Plot: What’s it about?
When it comes to cruelty and brutality, no one does it better than Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne) a sadistic female Nazi commandant. Ilsa isn’t just cruel and sadistic though, she redefines those words with her disturbing and torturous behaviors. Her actions consist mainly of experiments on various prisoners, which range from excruciatingly painful to flat out lethal. She claims her experiments have a purpose however, to prove that women can withstand more pain than men and therefore deserve the right to be on the front lines in times of war and conflict. While she does seek to prove that point, Ilsa’s main reason behind her actions is that she loves to witness the suffering of her victims. When she’s had her fill of causing pain to her victims, Ilsa turns her attentions toward her own sexual desires, which means she’ll sleep with whomever she wants, whenever she wants. While she can torture victims and indulge her sexual whims whenever she wants now, as the Allied forces come closer to defeating the Germans, her time seems to be running out. As such, Ilsa raises the levels of her sadistic and sexual depravations in an effort to cash in while she can. Will Ilsa be able to escape with impunity or will she have a taste of the suffering and devastation she has caused others?
Man…talk about a dominant female, they don’t come more dominant than this one. This is an unusual and sometimes disturbing movie, but I think it makes for an interesting alternative to mainstream fare. This film is focused on strange, painful experiments and sexual gratification, so if you’re offended by that manner of entertainment keep this one out of your collection. The violence is more implied than shown so it’s not that graphic aside from some blood and a few exceptions, so don’t expect a gush of on screen graphic violence. But when it comes to the issues of the flesh, you’ll see all the action you can handle. This has more than a fair amount of naked female flesh and sexual situations, so make sure the kiddies are in the other room for this one. And if you’re trying to watch this in secrecy, make sure to turn the volume down because Ilsa is a loud one. If you’re looking for total sickness and graphic acts of disturbing violence, this won’t satisfy you even with its few blood laced scenes. But I recommend the movie as a rental to those who are interested, because it does make for a memorable hour and a half.
This film was directed by Don Edmonds, who also directed the next film in this series. Edmonds does a terrific turn behind the camera, showing us just enough to make the point without using too much graphic imagery. Some might not like this approach, but I feel sometimes what we don’t see can be more powerful than what we do and I feel that concept works well here. So whether its character placement or camera angle, Edmonds seems to have the perfect touch on what we should be able to see. If you want more of Edmonds’ films I recommend Bare Knuckles, Wild Honey, Tender Loving Care, and Terror On Tour. In order for this film to work it needed a strong female lead, and Dyanne Thorne fills that need very well. Thorne plays the ball busting commandant to sheer perfection, and blends sexual charisma with sadistic charm well also. She might be one mean bitch but you’ll still want a piece of the action. In addition to her work in this series, Thorne also acted in such films as Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman, Blood Sabbath, and The Erotic Adventures Of Pinocchio. The supporting cast also includes Tony Mumolo (Tv’s Kojak), Gregory Knoph, and Maria Marx.
Video: How does it look?
Ilsa, She Wolf Of The SS is presented in a 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. If I didn’t know better I would assume this is a recent film, since the image quality is so terrific. The image is quite sharp and refined with a near pristine source print, as well as almost flawless compression. The colors seem bright and never bloom or smear, while flesh tones appear natural and consistent. The contrast is also top notch, with high visible detail level and accurate shadow depth. Another cult classic gets a fine visual presentation from Anchor Bay!
Audio: How does it sound?
This release uses the original mono track which offers an acceptable audio experience. This is an audio focused film by any means, so the lack of surround use is not really an issue. The music sounds clean and has no traces of distortion, which surprised me to be honest. The minimal effects that appear sound crisp and distinct, but they are usually background audio anyway. The dialogue is what counts in this mix and it has excellent clarity and consistent volume.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release contains a terrific audio commentary track, featuring director Edmonds, producer David F. Friedman, as well as Ilsa herself, Dyanne Thorne. This track makes for an interesting listen indeed and sheds some light on many aspects of the film. If you’re a fan of this movie, you need to give this track a spin for sure. You’ll also find the theatrical trailer and some talent files.