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The Duke On “SS Experiment Camp”

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In these ever-so-liberal times, when, according to The Daily Mail, the BBFC are willing to pass any old fucking smut for to sell on the Digital DVD or whatever, when a fella can walk into a high street store and pick up Cannibal Holocaust (albeit shorn of five minutes or so), when that new Michael Winterbottom about real sexing and also some songs from The Franz Ferdinand’s gets flung into theaters with not a second trimmed from its gooey (w)hole, there are precious few flicks that, for us hobbit types over in the United UK, have the air of genuine notoriety about them.

It’s a far motherfucking cry from the time when The Duke crossed fields and thickets instead of taking the main road home from school, for fear of The Filth discovering the copy of Zombie Flesh Eaters tucked into my school-bag.

There are a few titles, though, a few leftovers from that Video Nasties hoopla that still don’t look like they’ll ever see the legal side of a video-store checkout.

Sergio Garrone’s 1976 Lager SSadis Kastrat Kommandantur, better known as SS Experiment Camp, is most likely one of those flicks. Mind you, folks said that about Cannibal Holocaust once upon a time.

What shocked The Duke fuckless, though, upon finally, via some terrorist organizations and a lung or two that I offered by way of trade, getting hold of a copy of this, the grubbiest of the grubby, is that this is probably the most ridiculous fucking thing I have ever in my life even once set eyes on.

If it wasn’t for the rather grating fact that, y’know, shit like this right here completely trivializes the holocaust, makes a mockery of the genuine slaughter of millions, if it wasn’t for details like that, this would probably be one of my favorite films. Sometimes flicks are just so inspired in their absolute ineptitude that you can’t do a damn thing but love them. Most bad flicks just bore you to tears, but the ones to look out for, those are the ones where every inane line spouted from the face-flaps of the cast is to be cherished and held to your bosom for all ever.

It’s deplorable trash, is what this is. But just you try not to be stunned and utterly awed by the levels of tastelessness and ignorance scaled herein.

SS Experiment Camp opens with a scene wherein a young woman is strapped, totally naked, into some sort of electric chair-type device. What happens is that Hardened Lesbian Guard keeps telling her to say shit over and over about “I swear allegiance to the supreme ruler, our fuehrer”. The victim is having none of this, and eventually she’s killed right there.

Incidentally, this nudity thing is a recurring motif in SS Experiment Camp, so you might wanna note it down for some future studies and so on. Like in Strike, when Sergei Eisenstein kept having circles all over the damn place. Sergio Garrone doesn’t want circles. He wants naked women. That’s his “motif“.

The body gets put into an incinerator, whereby some superimposed flames flap about and then she does this really bizarre silent-movie-meets-Ringu dance of some sort.

Meanwhile, a buncha young muscular fellas, Nazi Fucks in case you were wondering, are getting acquainted with one another, in a non-sexual manner, in their own section of the camp. These scenes with the guards are like scenes from some National Lampoon campus caper of some sort, complete with comedy moustaches and “zany” score. You half expect John Belushi to wander in, trousers at his knees, and do a big fucking fart. You’d laugh your hole off.

As a new batch of prisoners are being brought in for to shower in soft-focus (interestingly, these prisoners are never referred to as being Jewish, but rather “political enemies” or some such), the fellas debate the “mission” they’ve been brought here for.

“I hope it’s a mission of a sexual nature” muses Hunky Nazi.

What happens next is we get the first chance to let our jaws smack the motherfucking carpet on account of the utter feckless, tasteless bravado on display. Unbelievably, it turns out one of the prisoners, who let’s not forget is being brought here against her will to be strapped to electric chairs and also to have sex for “experiments”, develops a crush on one of the Nazi’s, a fella called Helmet, and so a fucking stunningly insensitive love-story gets flung into the mix.

Really, if someone told you this shit you wouldn’t believe them. You’d laugh in their faces. Shut your mouth, you’d say. What kind of shit is this you want me to believe, anyhow?

You can believe it though, since look, I’m telling you all about it.

Nazi Colonel seems to be having a bit of a dilemma in his own quarters. We know something’s wrong, since he’s sitting by the fire staring intensely at the glass of wine in his grip. Maybe a fly flew into it, and he’s pissed off, like when you get a cup of coffee and set it on the floor and then two seconds later you lift it and find a fucking bluebottle landed in it, and you have to pour the whole damn thing out. Maybe it was expensive wine, and he’s pissed as fuck.

Via a flashback, we see that the cause of Nazi Colonel’s staring and gripping ever tighter is because of one time when they were raiding the ghettos, and there’s a girl in one of the houses. Being a Nazi Fuck, he thinks nothing of forcing himself on her sexually. We see it getting rather intense, and then it cuts back to the fireside and the staring.

What The Duke was thinking was that maybe he’s suffering some serious guilt from his actions, questioning just what kind of “New World” this regime can bring, anyhow, when it’s reduced folks like him, with his expensive wine and nice fireplace, to a barbaric murdering demon?

Still, it doesn’t stop him going along to help Hardened Lesbian Guard discuss “studding” and so on, other sexual “experiments”.

As is the wont of these Naziploitation flicks, there’s a brothel involved, since let’s face it, Salon Kitty made a lot of the green back in the day. What happens is a couple prisoners are taken to this brothel, and are enlisted for to keep up the morale of the soldiers by doing things like sexing with them. “Skinny bitches, aren’t they?” observes the owner.

Next thing anyone knows, Nazi Colonel’s in the middle of a meeting with a bearded type, who we soon learn is a doctor, a Jewish man who changed his identity to escape these fucking bastards, but they rumbled him. Nazi Colonel asks him all about some “transplant” of some sort. Can it be done? I don’t care if it’s dangerous, man. So on and so forth.

I thought for a second that maybe it was going to get all philosophical, that maybe the plot would develop along the lines of Nazi Colonel gets a brain transplant because he can’t live with the guilt and so on. Something hi-tech like that. Some “experiment” of some sort.

I didn’t have even a damn second for to ponder it, though, since Hardened Lesbian Guard has taken one of the feisty prisoners for to have a sex with. Another “experiment.”

Jaw dropping moment #346 – As the prisoner stands outside the room, post-“experiment”, with about a dozen other girls waiting to go in for some of the same “experiments”, she sighs and says about how great a time these girls are in for. How amazing these experiments are. Gee, I’m sure glad these Nazi Fucks kidnapped me since this sexing is something else. “It’s incredible. You’ll see.” Those kindsa unbelievable sentiments.

Jaw dropping moment #347 – A little later, the same prisoner is sitting having some toast in the camp. “I’d almost forgotten what marmalade tasted like”, she says. “If they keep on treating us like this, they get my vote.”

What’s a fella to do but shake his motherfucking head in disbelief? Did she really just say that? Who the fuck wrote this? What kind of sheer fucking moronic nonsense is this, anyhow?

“They get my vote.” Fucking hell, man.

Anyhow, Helmet, ie the Nazi Love Interest is obviously a bit unsure about it all. To be honest, he looks like the kinda fella who might take a rifle into the barracks and blow the shit out of these motherfuckers at the film’s close. Maybe he’ll even get shot himself, and the film ends like as if the tape just snapped in the machine. You just get that idea from looking at him.

He’s having to listen to Nazi Hunk yack on about all these beautiful women he’s getting to sex with, in the name of “experiments.” “The idea of banging a girl” he shares, “Even in an experiment, really turns me on.”

Helmet obviously takes offence to this statement, for some reason or other. “Every time you open your mouth you talk shit”, he says. All the other Nazi Fucks find this statement hilarious. Not Nazi Hunk, though. If anything, he’s downright offended by it. “I didn’t like your remark about shit”, he makes clear.

Around this time, even though there were only about 29 minutes gone, I was beginning to question the legitimacy of all these “experiments”. What seemed to be happening was that folks were just having lots of soft-focus sexing. I didn’t see much scientific worth in it all, to be honest.

Garrone, however, is one goose-step ahead. Just as these doubts regarding the “experiments” were beginning to form, he presents a fella sitting in a big tank of water. Not only this, but there are test-tubes bubbling about the place, and even those things from the future that have the two prongs and the lightening going up the middle. It’s scientific as fuck.

The fella in the tank gets to have some sex with a young lady prisoner, and then two of his Nazi Fuck peers come in for to do the same, with a couple other prisoners. One girl seems a bit unmoved by it all, but the rest are having a whale of a time. “For this, you didn’t need to drug me” purrs one of them.

Fucking hell, man. Just fucking hell, is all.

The girl who “refused to co-operate”, however, soon learns the price of such thoughtless frigidity. She gets put in the big water tank, the water turned to boiling, then back rapidly to ice-cold, until she’s frozen, with icicles hanging from her and stuff. Bald Nazi laughs heartily at this. “Before she was only frigid”, he quips. “Now she’s freezing!” Ha ha, he says. Ha ha ha. He’s laughing, is the reason.

Garrone was obviously wary about maybe folks would think he just was just cashing in on the success of Salon Kitty, and that really, something like SS Experiment Camp should be the last thing anyone anywhere should want to spend a year (or a week, most likely) crafting. As if to counter the inevitable arguments about “You really are a fucking mornic little shit”, he throws in a few hefty scenes wherein Hardened Lesbian Guard and The Doctor have chats about “Heretical theory” and all sorts of intellectual concerns. All kinds of ideological thoughts get a going-over, all sorts of philosophical bantering.

Keeping up the philosophical end of things, Nazi Colonel invites Helmet over to his quarters for a bit of the old philosophizing. He wants to wax philosophical is all. Come philosophize with me, Helmet. Pointing to the fire, he notes that “Fire represents purity. And right now, also warmth.”

Next thing Helmet knows, though, this philosophizing is revealed as a heinous motherfucking sham, since Nazi Guard just wants to drug him and get him to have a sex or two with three prisoners. Nazi Guard looks on as all manner of bumping, thrusting, oohing and so on unfolds before him. By way of unbearable fucking poignancy, however, Helmet’s prisoner lover, Muriel, is telling her friends how much she loves him.

If only she knew, man. Not only does that Helmet motherfucker wanna be a member of The Nazi Party and such, but there he is getting it on with three soft-focus nakeds. It’s enough to make a man weep for a fortnight.

Over at the brothel, a bunch of the young Nazi Fucks and Bald Nazi are getting pissed and having sexes and doing comedy burps. Bald Nazi, however, spies a young girl hiding under the stairs. Perturbed by her lack of interest in his oafish, stinking, balding, mustachioed advances, he forces her into some sex with him. “What are you, some kind of virgin?”, he gasps, as if the thought were unthinkable.

This girl, in fact, is a fantastic actress. She has the look of a silent movie star about her, like she should have been in Greed or Sunrise or some shit, instead of this pish. Her eyes are awash with grief, a mourning of her own innocence. It’s really rather beautiful.

Of course, it’s not long before she’s attacking Bald Nazi with a pair of scissors, and he’s taking her outside and hanging her upside down from a post, whilst the others look on.

This image is probably one of the most famous in exploitation cinema, certainly here in the United UK.

A bit of anthropological context, motherfucker;

Back in the day, being the day just after video-cassettes were invented, folks had a lot to choose from when they took a trip down the old VHS-hole. A multitude of garish sleeves donned the shelves, things like Faces Of Death and Driller Killer, things with covers that promised the kindsa carnage no film could ever live up to, even if it was directed by Lucio Motherfucking Fulci. What the distributors of these flicks had to do, was to make sure their cover stood out against such fierce competition.

The folks responsible for getting SS Experiment Camp into the hands of a filthy public, however, weren’t gonna settle for luck. Not only did they make sure the naked woman hanging upside down filled the cover (with arms outstretched so it looked like she was crucified, also), but they took out full-page ad’s in magazines, making sure that everyone with even the slightest interest in those gargantuan fucking machines below the telly would now about this flick about the “experiments”.

Interestingly, some magazines refused to carry the ad unless a bra was painted over the upside down woman’s breasts.

Any the hell way, what occurs is that Helmet realizes he’ll soon be sent off to some other post of some kind, and goes to talk to Nazi Colonel. He can’t bear to be separated from Muriel, is what, and if only there was some way he could prolong his stay here.

Nazi Colonel wants to stroke his chin and stuff like that, on account of he has a plan, don’t you know? What it is, he explains, is that there’s an “experiment” lined up, a very important one, and if only somebody would participate, then most likely they’d be here for fuck knows how long.

“Take me, sir!” implores young Helmet, and before we know what the hell’s going on, he’s lying on a bed in the “experiment” room, right next to Nazi Colonel, except Nazi Colonel is on a different bed, obviously. I mean come the hell on, these are Nazi Fuck’s after all, and whilst it’s ok for lesbians to have as many sexes as they please, men are obviously much hairier, and therefore less pleasing to the eye.

I presumed that what would happen is that maybe Helmet’s brain would be swapped with Nazi Colonel, and that Nazi Colonel finds himself with a clean slate, and so goes off into the world ready to sully his soul afresh. Helmet, I was guessing, would be driven insane by the unfounded emotions he now possessed, and would probably go apeshit with an AK-47.

I would be, in the words of Cecil B. DeMille, “wrong as all crud-fucked hell”.

What happened back in the flashback, y’see, the one that got Nazi Colonel so upset a while back with the wine and the fire and the shadows on the wall, was that the lady he was busy raping decided to give him some oral pleasure. Next thing anyone knows, though, there she is, with his nuts in her mouth, bitten to blazes right off his body.

He wasn’t feeling guilty at all. He wants some new testicles, is what the fuck’s wrong with him.

Helmet gets his testicles removed in seriously cringe-inducing, lingering close-up, and then it’s ages later, like six months or some shit, and Nazi Colonel’s just preparing to try them out.

Luckily for him, the “experiment” was “a complete success, medically speaking.”

Nazi Colonel tries chatting up some middle-aged lady in the brothel, maybe with some of that philosophy of his all about the fire and all, but he needn’t bother his stinking arse. “You’re trying to say you want to fuck?”, she deduces. Next thing he knows, she’s lying on his bed, admiring the fine coverings. “You’ll be able to enjoy it more often if you wish”, purrs Nazi Colonel.

He’s a little quick off the mark there, however. He’s counting his chickens before his eggs or whatever. He’s jumping his guns like nobodies business.

Helmet, y’see, has just met up with Muriel after months apart. They’re so happy to see each other that they barely have time to philosophize before the clothes are flung the hell across the floor in a suggestive manner. He’s on top, and he wants to do some kissing and so on, but something’s wrong. He’s pushing and panting, and to be honest, Muriel’s getting a little unnerved. “What the matter with me!” screams Helmet. “I’m not able to make love to you!”

“It happens sometimes”, consoles his love, but no, something’s amiss. Something definitely isn’t right. Oh my God, could it have something to do with those damn “experiments”?

It doesn’t take much longer for Helmet to realize that he doesn’t have any bollocks anymore. To be honest, I think if it was me, I think I’d be pretty sure the moment I opened my eyes after the “experiment” that holy shit, man, my testicles have gone!

Helmet’s got too much on his mind, though, what with the love and the philosophy. When he discovers that all that pushing and so on isn’t gonna be any use, that he has no testicles any more, the first thing he wants to do is grab a rifle and run the hell over to that Nazi Colonel son of a bitch.

“What have you done with my balls!?” he demands.

“I know what I did was very bad”, says Nazi Colonel, playing the old understatement card as ever, trying for the subtlety and so on. You can shove your subtlety up your hole, however. Helmet’s not accepting that.

Anyway, what happens is that it ends pretty soon after all that. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ve been deliberately light on plot details. I hope you understand. I just don’t want to ruin it for you.

SS Experiment Camp is an utterly wretched film, a morally indefensible slab of fucking garbage, a woefully inept, inhumane and offensive blotch on the scrotum of culture. The truth, though, if, indeed, you can handle it, is that I was glued to the screen.

I couldn’t sleep at night, however, if I thought you might assume The Duke to be in support of this truck. But I’ll be damned if that unbridled lack of concern for cinematic competence or human devastation isn’t terrifyingly hypnotic.

And I’ve still got Ilsa – She Wolf Of The SS to get through.

Fucking sweet Hell, man.

The Duke resides at Mondo Irlando – “Not all bad, just mostly”- Weblog Review

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  • Antfreeze

    You and my big brother would sure get along swimmingly Mr. Mondo. He actually intentionally owns Plan 9 from Outer Space, Death Race 2000, and many other unbelievably horrible piles of cinamatic phlegm. I can never decide whether to laugh or to cry. As always, great review though. thanks

  • Vic


    You sir, are talented. I would NEVER have been able to write such a long review on a movie like that.

    BTW, many years ago I watched “Ilsa – She Wolf Of The SS”. Prepare yourself for more of the same, if not worse.


  • aw, thanks folks. I knew one day i’d be appreciated for this, instead of being banned from social gatherings. Damn town council.

    Vic, from the couple seconds i looked at of Ilsa so far, i can deduce that the production values seem to be higher. Other than that, looks like you’re pretty spot on.

    Antfreeze, Plan 9 is my second favourite film of all damn time. Heh. Your brother sounds like the kinda fella a man might have a chat with in a cafe, and then leave, mysteriously, half-way through. Death Race is fun, but hardly Plan 9.

    Incidentally the top spot is occupied by Manhattan by Woody Allen, just in case you were wondering. And taxi driver takes 3. So there you go.