to TV Buffs, and it should, seeing as how the film makers saved a pants load of money by using the set of Hogan's Heroes. True story. And to think ol' Hogan was doing all kinds of naked things off-camera (or, rather, on other cameras). Seems like he could've just stayed on set, starred in this and killed two birds with one stone. But that's another movie. I would say I'll see you and it in the next reel, but really... I've seen it already. See you Later, Nazi Hater!
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Now, admittedly, I didn't watch this with a woman, but I can bet that VIBRATOR one might not be quite the torture that this film makes it out to be.