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Anchor Bay presents
Ilsa She Wolf of the SS (1974)

"Once a prisoner has slept with me, he vill never sleep with a woman again. If he lives, he vill remember only the pain of the knife. Proceed."
- Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: July 06, 2000

Stars: Dyanne Thorne
Other Stars: Greg Knoph, Sandi Richman, Tony Mumolo, Maria Marx, Wolfgang Roehm
Director: Don Edmonds

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for where to begin!!....nudity, sexual situations, extreme gore, language, sadomasochistic abuse, torture, mutilation, water sports, Nazis with whips, etc. etc. etc.
Run Time: 01h:36m:00s
Release Date: July 18, 2000
UPC: 013131110593
Genre: cult

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A B+A+C+ A-

DVD Review

Producer David Friedman knew that one of the best ways to make money in the film market is to deliver shock value. With Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, he hit the jackpot. Few taboos are left untouched, and we're presented with one weird, sexual or brutal scene after another. Anchor Bay delivers the film complete and uncut, apparently for the first time ever.

Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne) is the kommandant of a German prison camp in the waning days of World War II, engaged in bizarre medical experiments upon the attractive and nearly always nude young women; at the same time she is conducting her own sexual experiments with the men of the camp, mutilating them when they are unable to satisfy her properly. She meets her match with a pair of prisoners, Anna (Maria Marx) and Wolfe (Gregory Knoph). Anna refuses to snap no matter what torture Ilsa gives her, and Wolfe is able to gratify Ilsa without his own satisfaction.

The film was conceived as an exploitation throwaway, but has developed a sizable cult following over the years, and is studied in UCLA film classes and is a particular favorite of Quentin Tarantino. Ilsa was shot in only nine days, but it displays a fair amount of craftsmanship, with attractive lighting, interesting and varied camera work, convincing effects and earnest acting by the principals. The subordinate Nazis range from fair to wretched, but it's Ilsa who is the highlight of the film. The voluptuous Dyanne Thorne is unforgettable in this cult favorite role which led to three more Ilsa films. She takes evident glee in her various tortures and at the next moment is begging Wolfe to humiliate her and take her as a slave. It helps that there are convincing settings: the film was shot on the sets from Hogan's Heroes on the sly.

Even though this film is over 25 years old, it still has plenty of shock value in it. If the torture doesn't get you, the writhing maggots in one of the prisoner's legs will, and if that doesn't do it, then the bloody climax will. The only letdown is that the inevitable revenge of the prisoners is too quick and unsatisfying; after this parade of horrors the viewer really wants something horrible done to Ilsa and her henchwomen, something along the order of Tod Browning's Freaks. The climax just doesn't quite meet the setup which it has been given.

Although burdened with a silly script, this is definitely an unforgettable film. Definitely not for every taste, but what it does, it does well.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Anchor Bay has done it again. Working from the original negative of the film, they have produced a flawless anamorphic transfer. I don't see a single bit of frame damage, colors are natural and bright, and shadow detail is excellent. I don't know how they coax this out of these old source materials, when the major studios seem unable to do it. I do know that I wish that Anchor Bay was in charge of handling the transfers on every DVD made. The other studios could take a lesson from this. It's first class all the way. And to think that they did it for Ilsa She Wolf of the SS!

Image Transfer Grade: A+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The sound is the original mono. Most of it sounds ADR-produced, but the dialogue is clear throughout. The music is slightly distorted in the climax but overall the sound is adequate.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Star Dyanne Thorne, Director Don Edmonds, Producer David Friedman
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The primary extra is an extremely informative commentary, with the star, Dyanne Thorne, producer David Friedman and director Don Edmonds, taped all together. Comedian Martin Lewis acts as moderator, but is rather outmatched by the guests. Lewis' information is almost entirely derived from the IMDB and he is corrected at numerous points by all three commentators. Thorne in particular is animated and all three discuss the film frankly. There is a tendency for them to keep coming back to Thorne's typecasting after this film, referring to it as destroying her career. She may have been typecast, but she is certainly memorable, which wasn't the case earlier in her career. In any event, there are plenty of anecdotes to make any fan happy as well as interesting information about how the film got made in the first place.

There is a nasty trailer with much nudity and gore included, as well as talent bios for Thorne, Edmonds and Friedman. No subtitles are included. The chaptering is extremely generous.

Extras Grade: A-


Final Comments

This movie is only for the adventurous. Fans of drive-in exploitation films will surely want to own Ilsa She Wolf of the SS in this wonderful presentation. A first rate disc, if this content is your cup of tea.


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