jeudi 15 juillet 2010

Ilsa Superstar

Fetish expert Bob Cresse inaugurated the new genre in his 1969’s ironically titled Love Camp 7 (1969) depicting a Nazi torture concentration camp with a sadistic commandant who encouraged sexual depravity. One year after the “Summer of Love” the unspeakable and un-representable Shoah had become a theatrical stage for S&M private fantasies in what could be called the most obscene recuperation of collective suffering. All the scandal of the sado-masochistic twist of seventies’ psychotronia would be embedded in this pushing of the ultimate limits for profit and fun, appealing to an audience eager of watching the unwatchable. This ultimate sacrilege was a creepy confirmation of Bataillian eroticism as affirmation of live against death itself, reapropriation of the Unbearable and ultimate transgression.

Producer David Friedman and director Don Edmonds followed that transgressive path with Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1975) who rocketed the subgenre. “Aware of the intrinsic commercial value of Nazi fetish films, Friedman would marry their sadomasochistic sexploitation elements with the gore genre he’d innovated” (B. Landis &M. Clifford, op cit, p.218) . Loosely based on real-life war criminal Ilsa Koch the movie follows the Super-Sadean Dyanne Thorne in what became the ultimate dominatrix fantasy. Like a religious mantis she disposes of his male slaves after having sexually abused them, while making comparative experiences so as to prove that “a well-trained woman can withstand pain longer than a man”. Horror ingredients alternate with porn acrobatics against the background of Nazi medical experiments in the death camps. Supersadist Isla is also, in a significant phallocratical pattern, a super-masochist waiting to be tamed by a super-phallic “sex machine”, an Americanized Aryan to which the male audience is invited to identify.

Ilsa –murdered by the nazi general to erase evidence of the torture camp for the Allies to find, at the end of the film- would return the following year as Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheks, showing the versatility of the women in prison genre –as of the Man’s Adventure magazines that presented Nazi bitchs along Vietcong sadists- and the supernatural anti-heroic status of Ilsa, new myth that would even confront Bruce Lee in one specially psychotronic project (ads for Ilsa meets Bruce Lee in the Devils Triangle date from 1976). Dyanne worked for Jesse Franco in Ilsa, the Wicked Warden, as the evil director of a South American prison-clinic for women and would return in the last installment of the series, Ilsa, Tigress of Siberia (1977), this time running a Soviet gulag.

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