DEPORTED WOMEN OF THE S.S. SPECIAL SECTION: Agreeable Sleaze Behind Enemy Lines

Nazisploitation films have a reputation for being the scuzziest of exploitation fare, particularly Italy’s wave of entries into this subgenre.  This reputation isn’t undeserved but there are some Neapolitan Nazisploitation epics that would be palatable to exploitation fans who normally consider this type of film to be a step too far into bad taste.  A good example is Deported Women Of The S.S. Special Section, a fast-moving effort from Rino Di Silvestro that is sleazy in agreeable sort of way.

DeportSS-posDi Silvestro’s screenplay uses the Nazi element as set dressing for what is essentially a women-in-prison flick spiced up with some period-specific war movie elements.  In this case, the film opens with a train car full of unlucky prisoners of war being deposited at a German castle where they are sorted out to serve the S.S.’s wartime needs (field whores, medical experiment subjects, etc.). The camp is presided over by Erner (John Steiner), a slick but eccentric type who revels in his ability to dispense twisted punishments to both prisoners and his faithful staff.

Erner is delighted when he learns one of his new prisoners is Tania (Lina Polito), a former noblewoman-turned-subversive who spurned his romantic advances during their pre-wartime years.  Now that she is at his mercy, he plots to break her down and make her his willing concubine. Meanwhile, a variety of subplots deal with attempted escapes, illicit affairs between guards and prisoners and a burnt-out Austrian doctor who resolves to help Tania.  All the plot threads add up an eventful third act where desperate moves are made and scores are settled in creatively twisted ways.

Unlike a lot of Italo-Nazisploitation, Deported Women Of The S.S. Special Section isn’t on a mission to gross you out.  Di Silvestro shies away from the gross medical experiment/morbid torture side of things, instead concentrating on sleaze via plentiful nudity and sex scenes.  He treats the prisoner/captor conflict in a classically pulpy style, manipulating audience sympathy toward the prisoners and giving us amusingly nasty Nazis that are easy to hate.  He really tops himself during the finale, which includes such delights as a uniquely vicious way to stop a would-be rapist and a naked woman shooting down Nazi troops with a machine gun.

Di SilveDeportSS-pos2stro further amps up the fun/sleaze quotient with some deliciously over-the-top performances.  Steiner, a reliable actor in Italian genre fare from this era, gets the craziest role of his career with Erner and really drives it home.  He wisely keys into the overripe, pulpy nature of the storyline and hams it up like the villain from a John Waters film.  Also worthy of note is Paola D’Egidio who is enthusiastically nasty as a turncoat prisoner who becomes a predatory guard.  Polito is restrained for most of the film but gets to crank it up during the finale, throwing herself into the avenging-angel side of things and never shying away from the sleaze.

To sum up, Deported Women Of The S.S. Special Section is one of the more accessible Nazisploitation films and the kind of fast-moving programmer that any fan of women-in-prison fare can enjoy.  If you’re an exploitation fan looking for a sleazy yet safe way into this oft-daunting subgenre, this flick will function nicely as the cinematic version of a gateway drug.

3 Replies to “DEPORTED WOMEN OF THE S.S. SPECIAL SECTION: Agreeable Sleaze Behind Enemy Lines”

  1. “a step too far into bad taste” – I would be in that category. Even the less grotesque ones seem to be mining the S&M/Sub-dom exploitation thing – when you add in the Nazi element to that, it creeps me out (even if someone wants to mount a defense, however unlikely, that it is an allegory for the sub-dom seduction of the German people by the Nazis). But I may check this one out if I get the nerve sometime, as I don’t believe in gateway drugs.

    On a different note, I’m definitely looking forward to your thoughts on Cold in July. Saw it last night. I think it will be up your alley.

    1. Yeah, these are definitely not for everybody. Tellingly, I never saw either of the Nazisploitation films I’ve covered this week until I had to review them. Thankfully, they were two of the more interesting/ambitious entries in this debauched subgenre.

      FYI, there’s a great special feature on the DEPORTED disc where a German academic discusses the history of the “sadiconazista” film, breaking down its surprising historical and arthouse influences and then discussing these films in a way that is scholarly without trying to make them more than they actually are.

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