Thursday, July 18, 2019

THE BEAST IN HEAT (1977) Blu-ray Review

The Beast in Heat (aka SS Hell Camp) (1977) d. Luigi Batzella (as Ivan Kathansky) (Italy) (88 min)

Clearly inspired by Don Edmonds’ Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS, writer/director Batzella (with help from screenwriter Lorenzo Artale) stitches together a gruesome tale of an unscrupulous and uncommonly busty Nazi doctor (Macha Magall) performing rather ill-defined experiments that involve torturing female POWs with electricity, guinea pigs disguised as rats, or, worst of all, having them sexually devoured by a caged, hairy, barely-human monster (played with great enthusiasm by Italian strongman Sal Boris).

Unfortunately, the dual storyline – literally, as much of the combat footage is lifted from Batzella’s 1970 feature When the Bell Tolls – of a group of Italian resistance fighters bogs things down considerably, only picking up in the last half hour with plenty of explosions and firefights. But Magall’s every scene is pure exploitation gold, with the gorgeous brunette lapping up the scenery with unfettered glee as she dishes out punishment to men and women alike. It’s a crime Beast represents her penultimate screen role – this woman should have been a star.

"Infant target practice? Vot vill dey tink of next? Hahahahaha..."

This Video Nasty is recommended for those versed in the art of fast-forwarding, although once you cross the halfway mark, you can pretty much toss the remote and revel in the wicked wickedness.

Also, if you’re wondering to yourself, “What is this Nazisploitation business? Why does such a subgenre even exist? Who the hell watches this stuff? What the hell is going on?????” You would do well to check out Naomi Holwill’s terrific feature-length documentary featuring interviews with stars Dyanne Thorne (Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS) and Malissa Longo (Elsa: Fraulein SS), filmmakers Sergio Garrone, Mario Caiano, Rino Di Silvestro, Liliana Cavani, Bruno Mattei, and authors Kim Newman, John Martin, Russ Hunter, Anthony Page, Mikel J. Koven, and others.

Amidst scores of clips from a multitude of efforts ranging from art-house to grindhouse, the bevy of talking heads provides ample context for the outrageous rise and expedient fall of this strange combo of sex, torture, and goose-stepping violence, as well as a list of “essential” titles for the curious and adventurous to seek out.


Fascism on a Thread – The Strange Story of Nazisploitation Cinema: A new feature-length documentary by Naomi Holwill (92 min)

“Nazi Nasty” with author Stephen Thrower (Murderous Passions) (30 min)

Theatrical trailer

The Beast in Heat is available now on Blu-ray from Severin Films and can be ordered HERE:

The Evolution of Nazisploitation Cinema (Italy, except where noted)

Kapo (1960)
The Damned (1969)
Love Camp 7 (1969) (USA)
The Conformist (1970)
Cabaret (1972) (USA)
She Devils of the SS (1973) (Switzerland)
The Night Porter (1974)
Salo (1975)
Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS (1975) (Canada)
Deported Women of the SS Special Section (1976)
Salon Kitty (1976)
The Gestapo’s Last Orgy (1977)
The Beast in Heat (1977)
Red Nights of the Gestapo (1977)
SS Girls (1977)
SS Experiment Love Camp (1977)
SS Camp 5: Women’s Hell (1977)
Nazi Love Camp 27 (1977)
Women’s Camp 119 (1977)
Elsa: Fraulein SS (France) (1977)
Special Train for Hitler (1977) (France)
Holocaust 2 (1980)


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