The Trope Maker of the Nazisploitation subgenre was Love Camp 7, made in 1969 six years earlier. When that was a big hit in Canada, André Link and John Dunning of Montreal distributor Cinepix quickly drafted the script for this movie, and secured David F. Friedman (who'd starred in Love Camp 7 and produced Herschell Gordon Lewis's Blood Feast) as a producer.
Former Las Vegas showgirl Dyanne Thorne stars as the eponymous Ilsa, the buxom, sadistic, nymphomaniac commandant of what seems to be an odd combination of a Stalag (prisoner-of-war camp) and a Jewish death-camp. Ilsa has an insatiable sexual appetite and each night takes one of the male prisoners to bed, castrating them when they ejaculate before she has orgasmed herself. By day, she conducts experiments on other prisoners, attempting to prove that women can sustain more pain than men and thus should be allowed to fight in the army. When an American prisoner by the name of Wolfe is brought to the camp who can withhold ejaculation, she is finally sated, but otherwise things turn to hell for her when his resulting allowance to live culminates in him rallying an uprising amongst the prisoners and her death.
Luckily for her, she's back alive and well in the sequels Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976), Ilsa, the Wicked Warden and Ilsa, the Tigress of Siberia (both 1977).
Notable for being filmed on the former set of Hogan's Heroes.
This film provides examples of:
- Artistic License History:
- The movie, being an exploitation film, ignores the fact that no woman was ever the commandant of a Nazi prison camp, and capitalizes on the very real sadism and hypersexuality of such SS Aufseherinnen as Ilse Koch (who was infamously — but falsely — accused of having gloves and lampshades made from the skin of the prisoners of her husband's concentration camp and upon whom the title character is loosely based) and Irma Grese (who was incredibly sadistic towards the prisoners of the camp she was a warden of, especially the female ones).
- Also, a number of signs are seen that use Fraktur, a font which was banned by the Nazis in 1941.
- B-Movie: A World War II action film that is also a rampant softcore pornography film, a piece of Torture Porn, and was filmed on (and blew up) the set of Hogan's Heroes, of all places.
- The Baroness: Ilsa is one of the most infamous and solid examples of the Sexpot type, being very sensual and very sadistic.
- Belly Dancer: Generously shown throughout Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks. One of them, however, turns out to be an American spy using a belly gem as a recording device, which is later found by Ilsa's bodyguards and dooms the spy to torture with the help of a breast-crushing device and later on dies by getting blown up by a bomb embedded in her cervix.
- Black Bra and Panties: Ilsa gets reduced to her black lingerie (complete with black stockings) in the ending.
- Buxom Is Better: The films draw a lot of attention to Dyanne Thorne's assets as a way to establish Ilsa's sexiness, complete with prolonged shower scenes in more than one film.
- Chained to a Bed: Ilsa is tricked into this trope by Wolfe, resulting in his escape and her death by Boom, Headshot! courtesy of her fellow Nazis who she thought were there to rescue her.
- Chainsaw Good: There are arm-wrestling matches in Tigress of Siberia where the loser gets his hand cut off by a chainsaw.
- Commie Nazis: Ilsa somehow manages to go from being the commander of a Nazi POW camp in She-Wolf of the SS to being the commander of a Soviet Gulag in Tigress of Siberia.
- Depraved Bisexual: Ilsa is attracted to men in all films, but The Wicked Warden also has her take one of the prisoners of the all-female psychiatric hospital she oversees as her lover. Ilsa being Ilsa, she enjoys torturing her during the sexual act.
- Devoured by the Horde: The Wicked Warden has Ilsa's inmates corner her in her quarters, rip and tear her apart, and eat her.
- Dolled-Up Installment: There are three sequels set in contemporary times with Ilsa not only alive but still reasonably young. This is because those films were initially spiritual successors of the original Ilsa film staring Thorne as more or less the same character. After they were made, they changed the titles and dubbed her name in. This also explains why she apparently died more than once.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Even Ilsa seems to find it repulsive when the General asks her to urinate in his mouth.
- Exploitation Film: A film series that focuses on a lot of Torture Porn and actual softcore porn.
- Fan Disservice: If you found any portion of this film other that Dyanne Thorne to be arousing, something's seriously wrong with you.
- Fanservice: However, you can get aroused by Dyanne Thorne's...bombs, or by Gregory Knoph, her "distraction."
- Gorn: The films feature a lot of extreme, sadistic, over-the-top bloody violence.
- Great Escape: All films end with Ilsa's prisoners staging a break from whatever facility that she's managing they're in.
- Groin Attack: At one point, Ilsa tortures her patients with an electrified dildo.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks, Ilsa devises penetration-triggered, exploding diaphragms, and the sheikh she serves under, El Sharif, has one put in his mistress Katsina while she is unconscious. At the end, when Ilsa initiates a rebellion and has El Sharif chained and gagged, Ilsa lies to Katsina telling her that Sharif's final wish before his execution is sleeping with her, so when Katsina mounts him, the bomb is activated and it explodes, killing them both.
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: The American prisoner and his main female Jewish prisoner love-interest refuse to participate in the killings of the Nazis for this reason, and try to dissuade the others from doing so. Doesn't stop 'em from doing so anyway once they're out of earshot.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The Wicked Warden ends with the inmates bursting into Ilsa's private chambers and devouring her alive.
- Just Desserts: How Ilsa meets her end in The Wicked Warden, eaten alive by her own slaves.
- Nazisploitation: The film is considered the Trope Codifier for Exploitation Films centered around Nazis committing horrific acts as overseers of prisons or camps.
- Pragmatic Villainy: When the General finds out about Ilsa's torture and experimentation, he's not happy... because it diverts valuable time and resources away from the war effort.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The first two films share several stock library music cues with Dawn of the Dead (1978), of all films.
- Role Called: The film's title consists of Ilsa's name and her job title (or rather her Red Baron).
- Sex God: Wolfe. This is thanks in part to being able to go for as long as he wants without having an orgasm.
- The Sociopath: Ilsa is arrogant and has a complete Lack of Empathy.
- Stocking Filler: Ilsa gets reduced to her underwear at the end, complete with the classic black stockings.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Well, ja. Ilsa is a SS officer (at least in the first film) and the first film takes place in a camp.
- Torture Porn: The films give heavy, focused attention to Cold-Blooded Torture and mutilation of people (besides the actual softcore porn).
- Trash the Set: The finale of She Wolf of the SS utterly demolished the Hogan's Heroes set. This was actually the main reason why the Hogan's Heroes producers allowed She Wolf of the SS to be filmed in their set to begin with, since they would not have to pay for demolitionists.
- Your Head A-Splode: When Ilsa gets shot in the head at the end, her head explodes like a balloon.