DirectorDon Edmonds Film seriesThe Ilsa series Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateOctober 1975 (1975-10) (US) WriterJonah Royston, John C.W. Saxton CastDyanne Thorne (Ilsa), Gregory Knoph (Wolfe), Tony Mumolo (Mario), Maria Marx (Anna), Nicolle Riddell (Kata), Jo Jo Deville (Ingrid) Similar moviesThe Beast in Heat, Death Proof, A Serbian Film, SS Experiment Love Camp, The Devil's Rejects, Deported Women of the SS Special Section
TaglineThe most dreaded Nazi of them all!
Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS is a 1975 Canadian Nazisploitation and sexploitation film directed by Don Edmonds, produced by David F. Friedman and written by Jonah Royston.
Ilsa is Kommandant of a Nazi prison camp, who conducts sadistic scientific experiments designed to demonstrate that women are more capable of enduring pain than men are, and therefore should be allowed to fight in the German armed forces (it is late in the war and the Nazi military is in dire need of reinforcements). Ilsa is also portrayed as a buxom woman with a voracious sexual appetite for men. Every night, she chooses another of her male prisoners and rapes him. However, owing to her hypersexuality, she is disappointed when her current victim eventually ejaculates, and promptly has him castrated and put to death. Only one American prisoner, who can avoid ejaculating, manages to use her weakness to his favor. He hopes that the Allies will arrive soon, but a faction of the SS wants to eliminate all evidence and witnesses.
When Lee Frost and David F. Friedman's 1969 Love Camp 7 became popular in Canada, André Link and Cinepix's John Dunning created a script for Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS. After offering to produce, Friedman agreed and brought in Dyanne Thorne to play the eponymous character. Friedman is credited onscreen as "Herman Traeger".
Ilsa is patterned after real-life murderous female Nazi camp personnel Ilse Koch and Irma Grese.
Friedman (under the pseudonym Herman Traeger) put a notice before the film opens: "The film you are about to see is based on documented fact. The atrocities shown were conducted as 'medical experiments' in special concentration camps throughout Hitler's Third Reich. Although these crimes against humanity are historically accurate, the characters depicted are composites of notorious Nazi personalities; and the events portrayed, have been condensed into one locality for dramatic purposes. Because of its shocking subject matter, this film is restricted to adult audiences only. We dedicate this film with the hope that these heinous crimes will never happen again."
The film was made on the Culver City set of the TV series Hogan's Heroes. The series had already been cancelled and the show's producers let the film be made on it once they learned that a scene called for it to be burned down, saving them the cost of having it demolished.
Ilsa was rejected by the British Board of Film Censors in 1975 and banned in Australia and Norway.
Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS has received primarily negative reviews, and holds a rating of 30% "Rotten" at review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader described the film as "self-conscious Canadian-made camp", which "wasn't notorious until it was fiercely denounced in the high-profile media". The A.V. Club gave the film a scathing review, noting that it "has absolutely no sense of humor that might go where the obvious lack of moral purpose is". The film's director Don Edmonds described the screenplay as "the worst piece of shit I ever read".
Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS won Best Alternative Release at the 1985 AVN awards.
Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS was followed by three sequels, all variations on the sexploitation women in prison theme: Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks in 1976, Ilsa, the Wicked Warden in 1977, directed by Jesús Franco (the film was also known as Greta, The Mad Butcher and Wanda, The Wicked Warden) and–also in 1977–Ilsa, the Tigress of Siberia.
In popular culture
In Jörg Buttgereit's 1989 horror film Der Todesking, a character rents a Nazisploitation movie called Vera - Todesengel der Gestapo (Vera, the Death-Angel of the Gestapo), which depicts a concentration camp prisoner being castrated by an Ilsa-like prison guard.
The 2007 film Grindhouse features a faux-trailer for a film called Werewolf Women of the S.S. by Rob Zombie, whose characters have been referred to as resembling Ilsa. The lead female officer, Eva Krupp (played by Zombie's wife, Sheri Moon), can also be seen as an Ilsa-like character.
The American speed metal band At War recorded the song "Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS", based both in the film of the same name and on the character of Ilse Koch.
The New York Hardcore band Murphy's Law wrote the song "Ilsa" which was inspired by the movie.