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La Bestia in Calore

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La Bestia in Calore/The Beast in Heat (also known as SS Hell Camp and SS Experiment 2 and Horrifying Experiments of the S.S. Last Days) is an Italian exploitation film released in 1977. Directed by Luigi Batzella and written by Batzella and Lorenzo Artale, it gained notoriety when it was banned in the UK as a video nasty. This is one of many so-called video nasties about fictionalized World War II Nazi POW camp atrocities. The film is currently banned in Australia due to offensive depictions of sexual violence and extreme impact violence throughout. The film is also currently banned in the UK as well.

A beautiful, nefarious senior female SS officer/doctor (Magall) creates a genetic, incubus-like mutant human beast (half man/half beast) football custom shirts. The beast is a rapacious, squat, sex fiend which she uses to torture and molest female prisoners while the Nazis watch. The dwarfish beast is kept on a diet of mega-aphrodisiacs. In addition to the beast, the prisoners (male and female) are stripped naked and forced to endure group interrogations, electric shocks, systematic rape, and beatings. In the meantime a group of Italian partisans from the local village are preparing to attack the Nazi camp.

The film duplicates the formula of the surprise hit Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1974) and its sequels, which popularized the Nazi exploitation subgenre (particularly in Italian cinema). Macha Magall’s sexy yet cruel SS dominatrix is clearly patterned after the titular Ilsa character (played by Dyanne Thorne in all three Ilsa movies), though Magall is less statuesque. Salvatore Baccaro, who plays the Beast, had previously played a similar (though much briefer) role as a bestial prison inmate in Salon Kitty (1976).

The film is considered a B-movie due to the poor sound quality, formulaic plot Runner Waist Pack, and low-grade special effects (amongst other things). The only set is a laboratory with a cage in the middle cheap metal water bottles, with some cheap costumes, poor lighting, and inept editing. The film contains reused war footage from the 1969 Yugoslav movie The Bridge (much of it obviously shot on different film stock) and scenes from Quando suona la campana, another film by the same director, with the lab scenes occupying around 40 minutes of the final film. Several actors from Quando suona la campana were rehired to provide a link with the new footage.

Like many films of the Nazi exploitation subgenre, the movie features torture, gore and nudity.

The film continues to be re-issued in various formats (VHS, DVD). Due to the film’s graphic nature, It has been banned from several countries and remains banned in some countries to this day. In 1992, the Australian Classification Board banned the film for “excessive sexual violence” and the film remains banned in Australia to this day. The film is banned elsewhere too, such as the United Kingdom where it was originally prosecuted as a Video nasty.

The film’s theatrical release in the United States was heavily edited.

Tim Lucas wrote in Sight & Sound that the film was “so reprehensible that there’s not a single real name associated with it” noting the director Paolo Solvay credited as Ivan Kathansky and that the film “doesn’t have anything as impressive to offer as the prodigiously endowed torso of Dyanne Theme in the ‘Ilsa’ concentration-camp series, so its cup runneth over with mayhem instead. A woman’s hand is manacled to a table, covered in blood, as a Nazi torturer uses pliers to pluck one fingernail after another.”

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