Deported Women of the SS Special Section (1976) d. Rino di Silvestri (Italy)
Relative newcomers to the Nazisploitation subgenre (such as myself) might be unfamiliar with this wicked little trifle, but according to those in the know, it stands as one of the more successfully rendered entries in the short-lived movement. Though never reaching the gleeful excess of Gestapo’s Last Orgy or Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS, it robustly rattles through the requisite nasty bits (nudity, lesbianism, torture), and is elevated immeasurably by John Steiner’s scene-stealing turn as the twisted, tormented camp commandant, Herr Erner.
The action takes place at a transitional base for female prisoners, with the inhabitants sent off to the camp most befitting their disposition and physical condition: work, death, or prostitution. The women are systematically robbed of their humanity within these new environs, exemplified by the prolonged sequence where they are shorn of pubic hair with manual clippers. Despite the abundant female genitalia on display, these sober scenes – which likely earned a fair amount of notoriety in their day (at least in uncut format) – yield little to no titillation for the raincoat crowd.
In their day-to-day struggles for survival, the unfortunate souls are subjected to numerous humiliations, usually of the sexual variety, either at the hands of the brutal butch kapos (brunette Paola D'Egidio and blonde Solvi Stubing engage in a full-blown catfight over one of their charges) or their fellow captives. Upon being discovered, one young prisoner is forced to copulate with her German soldier lover in front of the camp populace, a scene that unfolds in classic Romeo and Juliet fashion.
But Deported Women’s primary dramatic tension exists between Erner and feisty Polish partisan Tania Nobel (Lina Polito), for whom the lizard-like officer expressed a fancy in the pre-war years. With her now within his reach, he careens wildly between schoolboy adoration and petulant attempts at domination, frustrated at every turn by the stoic object of his affections.
Steiner has a field day, injecting every line with fireworks of vocal volume, pitch, and pace, shamelessly pouting, preening, whining, screaming, bellowing, and bleating throughout. His finest moment is probably when he forces Stubing and D’Egido’s bitchy guards to fellate him in front of Polito, a most unusual form of seduction indeed. The taciturn victim gets her own, however, through the resourceful and imaginative employ of a razor blade and a piece of cork secreted away in her most intimate regions.
Intervision’s DVD presentation of this caustic curio is superb, with terrific supplemental materials including interviews with Steiner (who dismisses the whole thing as a laugh) and writer/director Silvestri (clearly believing he has created a valid, meticulously researched piece of art). But the most enlightening extra is that of film historian Dr. Marcus Stiglegger’s fascinating and informative “A Brief History of Sadiconazista.”
This 30-minute documentary explores the high and lows of this bizarre subset of exploitation cinema, from art-house efforts like Salon Kitty and The Night Porter to Don Edmonds’ grindhouse sensation Ilsa to the grottier output of Bruno Mattei and Sergio Garrone. Stiglegger’s discourse proves an indispensable primer for those looking to delve deeper, or a handy Cliff’s Notes version of the short-lived (1975-1978) subgenre for those curious but not yet ready to fully commit. (The featurette is also available on the company's recent release of Gestapo's Last Orgy.)
Though one of the less-famous entries, this well-(boot)-heeled piece is a fine place to for exploitation fans to start as well as a worthy addition to enthusiasts’ treasure troves. Deported Women of the SS Special Section is available now from Intervision and can be ordered from Amazon HERE:
--Aaron Christensen, HorrorHound Magazine