VIDEO: Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS / Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

It’s Mr. Mendo in his very first double feature, produced by (and featuring a cameo appearance by) the Fear Fan! It’s two of the sickest, most controversial movies ever made—for the price of one!

Starting things off is 1975’s Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, an entry in the inexplicably popular Nazi exploitation genre. Ilsa, commandant of a POW camp, conducts gruesome experiments on women to prove their superiority to men, while castrating the men who can’t keep up with her in the sack.

At the top of the bill is Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, also from 1975, the lighthearted tale of Italian fascists who kidnap a group of teenage boys and girls and degrade them for—you guessed it—120 days. The only thing more amazing than this film’s mix of sex, torture, and coprophilia (look it up, kids) is how Fear Fan was able to edit it into something almost work safe!

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  • The Crazy Fish

    You know your movie is awful when, given the choice between it and a movie about a nazi who castrates men, people would prefer to watch the latter.

    I’m glad I got to watch this video before Blip removed it for being too gruesome. :p

  • Michael A. Novelli

    Well, I think I can safely say that every film in my queue that was already covered by The Cinema Snob is out of the way…

  • Premier Blah

    Finally, something actually fitting into the god damned scope of the site – actual infamous movies. You did good work Mike.

  • Pathos

    Incidentally, why DO you have a drawing of a doctor wearing a Nazi armband on your wall? o.O (I’d always assumed it was some sort of fan art)

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Mr. Scratch gave it to me before he moved back to California…

  • kennzeichen1d

    From what I heard, the underproduced awfulness of “120 days…” was intentional, a big “F…. you!” to people who saw still-photos and thought “Hey! Two dozen naked chicks crawling on the floor! Cool!”
    Anyway, two questions:
    – Will there be a video-review of CASINO ROYALE (1967)? I read the written one, but this film is such
    a mess, I think it deserves another round.
    – You mentioned German comedies that killed you inside. Could you name some? Anything starring
    Thomas Gottschalk perhaps?

    • Michael A. Novelli

      When I was a kid in Germany, AFN used to air all the insane European Saturday morning cartoons during the day. The ones from France and Holland were my favorites, but the German ones I didn’t like. Of course, every now and then they’d swap out English episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with German dubbed ones. That always sucked.

      I didn’t really get into live German comedies until I started watching foreign films after joining the Army. I like them, but they depress me…

    • Michael A. Novelli

      I may do Casino Royale at some point, but we’re trying to focus on more recent films at the moment, to help build up a buzz. Trust me, I look forward to the day when my show can follow…say, Repo! with The Noah and both get the same number of hits…

  • fknrat

    Salo is actually getting a blu ray release by the Criterion collection in a few days (Oct 4th 2011). Now you guys can watch the shit eating scene again in glorious remastered condition!

  • Cristiona

    “the inexplicably popular Nazi exploitation genre”

    It’s the boots. Loves me some sexy Nazi boots.

    • Premier Blah

      You and me both it seems.

    • Michael A. Novelli

      If I remember correctly, the Nazi uniforms were designed by none other than Hugo Boss himself…

  • Rhotomago

    this episode took me right back to my childhood just like Proust and his lemon tea soaked madaleine.
    I grew up in a country so conservative even Playboy was banned until fairly recently ,but one of the national TV channels used obscure european art films as filler in a late night feature called cine-club, talk about getting crap past the radar, I feel sorry for kids today who have to make do with the internet ,my generation was witness to freakyness and gibbering insanity that would leave Chtulu looking like the fear fan up there.

    I still wake up at 3 in the morning sometimes remembering that one episode with the nuns and the rabbit…

  • Voyager 6

    Mr Mendo is clearly Ernest Hemingway. I knew he didn’t blow his own head off for reasons that have never been adequately explained….

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Oh? How so?

  • Delawheredad

    You could have included “Ilsa Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks” as well and made it a threefer instead of a twofer. Although that film is actually just more racist than repellently sadistic. Those were movies that could ONLY have been produced in the 60’s and 70’s No one would even attempt to make those movies today. Yes there is straight to video sleeze of every type and for every perversion but there seems to be something lacking in our society when our movie theaters no longer welcome
    Films like these and other “winners” like “Basket Case” and “Blood Sucking Freaks.”
    Terrific editing job. Kind of like the trailer to “Flesh Gordon.” A movie which is 95 percent boobs and wiener jokes has a three minute trailer that you could show to a Sunday social! Astounding!

  • maugg

    There was supposedly also a script written for a 3rd (or 4th, I can’t remember) Ilsa movie where Ilsa faced down none other than Bruce Lee…!

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Nothing that awesome could possibly exist…

      • It appears the laws of physics have been broken:

        It does exist. Or did exist. Or would have. Whatever, the point is the concept is real.

      • HarryDeanOatesStanton

        There is a legendary fake poster for a film called Bruce Lee vs Ilsa in the Bermuda Triangle or some such nonsense.

        • Michael A. Novelli

          Where might one find this poster?

  • Xvbones

    At 3.18, what appears to be a pet hooded rat is visible mostly from shadow immediately to the left of the smiley face balloon.

    I don’t have any comment about that in particular. I just wanted to point that out.

    And also to ask what his name is.

    • Michael A. Novelli

      That would be my cat, Mrs. Norris…

      • Xvbones


        Please tell Mrs. Norris that when tiny portions of her are glimpsed briefly, she bears a resemblance to a hooded rat.

        Or, don’t. Seeing as she likely doesn’t speak English and wouldn’t understand, anyway.

        • Michael A. Novelli

          Just as well. I can’t speak cat, I can barely read it…

  • Daniel

    Salo is a masterpiece of political satire. And joking about Passolini’s murder is not exactly in good taste.

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Passolini died almost forty years ago. I’m not saying that there’s a statute of limitations, but I personally feel that that’s more than enough time. Besides, as disrespectful as that was, this is the man who filmed a naked teenage girl being force-fed a hunk of cheese with nails in it. There’s showing respect for the dead, and then there’s not being able to find the humor in the situation…

  • Andrewdmj

    Please tell me what the clips you used in your opening are. I can identify Plan 9, Zardoz and 2001 A Space Odyssey but I don’t know what the one at 0:07 with the two people on the table is.

    • Michael A. Novelli

      That would be Heavy Metal…