(A.k.a. LE DEPORTATE DELLA SEZIONE SPECIALE SS)
A group of women lie scattered across the interior of a grubby train racing through Europe by night. Pretty young Tania (Lina Polito) manages to get into an altercation with hard-faced Helga (Erna Schurer) when she prevents the latter from forcing herself upon another girl.
A short while later, the women arrive at their destination: a castle in the countryside which has been converted into a Nazi prison camp. They’re divided into three groups and warned to stay within their own segregated dormitories. The prettiest bunch are told they’ll be assigned to the camp’s Joy Division – where they’ll satisfy the deviant desires of German officers, of both the male and female variety.
Tania is one such lady. Unfortunately for her, Helga is assigned to the Joy Division too … as a prison guard. It looks like times are going to get extremely tough for our lead.
But then, the camp’s commandant, Erner (John Steiner), takes a shine to Tania and decides to single her out for some extra attention. Unimpressed with her initial attempt at escaping, he throws her into solitary confinement. Before long he has a change of heart and invites her to his quarters for a spot of dinner. During which, he seeks to impress the young brunette by having two of his female officers perform oral sex on him for Tania’s entertainment.
Hmm, she doesn’t seem overly impressed by this or the ritualistic degradation suffered by her comrades at the hands of lesbian guards. And so, with the assistance of friendly Nazi doctor Schubert (Rik Battaglia), a more elaborate revenge-escape plan begins to take seed …
Rino Di Silvestro made some outlandishly sleazy films in his time. WOMEN OF CELLBLOCK 7 got the ball rolling; arguably his crazy pinnacle came in the form of HANNA D, itself a rip-off of German arthouse hit CHRISTIANE F.
Inevitably for a filmmaker working in the Italian exploitation industry during the mid-70s, Di Silvestro was drawn towards the short but to-this-day notorious Nazisploitation sub-genre which aimed to cash in on the success of the likes of THE DAMNED and THE NIGHT PORTER.
His entry, DEPORTED WOMEN OF THE SS SPECIAL SECTION, stands as one of this ignoble sub-genre’s more polished efforts. Though whether that’s really saying much is debatable.
It’s certainly well-shot, benefits from decent production values and can boast proficient editing. There’s real atmosphere to be felt in some scenes and moments of style that elevate this above the expected skid row visuals of something like SS EXPERIMENT CAMP and recall something approaching a Eurohorror look.
Also, a handful of scenes really do get close to being persuasive. Stelvio Cipriani’s mournful score playing over the protracted montage of prisoners having their heads and groins shorn with manual clippers; the glances of suspicion and mistrust exchanged between inmates during the communal shower scenes: it’s not great art by any stretch, but moments like these do at least demonstrate an eye for detail that’s lacking in the cinema of, say, Sergio Garrone.
Steiner admits in this DVD’s bonus features that he only made the film for the money. And yet, his performance is totally committed. It’s hilarious in its own right, of course, but he definitely gives it his all – naff accent, leering sneer and all – right up until his infamously tasteless comeuppance. Perhaps his most brain-frying moment on screen comes when he vents his sexual frustrations out on henchman Doberman (Guido Leontini) by giving him a sudden bumming!
The rest of the cast have little more to do that scream abuse at each other (badly dubbed here) and run around naked. All are natural women, all look good.
While the sub-genre’s usual ingredients are all present (nudity, lesbianism, rape, torture, catfights) and the film exhibits more style than the average Nazi sleaze-a-thon, it must be mentioned that it’s also both slow in pace and a little tame when compared against similar titles such as GESTAPO’S LAST ORGY. A focus on flimsy plot and a whiff of campiness keep it from attaining true nasty status.
Released through Severin Films’ rejuvenated Intervision sub-label and timed to coincide with both their GESTAPO’S LAST ORGY special edition and their US debut of the awesome VIDEO NASTIES: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE, DEPORTED WOMEN comes to region free DVD fully uncut.
The 1.85:1 picture is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Though the English opening titles look ropy as Hell, presumably sourced from an old VHS tape, the remainder of the film thankfully benefits from a pretty decent transfer. Blacks are stable, compression is nil, the print used is largely clean and colourful. It’s not the sharpest presentation but it is the best the film is likely to look on home video.
English 2.0 audio is clear and free from background distraction for the duration of playback.
A static main menu page opens the disc. From there, a static scene selection menu allows access to the film via 14 chapters.
Extras begin with the same 36-minute documentary that features on the GESTAPO’S LAST ORGY DVD. This finds German scholar Marcus Stiglegger racing through a brief history of Nazisploitation cinema, taking in the likes of KAPO, THE DAMNED, THE NIGHT PORTER and SS EXPERIMENT CAMP along the way.
A 29-minute video chat with the late Di Silvestro follows. The late director discusses his fascinating rise from underwater documentarian to ghost writer on Italian movie scripts (working with Lucio Fulci for some time) and then gravitating to directorial duties with the surprise grindhouse hit WOMEN OF CELLBLOCK 7. This is an excellent addition to the disc.
No less entertaining is a 9-minute video interview with Steiner. Conducted by an off-screen Nathaniel Thompson, this finds the actor in jovial and acerbic mode as he speaks of his trashy acting career and why he quit with a rare degree of honesty. Anecdotes include Di Silvestro producing two huge dildos while considering possible endings for DEPORTED WOMEN, and Steiner’s amusing reaction to Polito’s reluctance to bare all. Great stuff.
All in all, DEPORTED WOMEN OF THE SS SPECIAL SECTION gets a superb DVD release from Severin Films/Intervision.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Intervision Picture Corp|
|see main review|