Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 11


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,768
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Movie Info

One of the most infamous examples of the 1970s glut of sexy-Nazi movies is this gory, sleazy wallow in nauseating excess from director Don Edmonds. Busty Las Vegas showgirl Dyanne Thorne made her cult reputation in the title role as Ilsa, the sadistically depraved directress of Medical Camp 9. It is a memorable performance and was so popular that Thorne was resurrected in similar roles on three subsequent occasions. Despite its controversial themes, Ilsa, She-Wolf of the S.S. is much less of a death-camp movie than a mixture of women's prison thriller and escape film. No mention is ever made of gas chambers or crematoria and most of the portrayals of Nazi men seem to come straight from Hogan's Heroes (this film was made on the sets of that series). In this light, Edmonds' hybrid of gore, sex, and action is far less offensive than it might have been, and Thorne's over-the-top villainess actually makes it somewhat endearing. Although this film isn't the best in the series, and is not for the faint of heart, it has much to recommend it for genre devotees. The makeup effects by Joe Blasco are quite realistic for the time, Thorne's performance is impressively evil, and Richard Kennedy is a hoot as the jovial, piggish General. Jonah Royston's screenplay certainly doesn't skimp on exploitation elements, but it also has enough clever plot touches to satisfy those looking for a real story in between the carnality and carnage. Cult starlets Sharon Kelly and Uschi Digart also appear.


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Critic Reviews for Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (7)

  • Self-conscious Canadian-made camp of the bondage-and-discipline variety.

    Mar 28, 2007 | Full Review…
  • [VIDEO ESSAY] Even by modern cinema's jaded standards, "She Wolf of the SS" remains a powerfully sexy, campy, blood-soaked, and fetishistic tour de force.

    Oct 9, 2014 | Rating: A | Full Review…
  • Don Edmonds's 1975 classic "Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS" is one of the most outrageous additions to the sexploitation genre ever imagined.

    Sep 13, 2007 | Rating: 5/5
  • More porn than actual adventure flick, this is worth the watch, regardless. If only, to see the electrified vibrator...

    Jul 13, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Thorne is undeniably hot, but too much of this is simply distasteful and highly unpleasant.

    May 30, 2007 | Rating: 4/10
  • Despite a lot of competition, this is perhaps the most poisonous thing passing itself off as a movie that I've ever seen.

    Apr 9, 2007 | Rating: 0/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS

  • Mar 06, 2013
    What's most surprising about "Ilsa" is its shortage of humor. Beyond a few instances of especially unnecessary toplessness and one golden-shower gag, it's a fairly stern movie about Nazi prison torture. It's just that the prison happens to be run by voluptuous blondes. "Ilsa" avoids Jewish issues altogether -- these preppy prisoners' "crimes" are unclear. The central rub is that commandant Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne, in a commendably fearless performance) is determined to use sadistic experiments to prove women are more durable soldiers than men. This motivates all sorts of grisly scenes with naked women being burned, electrocuted and forcibly penetrated. Unless you're a hardened S&M devotee, such scenes are not erotic. The other plot thread is sort of a Scheherazade riff wherein Ilsa has a habit of mating, then castrating her male prisoners but meets her match in a crafty stud who keeps her hungry for him to ejaculate. This aspect is a bit more fun, but the memory of all the women brutally mutilated elsewhere can't be shaken off.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 23, 2011
    This movie starts out with a disclaimer where the director pretends to give a shit about people who died in the Holocaust, and then goes into a delightful romp of campdom. This really is one of those terrible movies you just have to enjoy. The story flows awfully, but every scene is still interesting enough to have held my attention, and the acting provides lots of unintentional comedy. Ilsa actually comes off as a very sympathetic character at times, which either says something about the layers of this film or my own sociopathy. Either way, this is worth a watch. Any movie that's hailed as the best in Nazi exploitation deserves a chance.
    Alex M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 27, 2010
    I can't believe this is a real movie! What it lacks in plot in more than makes up for in boobs. Seriously, there' nudity in almost every scene. All the prisoners are naked, and apparently female Nazi officers liked to do thier torturing shirtless. It's only practical. It's really quite astounding just how schlocky this movie is. The blood and gore is excessive, yet not for a minute believable. The torture is too over-the-top to be offensive. Isla is the most cartoonish villain I've ever seen this side of a Disney movie. In fact, she reminds me of a naked, nymphomaniacal mashup between Ursula the Sea-Witch, Jafar and, I don't know, Frollo, maybe? If you get offended by this movie, you've probably missed the point. It exists only to amuse you with its silliness. Either you're in or you're out. I for one, am in.
    Emily A Super Reviewer
  • Dec 15, 2009
    Even the SS feared her?
    Wahida K Super Reviewer

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