ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS
The basic appeal of Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS is a parade of tortures. These become quite extreme burning brands and electrified dildos shoved up the vagina, maggots placed in open wounds, people being boiled alive and splattered in pressure chambers. What is utterly outrageous about Ilsa is how it exploits the Jewish Holocaust for its ends. A pre-credits note announces that it is offering up a true account of the Holocaust atrocities a claim that is surely akin to a porn film declaring that it is making a realistic statement about rape. There is a point where Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS could almost make its case the character of Ilsa is loosely based on Ilse Koch, the notoriously sadistic Bitch of Buchenwald, the wife of the camps commandant who was known for collecting the tattooed skins of prisoners and flogging pregnant women with a razor-tipped whip. There is a vague connection to the real experiments conducted in the death camps by people like Dr Josef Mengele and the film certainly, as it states, does convey a grimness in depicting these. (If Ilsa had gone a little bit further the other way in a less exploitative direction it could almost have been a sobering portrait of sadism as Pier Paolo Pasolinis masterwork Salo or 120 Days of Sodom ). However, when it comes to the climax where the prisoners turn the tables on their torturers with equally sadistic regard, one can see that the producers of Ilsa are only interested in the pornographic presentation of acts of torture without regard for who is conducting them.
Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS features Dyanne Thorne in the role that made her an exploitation queen of sorts (and at the age of 42!). Dyanne Thorne holds attention on screen through the domineering presence of her character. To give the film credit, it at least gives her some character development even if it only the sexist cliche of the cruel and sexually insatiable woman in power who is ultimately tamed by a man and whose lust proves her undoing.
The film is definitely made on the cheap. The Nazi uniforms seem ill-fitting, as though they had simply been rented from the local costume shop, and the death camp consists of merely half-a-dozen wooden huts. (It was in fact shot on the sets left over from the recently defunct Hogans Heroes tv series [1965-71]). To the films credit, it does at least make the attempt to translate its background signs into German.
The Ilsa sequels were: Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976), Ilsa: Absolute Power/Greta the Mad Butcher/Wanda the Wicked Warden (1977) and Ilsa, The Tigress of Siberia (1977). Dyanne Thorne reprised her role in all three of these.