Judge Daryl Loomis is neither seen nor heard.
Each day is a living hell for these helpless captives!
While I've said before that the Women-in-Prison genre is the most depraved genre in the world of cinema, but there's a subgenre that goes even deeper toward the bottom: the Nazisploitation film. For a couple of years, mostly in Italy, a whole bunch of these sex and torture films were released. Until now, I have successfully navigated reviewing one of these, but no longer. Here, we have a selection from the early years of this gross phenomenon, a little charmer from 1976 called Deported Girls of the SS Special Service. Doesn't that just sound like a special time?
Herr Erner (John Steiner, Tenebre) is the sadistic Commandant of a notorious concentration camp that brings in exclusively women for particular…purposes. When a new group of women is brought in for the customary degradation, torture, and brutalization, they have a slightly different idea. Led by Tania Noble (Lina Polito, All Screwed Up), the women plan a mass escape, but in order for it to work, Tania must make the ultimate sacrifice.
The thing that surprised me most about Deported Girls of the SS Special Service was how less brutal it is than others in the genre that I've seen. That it's one of the tamest of the bunch, though, doesn't make it tame. Its theoretical level of disgusting is very high, but graphically, it doesn't match up to later films. I'm not saying this as a bad thing, just that people who are into Nazisploitation aren't coming in for the plot; they want the content. There's a little bit here, but it's mostly understated.
In this, it almost appears that director Rino di Silvestro (Werewolf Women) actually had something of a high mind when making Deported Women. Too bad he doesn't have even close to the chops to pull that off; Liliana Cavani (The Night Porter) and Pier Paolo Pasolini (Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom) this guy is not.
The only draw here is John Steiner, who's a seething, mincing wreck in this movie. He's funny chewing the scenes, but he was only in this for the money and, like with everyone else, it clearly shows. The performances don't rise higher than a phone-in and, unless you want to hear description of the depravities we witness here, which I think you don't, there's little else of note here. It's depressing and mean and not worth watching, not for normal people or for genre fans. It's not good enough to merit consideration from the former and not gross enough to excite the people who look for this stuff. There's absolutely no reason to watch Deported Women on any level, so skip this without hesitation.
Deported Women of the SS Special Service arrives on a mediocre DVD from Intervision. The 1.78:1 widescreen image is likely better than it has ever looked, even on its original grindhouse run, but it still isn't particularly great. It's consistently soft, with wan colors and shallow black levels. There aren't any digital artifacts to speak of, which is good, but there's been no cleanup done on the print, either, so it's kind of a wash. The Dolby 2.0 Mono track is full of noise, but the dialog and music are still fairly clear.
Extras consist of three interviews. The first is called "A Brief History of Sadiconazista," that being the Italian term for the genre, with film historian and writer Dr. Marcus Stiglegger. He goes through the ins and outs of the genre, from its origins in American and Soviet anti-Nazi propaganda to the actually interesting films like Salo and The Night Porter to the real trash. It's general, but a half-hour of interesting discussion of the genre. Next comes "Camp Rino," a fifteen minute interview with the director, who has surprisingly strong recall of this trash, but is a little bit over-enthusiastic about its quality. Finally, another half-hour with John Steiner called "What Would John Steiner Think?" He's a charming fellow and it's fun to hear him talk about his career.
The extras package is stronger than expected, but that's hardly enough to recommend this depressing pile of exploitation. If you're interested in the extremity of the genre, go for something that came out later; if you're interested in the sexualization of Nazi violence, there are plenty of quality examples that might push the boundaries of good taste, but still have merit. Deported Women of the SS Special Service does not, and nor does it so wildly depraved as people look for in the genre. There's nothing here but depression. The only reason to watch it is if you have two hours and are desperate to kill them in the worst possible way.
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