Ilsa She Wolf of the SS (1975)
This movie stands as one of the barometers which other films of the “Nazispoltation” sub-genre are measured by. A lot of people are confused when I tell them the movie has nothing to do with werewolves. Is it a horror movie? Well kind of-sort of , actually, no. It’s a classic 70s exploitation movie that is heavy on the s&m, and in that respect, one could say it’s similar to Bloodsucking Freaks, though not as gory. In his book Profoundly Disturbing, Joe Bob Briggs, placed the movie in a category alongside Bloodsucking Freaks and I Spit On Your Grave. The movie was actually shot on the left-over set of Hogan’s Heroes, which had laid unused since the show went off the air.
What you need to know about the plot: Ilsa is a Nazi medical scientist who has this idea that women would make better soldiers than men because she thinks they have a higher pain tolerance, so she decides to test her theory by subjecting female prisoners to various types of torture. She also castrates men after fucking them. The movie stars Dyanne Thorne, a former Las Vegas show girl. Ilsa She Wolf Of The SS is notable because it’s one of the finest examples of shoe-string movie making, with the absolute best example being the Evil Dead. The best B-movies were done on the most limited of budgets, but still turned out a quality product.
Combat Shock is a Troma movie that is not the typical Troma movie. If you want to know what the typical Troma movie is look to the studio’s flagship film–the Toxic Avenger, which is a mixture of slapstick and gore. Troma has produced a massive amount of low-budget fair throughout the years, and the company doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Combat Shock, on the other hand, is a deadly serious movie. Words like grim and bleak perfectly sums up the tone of the movie. It’s the most nihilistic movie I’ve seen this side of Cannibal Holocaust. Combat Shock captures such an intense feeling of desperation and despair. The main character of the movie, Frankie, is a Vietnam Vet. His life is in shambles. He’s unemployed, he’s surrounded by urban blight, his best friend is a junkie, and to top it all off, he owes a criminal kingpin named Paco money.
After an intense flashback, we are introduced to a post-Vietnam Frankie, his decrepit apartment, his fat nagging wife, and his baby that was born mutated due to Frankie’s exposure to Agent Orange in the war. It really doesn’t get any bleaker than this. Oh yeah; it’s on the day he’s being evicted. So much of the movie has a cinema verite’ realism, told in the form of just another day in the life. Looking at the trailer and the original movie poster, you could get the idea that Combat Shock might be just another typical, generic low-budget action movie, but it’s really a character driven movie. The only scenes of really intense gore and gunplay are at the start and end of the movie.
How does the movie end you ask? Frankie guns down Paco and his goon squad, returns home kills his wife and mutated child, then finally turns the gun on himself and commits suicide. The last few frames of the movie are glorious, as Frankie’s face slips down a blood-splattered door, then the scene fades to a shot of a subway train, accompanied by a voice over of Frankie saying ” I go back there every night.” The viewer is left with the impression that what has transpired was a direct byproduct of Frankie’s past.