Grindhouse Goddess Ilsa is back, and, continuing the wackiest possible resume for an estrogen-charged antihero, she now runs the harem for an evil oil sheik named El Sharif; a head of state whose excesses of wealth and pleasure take the phrase “filthy rich” to a whole new meaning. As usual, it’s best not to ponder how the infamous Dyanne Thorne character starts every one of her films, somehow still alive and in complete control of a state sponsored mechanism for torture, rape, mutilation, and murder of hapless captives at a different point in history, but just to sit back and ponder the wrongness that has nothing to do with mere frivolities such as continuity between films (as there is none).
This is genuinely thought to be the softest, most camp of the Ilsa series, but don’t expect a wacky hijinks or a studio audience a laugh track. I am merely implying that, in all her other films, Ilsa plays a military figure obsessed with cruel medical experimentation, enforcing discipline, and, generally, ensuring that nothing could ever threaten to usurp her ultimate power as a camp commander or the security of her country. There are still elements of that sort of thing here, yet, ultimately, she is just a sort of Mad Madame who spends her entire day making sure that her small clutch of beautiful harem girls (kidnapped from all over the world) learns their newfound trade. Her usual antics just seem so awesomely over-the-top, sure to inspire nervous laughter in viewers used to seeing her cruel methods applied to criminals and prisoners of war. Here it all seems so much more extreme when used against a bunch of helpless harem girls. With no one to torture the secrets out of, no war to win, and no cruel medical procedures to study, Ilsa spends much of the film strutting around and breaking the will of her slaves; a task she performs with wanton skill and aplomb.
Of course, it would be an affront to the senses if this was all there was to this film, but, fortunately, this is the entry in the Ilsa series where she actually falls in love (with a visiting American spy, no less). Sadly, her sheik overlord learns of this affair, and sentences Ilsa to public humiliation by having her tied to a stake while she is orally violated by the town vagrant. While this was a stark scene of sexual violence that is never deserved by any woman (not even Ilsa), this was a powerful moment where you just KNEW she was going to get loose and make them all wish they really hadn’t done that during the inevitable violent riot/revolt that occurs in all Ilsa films. This scene is my favorite moment of any Ilsa movie, because it is the only moment where she’s shown any sort of human vulnerability whatsoever (even including her death scenes), and perhaps the only time I actually wanted her to win. Besides that, she just is so damned hot when she is angry, and she gets three kinds of mad in this film.
Once more, Cheezy Flicks is offering this highly sought after film for $6.99; less than price of a cheesy silken veil. The last time this film was offered was in the Anchor Bay boxed set, which is now fetching several hundred dollars on the collector’s market. You should get this. If you bought this plus the last Ilsa film I reviewed here you would have half of the Ilsa Universe by now for less than one of them would cost on VHS in the eighties. Whether it’s due to the seven dollar price point or the emotionally satisfying, unstoppable, bloody rampage of everyone’s favorite double D discipline doll, Ilsa : Harem Keeper of The Oil Sheiks is impossible to beat.
Extras Include trailers for more Cheezy Flicks.
I close this review with an extra special request to Cheezy Flicks. How about a release of Ilsa: Tigress of Siberia? There has never been a non-bootleg Region 1 DVD version of it released, and, personally, I think it would sell like hotcakes (that is, if I have anything to say about it)!