Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
SS Hell Pack (2008)
Kitty Media/Media Blasters | Buy at Amazon | Review by Sinferno

There is just something about old Nazi-ploitation. It is the type of sub-genre of underground sleaze that is disturbing to watch on all psychological levels both logical and artistic. All the elements that have ever been known to excite/incite an audience of drive-in movie fare are evident/prevalent in them. They all have the brutal misogyny of a Joe Franco prison film, they have more crude physical brutality than a SAW film, and all the laughable special effects and makeup of a Troma romp. Yet, to top it off, they are chock full of Nazis which not only attacks the most basic political sensibilities and basic human dignities of the moderate viewer, it assails them in their chair like a Gestapo interrogation until they are ready to submit their suspension of disbelief. Though I am a cult classic movie reviewer and trained to resist such torture, these even made me flinch, made me talk... what follows is my review.

This is the latest three pack from Kitty Media including the films, SS EXPERIMENT LOVE CAMP, SS GIRLS and SS CAMP: WOMEN'S HELL. Three killer campy classics all taking place in various camps of killing itself. Though all three films seemed to be inspired in part or participle by ILSA: SHE WOLF OF THE SS (much like all Naziploitation) the lack of a single lovable victim, or conversely, a cruelly efficient Caligula-like despot such as Ilsa herself, makes these not as good as that awesome genre-spawning classic. However let's pause a minute and admire the packaging, three FULL COLOR slip cases set inside a common cardboard box for $14.99. Evil never looked so good! This is an insane value for drastic classics such as these and other companies should take note. If anyone could have second-tier cinematic swill like this for the same price as all the crappy Stephen king movies in the $5 cut-out Wal-mart bin, it could create a new interest in this stuff, and perhaps some new films from independent studios. Of course, there is more to any product than pretty packages but all the transfers are decent (not perfect) at all times. I was impressed.

S.S. Experiment Love Camp (1976)
A Nazi camp where soldiers are used to breed with captive females to create an army in the least possible time? This is as close to a love story as you will get in Nazi-ploitation. The plot centers on Helmut, a tender young Nazi (the slipcase actually described him as such so you know it's true) who falls in love with one of the test subjects during the experiments. Of course this angers his Colonel who is so overcome with envy at young Helmut's sexual prowess that he orders his testicles removed and transplanted in his own scrotal sack (he lost his own during a rape on the Russian front). He orders the kindly camp doctor – who ironically looks like Pernell Roberts from TRAPPER JOHN M.D. – to help him on his mad medical odyssey under penalty of revealing to the world that he is secretly a Jew. And while this ball-busting nutsie Nazi makes his play for power, there are all the usual trappings and titillations going on. Shower scenes, orgies and all kinds of elaborate medical experiments which all seem to be designed to test how much a naked shivering woman strapped to a gurney will scream before she dies from various pokes and prods. This movie is bleak as a Siberian winter yet there are some moments of hilarity, though unintentional. The fact that the naked bodies placed in the furnace twitch in a lifelike fashion yet do not burn thanks to the fact the flames are poorly superimposed are good for a giggle. And also the speech by one of the commandants to all the men under his command (six guys) telling them that the experiments are designed to preserve the racial traits of an ideal Germany when there isn't a single blond-haired or Aryan-looking man in the room also seemed a bit incredulous, which is funnier still when you realize these men were chosen simply because of their racial traits (apparently, they just let anyone in these days). Finally the fact that there isn't even a scrap of German, (neither a Heil! here not a Halt! there) spoken in the whole movie makes this cinematic atrocity's true lineage seem as dubious as a guy who father's a child using another man's testicles. In either case however, I have to admit, it at least had balls.

SS Girls (1977)
Directed by Bruno Mattei this next one is more raunchy than Reich. The plot centers around an extremely weird Gestapo-like commander Hans Schellenburg who looks and acts like a BACK TO THE FUTURE-era Crispin Glover, only slightly less normal. It appears that many of the officers in the Third Reich are treasonous, plotting to kill Adolf Hitler. So it seems the most perfectly natural way to weed out the traitors is to give a large group of whores paramilitary training so they be positioned in an officer's brothel all so they can over hear plots from their male officer patrons. Of course, the film operates on "B-movie logic" which explicitly states there is no plan in this world, however stupid, that cannot work provided you assign enough hot women to its completion, even if their only contribution is to run around naked with no apparent reason and jiggle about. Suffice to say our "Really Dirty Dozen" complete their task with flying colors and the offending generals are taken care of in the only way that movies like this handle such betrayal. This forces the wacky commander to get such a God complex that during a celebratory threesome he tells the two women he is "with" (and I use this term loosely because he cannot perform sexually) that he is destined to be the new Fuhrer, the new leader of the Reich. Well one of the "party" dolls involved in the coupling gets jealous of the other girl and sends word of this betrayal to his superiors and it isn't long before even more scary German guys come to accuse him of being "treasonous" as he had accused so many before him. From there on, it is just a tragedy of whores that ends up as a bizarre mass suicide that would have made Hitler himself smile. Putrid stupid crap, but still twisted enough to finish. The real bright spot in this movie is the characterization of Schellenburg who is completely cracker box insane. Sometimes he dresses up like the pope, sometimes he plays the piano and other times he speaks in tirades of self-aggrandizing prattle about duty, country and the irresistible power of the Nazi way only so he can slink into a corner and whine, almost crying to himself about the most trivial of things. Anyone who knows of the cruelty that Germany tried to instill into their S.S will find this character hysterically inaccurate. The portrayal of a sleazy, ineffectual, homosexual pervert as a member of Hitler's elite Secret Service who had ultimate power yet engineered his own doom at every turn could have easily made his character every bit at home on the old sitcom HOGAN'S HEROES, perhaps even in the social circle of Bob Crane himself!

SS Camp Women's Hell (1977)
The third and final film fails as a sexploitation flick, but succeeds in showing how the genre might have run its course. First of all the film stars at least five actors from SS EXPERIMENT LOVE CAMP playing the exact same types of characters in this film as they did there (no surprise, I suppose, since Sergio Garrone, that film's director/co-writer, returns to helm this flick). All your favorites are back: Commandant Uni-ball, Evil Schultz, Mrs. Brothelworths, Trapper John and Female Camp Nurse/Woman's High School Athletic Instructor. Of course it's not a true sequel because most of these characters didn't live through the last film, but they are all familiar faces which might have made the plot of WOMEN'S HELL easier to follow... had it had one. Not to say the movie is boring, there are more twitchy bodies being devoured by superimposed flames, obligatory shower scenes and brutal medical experiments which really test nothing but the stomach of the viewer. I am just saying that this breaks the static rule of sexploitation which is as follows: titillation followed by mutilation repeating again and again until the final violent conclusion. This simple attraction/revulsion formula assaults the viewer's sensibility in ways that even modern films of any rating would not dare attempt. The problem with SS CAMP is that it's all slap and no tickle. The film starts with actual black-and-white footage from real concentration camp victims and at another point during a Uni-ball soliloquy voice-over about harvesting Jews for labor, gold teeth and utilizing their ashes for fertilizer, grainy footage is shown of a bulldozer knocking REAL, naked, emaciated bodies into a pit. Since all of this happens in the first fifteen minutes, by the time the obligatory shower scenes, strip searches and other sexy sub-plot staples of the genre played themselves out I had become so numb to bodies in all stages of undress and injury that I just didn't care anymore. The juxtaposition of real Holocaust footage with stupid camp antics will not only make you want a hot shower afterward... just double-check that only water comes out of the pipes.

Sinferno Says...
Yucko/Neato Factor: These movies made me look away from the screen, at least once per movie, once per box set. Not an easy thing to to do.
Production Values: Visual effects (medical tortures) were easily debunked and blood looked like paint. Transfers are vivid, though not perfect. Dubbing is ever-present but close.
Realism: So crudely constructed It would be almost be funny to watch if every scene wasn't slathered in swastikas, blood and breasts.
Value for Price: For $14.99 this is almost more than I could handle. After these three I am going to watch SCHINDLER'S LIST three times in a row just to recalibrate my moral compass.
Plot: A predictable ride on the sexploitation express with a surprise stop at Auschwitz.

 


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