There is just something particularly odious about Nazisploitation films that seem immediately worse than any of the other vintage, unrated jiggle movies I usually review. On the surface I can understand this, yet it must be said that such films of this subgenre are rarely historically based. In fact, most of them are really just another “women in prison” movie, only with the scariest National flag of the twentieth century looming ubiquitously onscreen somewhere in every possible scene. From there any differences between the two merely become shades of similarity. For example, women’s prison movies seem obsessed with “punishment” for the hapless captives; Conversely, Nazispoliation movies seem to concern themselves with “experimentation”. No matter what they call it, usually involves semi-nude buxom Italian women strapped to things as they are poked and prodded in some suggestive, quasi-sexual fashion, while some authority figure in tall boots watches and scolds them, making stupid and suggestive remarks as they watch, knowing that they control; are wholly responsible for this. As you can imagine, not even I would have the nerve to call such garbage films “high art” yet for lovers of lost, lurid flicks from the late Seventies, there can be no doubt that it does qualify as the epitome of softcore, slap and tickle cinema if not the ultimate form of low art, incarnate.
In typical WIP fashion the film begins with a grim train ride to the “castle” camp prison, after which the women are inspected, shaven (everywhere) and given a work function. The efficiency and meticulousness of these opening scenes are a testament to the German tendency for precision and detail, even admittedly if there isn’t anything remotely happening which might be remotely considered to be a main plot point. Eventually, we meet the camp’s head honcho, a particularly animated Commandant named Herr Erner (played by John Steiner reprising a similar character role he played in SALON KITTY). Now while it must be said that this film contains all the distractions of the genre (lesbianism, shower scenes and all manner of forced, faux-sexual fetishism), I feel that these films must ultimately rely upon the charisma (or complete lack thereof) regarding the leader of the prison camp, and truth be told, Herr Erner is real watchable even if he is not likable. Yet for Nazisploitation, this is exactly an optimal mix of character traits. Watching Herr Erner, I was immediately reminded at how many of his antics and attitudes mirror that of Dyanne Thorne in “ILSA SHE WOLF OF THE SS” (which is considered one of the more groundbreaking films in Nazisploitation). Seriously, for the entire length of the film, Erner is playing right out of Ilsa’s playbook on how to run a camp. When he is not torturing innocents and making murderous examples out of anyone who breaks the camp rules, he is engaging in a torrid, romantic love affair with one of his prisoners; only “occasionally” torturing them in the hope that they will one day learn to “love them” in the way they desperately need to be: (fearfully, with absolute respect). Moreover, much as Ilsa does in her other films, Herr often indulges in homosexual sex with one of his underlings which takes the usual Nazi moral hypocrisy to an even more insane echelon of dark denial…While admittedly I would much rather watch Ilsa doing all of these things than Herr Erner, I have to admit that this film is technically sound…and awesomely awful in all the ways that fans of this subgenre all but insist upon. There are really only about 15 true Nazisploitation films (released in true, unrated format) and I would easily rank this as one of the top three of them ever made.
Of course there are some other technical issues which seem to make this film at times seem “more wrong than Reich” in ways having nothing to do with the usual historical inaccuracies and technical flaws. The print of the screen seems muddy in some place, like a direct transfer from VHS with no image enhancement and sometimes the audio has background noise, especially through long periods of silence. Failing a proper Blu-ray transfer (which seems unlikely due to the “limited commercial appeal” of this film’s subject matter) I could see getting on board with this if you had never seen one of these before as it would make a “nice” first “Nazisploitation” romp. Conversely, in my case it is probably the last classic Grindhouse Nazi/nudie film I haven’t seen up until now and I am happy to be leaving this genre forever on a solid if not “enjoyable” entry. Still I can’t say I would recommend this to most. “Nazispoitation” is perhaps the most terrifying sounding subgenre of stupid softcore sex film until one watches it for themselves and realizes that it’s true “evil” lies only in its absurdity.
Special features include an interview with the director, Rino D Silvestro, an interview with film Historian Dr Marcus Stiglegger about the brief history of “sadoconazista films” and an interview with John “Herr Erner” Stiener himself.