SS Hell Camp (1977)
By: Driver on April 4, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Exploitation Digital (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 1.0. 86 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Luigi Batzella (as Ivan Kathansky)
Starring: Macha Magall, Sal Boris, John Braun, Kim Gatti, Alfredo Rizzi
Screenplay: Luigi Batzella, Lorenzo Artale
Country: Italy
AKA: The Beast in Heat; La Bestia in Calore; Horrifying Experiments of the S.S. Last Days
The Italians always maintained a hard-on for remodelling hits, and with the advent of German concentration camp films (Nazploitationers) such as Love Camp 7 (1967) and the more successful Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1974) the celluloid phallus was violently caressed until it ejaculated into a gas chamber full of copycat spawn. These were mostly made by Italian filmmakers with the desire to shock and titillate, relying on sensationalism by money and success hungry production companies who seemed to have as much conscience as ol' Adolf had love for the Jews.

Before this Shriek Show release SS Hell Camp (or the The Beast in Heat as it is more widely know) proved to be quite obscure, and as well as earning itself a spot on the infamous British video nasties list it also brought in a small fortune among collectors and the depraved alike, where copies would go for anywhere up to 600 hundred bucks Australian .The film is also quite perverse and it has been noted at one stage the majority of the cast and crew had wanted their names removed. Welcome to The Beast in Heat/ La Bestia in Calore, or in another of it's alternate names that seems more fitting, Horrifying Experiments of the S.S. Last Days.

The story itself is standard fare about an Ilsa Koche like character called Dr. Krash (played by Macha Magall). Dr. Krash, like Ilsa, is a dominant, buxom, whip cracking blonde, who is just as of fond of filling her crack as advancing the white race by conducting bizarre experiments. One of the results of her latest experiment is a grotesque, libido boosted, Neanderthal fuck machine to whom she feeds nubile young virgins to satisfy his hungers. How this will further the Germans war efforts is beyond me. Anyway Salvatore Baccaro (aka Sal Boris who also plays "Oook" in Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks) is the Beast in question, and he hams it up in great fashion. Sal, who also goes under the name Boris Lugosi (a composite of two great screen fiends) is a Michael Berryman type actor, cast for his looks which only a mother could love. Apart from bonkin Sal Boris the rest of the film consists of a flimsy plot about Partisan resistance attempts to hide and conceal info from the Nazi's.

SS Hell Camp is by no means a great film and doesn't have as much pizzazz as some of it's classier and more stylish cousins like Salon Kitty (1976) and Red Night's of the Gestapo (1976) although it does have quite a nasty and sometimes ludicrous side to it if you can look past some of the dodgy FX and dead pan acting, more similar in tone to the nauseating, repulsive, but enjoyable Women's Camp 119 (1977) and Gestapo's Last Orgy (1976).

SS Hell Camp boasts plenty of male and female nudity, sleaziness, and some extremely sinister scenes if you don't allow yourself to be too subjective. Ol Bonkin Boris rips flesh and pubes straight from the groinal garden with his teeth and babies are used for clay pigeon shooting practice even if the scene is a little unconvincing. A teen girl is raped and then has a pistol inserted into her twat and shot, labia are cooked by sparkling electrodes, men are castrated, finger nails are extracted and in another hilarious scene a guinea pig is the understudy for a rat during a torture sequence.

As for the negative side of things, the film never seems to be sure whether it's an action or Exploitation film. The pacing and direction by Batzella, who incidentally started his career as an actor, leaves a lot to be desired (He never ever shot another film after this). The majority of the cast's performances make primary school play actors look like bonafide thespians with the exception of Macha Magall who was becoming a Nazploitationer regular after appearing in Bruno Mattei's SS Girls the same year and Salvatore Baccaro who really doesn't have to do much apart from acting the imbecile, grunting and raping. The script doesn't help much either and the dialogue in places is hilariously bad.

With the Italian legacy of inserting Barry Mannilow boring stock war footage plus extra included scenes from Batzella's previous war film When the Bell Tolls to pad out the movie your fast forward button becomes a hard won ally. Have I mentioned how bad the shoot out scenes are?
Video
Media Blasters have done quite a good job putting this on disc, however print damage is evident throughout the film and the stock footage is of lesser quality. Despite all this you'd be hard pressed to find a better looking copy than this.
Audio
The Dialogue is quite audible, the sound effects fine and the synth soundtrack is never over bearing.
Extra Features
Media Blasters haven't really gone overboard with the extra's however it does include trailers for other releases, an exclusive photo gallery with Trailer plus a booklet with linear notes by Paolo Zelati.
The Verdict
Loaded with enough questionable material to make the OFLC shit their false teeth, Beast in Heat/SS Hell Camp has not, and I doubt will ever be, released in Australia. The most discerning or conservative viewer is advised to stay the fuck away. Although to fans of Nazploitation or Women in Prisons films, I definitely recommend a purchase as you could do a lot worse with in this genre. Grab some mates, drugs/beer and a sense of humour and you'll all be goosesteppin around your lounge room. Enjoy.
Movie Score
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