Gestapo’s Last Orgy/Deported Women of the S.S. (Blu-ray)

Director-Lino Di Silvestro/Cesare Canevari

Cast-John Steiner, Lina Polito, Adriano Micantoni

Country of Origin - Italy

Discs - 1

Distributor - Severin Films

Reviewer - Bobby Morgan

Date - 07/12/2014

The Film: 3/5

 

Remember Intervision Picture Corp., the company that busted out into the expanding landscape of digital exploitation cinema resurrection in 2011 with a serving of primo Z-grade masterworks such as the original direct-to-video slasher Sledgehammer, the kooky Canuxploitation classic Things, and the shameless German splatter flick The Burning Moon? After seemingly shooting their proverbial wad on a host of grimy jewels from the dying days of the grindhouse and the VHS era's puberty years Intervision faded into the distance for a while to reconstitute and one day return to satisfy the diseased urges of their devoted fans with even more restored mini-epics of psychotronic insanity. That day has finally come as the company has released a pair of Italian Nazisploitation flicks financed and produced in Italy in the wake of the shocking box office success of Ilsa, She-Wolf of the S.S.

 

As a rule of thumb where exploitation movies are concerned, what the Americans did better the Italians not only had to do far worse but bloodier, sloppier, and with much greater productivity. That rarely makes for great cinema, but often times it can lead to some of the sleaziest and most entertaining cinematic trash in existence. I wish that had been true of 1976's Deported Women of the SS Special Section and 1977's Gestapo's Last Orgy (or as the title that appears on Intervision's print used for this DVD states, THE Gestapo's Last Orgy, because that "the" makes all the difference in the world, dont'cha know).

 

A group of women are captured by the Nazis and imprisoned in a camp where they are forced to service the sexual and violent needs of their Hitler-loving tormentors. Lesbianism, uncomfortable nudity, sexual depravity, humiliation, torture, gruesome violence, genital mutilation, and much more are the order of the day. An attempt to graft sympathetic romances and characters into the story typically fails as the narrative is nothing more than a catalog of staged geek show atrocities for the perverse enjoyment of the viewing public. With a running time over 90 minutes it's not just long or overlong....it's over-overlong. Now which of the two movies could I possibly be describing? Both of them.

 

That's pretty much what you could expect to find in your average Nazisploitation flick. Next to cannibal films this is the sleaziest and hardest to enjoy of all exploitation sub-genres, especially in the hands of the Italians. At least the Ilsa movies sported some fantastically smutty camp humor alongside their cavalcade of violence and barbarism. Deported Women and Gestapo's Last Orgy have no such redeeming values; they are both shameless trash, pure and simple. But from a technical standpoint they each have some worthwhile virtues. Deported Women is the less deranged of the pairing but has an enjoyably villainous turn from Pastaland grindhouse vet John Steiner of Caligula and Yor, the Hunter from the Future fame and a tonal vibe reminiscent of the women-in-prison genre. We get all-female group showers, a knockdown drag-out catfight (complete with biting!), mud baths, pubic hair trimming, and lesbian sex scenes that have more passion and eroticism than the rare man-woman coupling. Since Steiner's Nazi commandant also happens to be bisexual director Lino Di Sivestro (Hanna D., Werewolf Woman) gives him a scene of implied gay sex. The haunting music score by Stelvio Cipriani (A Bay of Blood) hits the proper notes and provides what little emotion there is to be found in Deported Women. The expert cinematography was accomplished by the great Sergio D'Offizi, a veteran of such Italian exploitation classics as Lucio Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling and Ruggero Deodato's House on the Edge of the Park and Cannibal Holocaust.

 

Gestapo's Last Orgy is the dirtiest of the two films. Director Cesare Canevari seemed determined to outdo Pasolini's Salo is terms of maddening depravity but gets only halfway there because the acts of cruelty portrayed in his movie lack conviction or even a point. There is as much full male nudity this time around, sometimes even more than female nudity, and in one scene the male prisoners in the camp are conditioned via a pornographic slideshow to attack and rape the women. Dogs feast on human remains, while a dinner party of ranking Nazi officers and supporters features pot roasts made from aborted Jewish fetuses. Naked women are immolated for entertainment value and hung upside down over flesh-hungry rats. There's a handjob too and somehow this train wreck of a mess of a motion picture is supposed to be philosophically redeemed by a quote from Friedrich Niezsche that opens the movie: "When the superman wishes to amuse himself he must do so even at the cost of the life of others". Give me a break.

 

Canevari directs with the subtlety of a wrecking ball destroying an occupied orphanage with an overbearing soundtrack composed by Alberto Baldan Bembo (Nude for Satan) to provide the proper accompaniment for his stitched-together fresco of disgust and torment. The performances from an all-Italian cast (no token American or British names slumming about this time) are serviceable but what little talent is on display here is undermined by the atrocious English dubbing. After this double feature you will definitely require a hot shower and a walk through a green field fresh with blooming flowers and vibrant woodland life. Whoever gets their jollies from this crap is in desperate need of serious help. Thankfully they were made with competence and a willingness to give the audience the human horrors they ravenously crave, but that's about the best compliment I can give Deported Women of the SS Special Section and Gestapo's Last Orgy.

 

Audio/Video: 3/5

 

Both films have been released on Region 1 DVD several times prior to these new Intervision editions. Deported Women was previously issued on disc from BCI/Eclipse in 2006 paired up with Giovanni Brusadori's 1978 prison break flick Escape from Women's Prison, and then reissued several years later as part of Full Moon Video's Grindhouse Collection. Gestapo's Last Orgy's last DVD edition was under its alternate title Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler as part of another double feature set courtesy of Alternative Cinema's Retro Shock-O-Rama line, which had it sharing case space with Mario Gariazzo's cannibal feature White Slave (a.k.a. Amazonia: The Catherine Miles Story).

 

I can't imagine the transfers on any of the earlier releases could have ranked any higher than a poorly-duped gray market bootleg, but Intervision's transfers are possibly the best either film has looked since their respective theatrical exhibitions. Both Deported Women and Gestapo have been granted anamorphic widescreen transfers and the results are mostly above average, though the opening credits sequence of Deported looks to have been sourced from a muddy, fifth generation VHS dupe you would expect to find on a 50-film box set of public domain titles. Each transfer contains a fair amount of grain but they tend to improve as the movies progress. Print damage for both is moderate and colors are washed-out and favor cold gray and black schemes which actually works better for the grim tone of the narratives.

 

Each movie comes with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio option and nothing else. The tracks suffer from instances of noticeable damage in the sound mix, such as cracks and pops, and frequent distortion. Mostly the volume levels are solid and well-balanced and even the muffled dubbed English language dialogue comes through clear when the overbearing music scores are drowning them out. No subtitles have been provided for either film.

 

Extras: 3/5

 

Deported Women of the SS has the most - and best - supplements of Intervision's Nazisploitation double shot in the form of three new interview featurettes with a combined running time of 74 minutes. The longest of which is "A Brief History of Sadiconazista" (36 minutes), which features German film professor and historian Marcus Stiglegger talking about the sordid sub-genre's early history and how it came to be exploited even further by the Italian film industry. "Camp Rino" (29 minutes) is another worthwhile interview, this time with director Di Silvestro. The Italian language chat (with English subtitles) goes over the back story and production of the movie in fascinating and often eye-opening detail. Finally, "What Does John Steiner Think?" (9 minutes) offers up Deported Women's lanky lead to talk candidly about his experiences making the film.

 

Gestapo's Last Orgy also gets the "Brief History of Sadiconazista" featurette as well as a grainy theatrical trailer (4 minutes).

 

Overall: 3/5

 

If you pervs are in the mood for a hearty one-two combo punch of late-70's greasy goosestepping sleaze then Intervision's new DVD editions of Deported Women of the SS Special Section and Gestapo's Last Orgy should more than satisfy your insidious cravings. Though far from being my bag when it comes to exploitation cinema, at least the company is to be commended for resurrecting these obscure flicks and giving them respectable home video releases.