Saturday 18 March 2017


The second release on the new Maison Rouge DVD label, Helga, She Wolf of Stilberg is out now on DVD.

AKA The She Wolf of Spilberg and not to be confused with Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS, Helga is part of the Nazisploitation genre that sprung up in Europe in the 1970s (Basically, they still like to wear military uniforms with symbols on their arms, but their moustaches are different), and is still going to this day to some degree, although often with added zombies. 

Helga stars Malisa Longo as the nymphomaniac prison warden title character, dominating the women that are rounded up and sent to her to be used as currency with the local farmers who line up the women and decide who they are going to rape in a barn. I'd go as far to say that Helga isn't the main character, as the focus drifts onto Elisabeth and her attempts to free herself and her fellow prisoners from this cycle of abuse.

Something of a recurring theme in the exploitation world, Helga, She Wolf of Stilberg is a hell of a title that may garner more enjoyment from saying it out loud than actually watching it. That's perhaps to be expected from Patrice Rhomm, the director of bawdy titles like Captive Women 4 aka Elsa, She Devil (also in the Nazisploitation genre). Under various pseudonyms including the frankly amazing Homer Bingo, Rhomm directed a number of films in and around the "adult" movie genre of Italy, and that's fine, but hopefully they contain better sexual politics than Helga.

There's whipping, leather, sexual and physical domination and the sexual procurement of women, and although there is an inevitable fight back against this patriarchal regime by some spirited young prisoners tired of their treatment, their knee high leather boots and high hells slow down their attempts to escape, and they are easily recaptured. Typical.

The sexual violence here is often displayed as something sensual, and that's a very clear and disturbing issue you have to try to come to terms with in order to enjoy this film. In one scene the prisoners are forced to strip off one by one for examination by a moustachioed officer, but the fact that this clinical procedure is meant to excite and potentially arouse the audience says it all, really.

As a document of the era in which it was made that's fair enough, but by modern standards it can make for uncomfortable viewing. Unlike the first release on the Maison Rouge label, Bare Breasted Countess, that could be appreciated as tittilating fluff, Helga's focus on sexual domination may leave a bitter after taste. There's some value in Helga's exploitation tropes, but only as long as it's viewed by an audience who can distinguish that this is a product of its location, genre and time.


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