Review for Helga, She Wolf Of Stilberg
This is a curious film in that it definitely ticks all the right boxes to be a classic sexploitation sleaze-athon of the highest order. It features some really impressive, gooey soft-porn cinematography, plenty of indefensible gratuitous nudity, a b-movie plot, some humorously wooden acting and a reasonable score. It also features ‘Women in Prison’ (apparently a genre on its own right) as well as a saucy dominatrix who is as happy dominating women as she is men. So depending on your proclivities and tastes in film – what’s not to like? Well, quite a lot actually as the whole thing ends up limper than the impressive sum of its parts. Which is not to say that it isn’t worth a look. Just don’t expect too much. it’s not bad enough to be ‘so bad it’s good’ nor good enough to be …. well, any good at all really.
Helga, She Wolf Of Stilberg (1978) is clearly a lesser knock-off of the better-known Ilsa series (‘Isla, She Wolf of the SS’) featuring a cold-hearted, predatory female lead. ‘Helga’ came out just a year after Jess Franco’s direct ‘Isla’ rip-off; ‘Isla, the Wicked Warden’ (1977) though lacks that film’s icy-cold lead. ‘Helga’, was directed by French director Patrice Rhomm (under the pseudonym of Alan Garnier, which itself speaks volumes) who specialised in such stuff.
It features Italian beauty Malissa Longo in the title role, perhaps too pretty and ladylike to be credible as a sadistic nymphomaniac. Previously cast in film’s like Bruce Lee’s ‘The Way of the Dragon’ as an ‘Italian Beauty’, she had also played in dozens of questionable and trashy soft-porn films. As a result, her delivery (albeit in French with English subs) is wooden and lacking in any vitality or camp energy – all of which would have helped make the role more believable.
As ‘Helga’, previously Director of Propaganda for a South American dictator, she is put in command of an all-female prison camp by General Gomez. She has a reputation for abusing the prisoners in a prison camp focused on capturing rebels who are threatening President Steiner’s power.
When the daughter of a rebel political activist lawyer is jailed (Elisabeth Vogel), she is determined to make her life as miserable as possible and break her through rape and torture. Before long, fed up by the consistent abuse and sexual demands, Vogel plots Helga’s demise and her own escape, leading other prisoners to revolt.
Of course the storyline is little more than filler – a narrative to take us from one soft-porn encounter to the next, showing our heroine with a wide variety of inmates and prison guards, all leading to her ultimate and inevitable fall. So it’s lots of predictable women-in-chains, whippings and bed-bound adventures, all lusciously shot on what looks to be 35mm. The print, from what I can see on the streamed link provided, looks very decent.
Unlike previous dubbed editions, this is in native French with English subs – though I’m not sure whether this is any improvement on previous releases or not. I guess it is.
Extras, not seen by this reviewer, include a ‘clothed’ version of some scenes as well as trailers for other ‘Maison Rogue’ releases,
Of passing interest, only though if you are a fan of the film, this may represent something of an upgrade with a decent picture and original language audio. Not to mention those ‘clothed’ alternative takes. Very kinky!