Nazisploitation isn’t a genre that has been particularly well served on DVD. More popular entries like Ilsa: She-Wolf Of The S.S. and Salon Kitty have gotten decent editions but a lot of the Italian quickies that define this subgenre for many have had to settle for releases of indifferent quality. Thankfully, the InterVision Picture Corp sublabel has stepped into this breach by issuing new discs of The Gestapo’s Last Orgy and Deported Women Of The S.S. Special Section. It’s the best treatment either has received on home video in the U.S.
Both films receive anamorphic transfers for these discs: Gestapo’s looks a little soft here and there but is solid overall. Deported starts with an opening credits sequence taken from an old VHS source but changes to a nice looking film-based transfer once the film itself gets going. There is a certain amount of surface noise audible on both film’s soundtracks but it doesn’t interfere with the dialogue, score or sound effects on either film.
InterVision has also added some nice extras to complement the main attractions. Both discs feature “A Brief History Of Sadiconazista,” a featurette that has professor/film scholar Dr. Marcus Stiglegger discussing the history of Nazisploitation films. He’s written a few books on the topic so he has his material down pat, cleanly drawing a line that connects WWII propaganda and arthouse fare like The Damned and The Night Porter to this disreputable subgenre of grindhouse fare.
The results are thoughtful and scholarly but never dull. He discusses virtually every key title in under 36 minutes, giving them an incisive treatment without ever taking the sillier examples too seriously. He’s also able to dispel some myths that inform these films, like the popular but untrue legend of “Joy Division” sex camps often used in these films’ plotlines. He has a lot of interesting things to say about both Gestapo’s and Deported, including how the latter is in many ways is styled like a gothic horror film.
The extras on the Gestapo’s disc end with the film’s theatrical trailer, a wild affair that accurately conveys the film’s riot of shocks and artsy pretension. Deported adds a few more noteworthy extras into the mix. The first is “Camp Rino,” a half-hour chat with writer/director Rino Di Silvestro. He reveals how got into films — being an anonymous screenwriter alongside Lucio Fulci! — and then discusses a few of his key titles, laying out a narrative where he chose subjects that defied the cinematic status quo. Deported gets a lot of time, including the large amount of research he did on uniforms and discussion of the cast. Like a lot of Italian genre directors, he displays a healthy ego about his work but he’s charming enough to pull it off.
The Deported disc also features “What Would John Steiner Do,” a quick but eventful chat with the veteran actor who played the film’s villain. He discusses his work in the film with an equal mixture of fondness and irreverent humor, also giving the viewer insight into feast-or-famine nature of life for an actor working in Italian films in the ‘70s and ‘80s. He goes on to discuss how he got out of the business and discovered the cult following for his work via an encounter with Sage Stallone. It’s fast and fun, paced nicely via thoughtful questions from off-camera interviewer Nathaniel Thompson (of Mondo Digital fame).
In short, InterVision has done a nice rescue job on a pair of titles that few other companies were likely to salvage. Anyone with a scholarly interest in grindhouse fare will want to check them out.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of The Gestapo’s Last Orgy, click here.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of Deported Women Of The S.S. Special Section, click here.