Thursday, January 28, 2016

#1,991. SS Girls (1977)

Directed By: Bruno Mattei

Starring: Gabriele Carrara, Marina Daunia, Macha Magall

Tag line: "Their weapon was desire ... for which there was no defense !"

Trivia: A 1995 UK video print of this film had over 3 mins cut out, including some whipping and torture and a hinted bestiality sequence

I can’t tell you how shocked I was to learn after the fact that 1977’s SS Girls, a film written and directed by Bruno Mattei, was not a comedy (IMDb lists it as a “drama / thriller”). There were scenes in this movie that made me laugh out loud.

The war is not going well for Germany, and Adolf Hitler is convinced some of his highest ranking officers are plotting against him. In an effort to root out the traitors, General Berger (Ivano Staccioli) orders one of his subordinates, SS Commander Hans Schellenberg (Gabriele Carrara), to assemble a squad of ten prostitutes, which, by way of sexual intercourse, will coerce the suspected conspirators into revealing their sinister plans. With the help of his occasional lover, Madame Eva (Macha Magall), Schellenberg “recruits” his team, which, after a few weeks of rigorous training, starts cozying up to some of the Third Reich’s higher echelon. Aided by SS officer Frau Inge (Marina Daunia), the group successfully accomplishes each mission sent their way, but with Schellenberg’s out-of-control ego getting the better of him, Gen. Berger begins to reconsider his appointment, and wonders if Schellenberg himself has suddenly become a threat to the Fuhrer’s safety.

The opening moments of SS Girls are predictable enough, and feature plenty of nudity; once the 10 prostitutes are assembled, Schellenberg and his associate Professor Jurgen (Allan Collins) order them to strip (so they can “inspect” their bodies). Soon after this scene, however, the movie gets a bit crazy, and the basic training sequences, where the girls are taught everything from bondage to ballet, are both creepy (to prepare them for all forms of sexual deviancy, one woman is forced to sleep with a badly deformed hunchback while another lies down with a German Shepherd) and hilarious (at one point, two girls in Roman togas run towards the camera firing machine guns).

Even stranger than the training scenes is the performance of Gabriele Carrara as the near-insane Schellenberg. Drunk with power, he starts behaving like a madman the moment the ladies begin their first mission, cackling like a lunatic and, in one bizarre sequence, dressing up like the Pope (even the German generals, all of whom were suspected of treason, couldn’t stop laughing when they saw his costume). Utilizing a wide range of facial expressions, Carrara goes as over-the-top as an actor possibly can, giving SS Girls a villain who is more funny than frightening.

Unlike most films of this ilk, SS Girls shies away from blood and torture in favor of sex and nudity, which is plentiful (many of the girls are naked for the majority of the movie). Toss in lots of unintentional hilarity, and you have that rare nazisploitation flick that’ll make you laugh more than it will make you cringe.

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