Part 11 of 13, excerpted from an essay entitled “Disturbo 13: The Most Disturbing Horror Films Ever Made” by Stanley Wiater.
Not the first motion picture to exploit the sadism of the Nazis during World War II, and certainly not the last, what is so disturbing about Ilsa is that it has become a cult classic. What the attraction may be of a beautiful female commandant (played with gleeful relish by Dyanne Thorne) in a camp where only female prisoners are endlessly tortured as part of ghastly “scientific experiments” is certainly open to question. Just the idea of using torture as a form of entertainment is reprehensible enough, but when one realizes that all the tortures depicted in the movie may have actually occurred in the concentration camps, the mind if not the stomach certainly reels. (Add to this the report that the film was shot on the standing set of the television series Hogan’s Heroes, and the stomach reels as well.)
There isn’t a single likable character in the movie—and when Ilsa isn’t whipping some naked prisoner, she is shown as a nymphomaniac fucking a different man every night. And any man who doesn’t satisfy her insatiable sexual desires is summarily tied down on the operating table and castrated the next morning. Fortunately—if that is the right word—the acting a direction are so over the top that Ilsa can perhaps be thought of as “camp”—a Nazi version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Amazingly enough, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS is only the first in a series, each movie placing the immortal Ilsa in a different time period and section of the globe. For those who need to know: Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks, Ilsa, Tigress of Siberia, and Ilsa, Wicked Warden. (Originally titled Wanda, the Wicked Warden and later transmogrified into an official Ilsa movie.) Like the first film, each is filled to vomiting with well-staged scenes of sexual perversion and torture to titillate the fancies of any true sadist.