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Sunday, June 23, 2019

THE BEAST IN HEAT -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

I guess somebody had to try and outdo ILSA, SHE-WOLF OF THE SS, and director Luigi Batzella does his darndest with the horrendous Nazisploitation shocker THE BEAST IN HEAT (Severin Films, 1977), a film so irredeemably vile at times that some scenes might even make Dyanne Thorne's legendary blonde torture tart drop her jaw on the floor with a hollow thud.

Macha Magall (THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE, CASA PRIVITA PER LA SS) plays Dr. Ellen Kratsch, a Nazi scientist whose inhuman gene experiments have turned a once-human test subject into a big, hairy, slobbering troll monster (Sal Boris) who loves it when a beautiful naked woman is tossed into his cage so that he can rape her to death in the most horrific and savagely animalistic manner imaginable (and yes, that includes cannibalism).

I forgot exactly what scientific purpose this serves, but we're talking about the Nazis here so anything goes. Which it does, with all manner of other atrocities going on in Dr. Ellen's laboratory involving captured members of the Italian anti-Nazi underground and their hapless loved ones in an effort to dissuade the group from its disruptive activities. 

If you've seen ILSA, just imagine it as a warm-up for what happens in this super-sordid nightmare of depravity which, if you're like me, will have you on edge waiting for the director to cut away to something else, which he doesn't do.

Meanwhile, the deceptively sweet-looking SS sadist (the delicately-featured Macha Magall as the inhuman torturess is a striking study in contrast) presides gleefully over it all and even takes an active part in the sexual torment of various male prisoners.  Giving what is probably the best performance in the movie, Magall's supremely evil villainess is a real piece of work.

While all this goes on, there's actually an attempt to put on a somewhat normal war movie elsewhere in a nearby Italian village where the underground rebels are trying to rescue their innocent women and children from the clutches of the Nazis. 

It's a rather pedestrian narrative that's directed, as is most of the movie, in an entirely no-frills fashion (but with lovely rustic Italian settings) and, despite overripe acting and some comically bad dubbing, features some fairly exciting and well-staged battle sequences that I found pretty entertaining.

Even here, however, there's the occasional overlap with the other half of the movie, meaning that when the Nazis move into town to round up the women and children, we're treated to more horrors (babies used as target practice, young girls molested and executed) while our main good-guy underground hero is hauled into Dr. Ellen's lab to be subjected to her most perversely sadistic seduction. 

And thus we see the schizophrenic nature of the film, with Nazisploitation at its most extreme (it truly wallows in the deep end of depravity) rubbing shoulders with a rather earnest little war movie that even has its cloyingly sentimental moments. 

But it's that incredible, gibbering human warthog of a rape monster that will really separate those who run screaming from THE BEAST IN HEAT and those who settle in to see if they can endure it.

Buy it from Severin Films

Release date: June 25, 2019
Scanned from 35mm negative elements

Special Features:

    Fascism On A Thread – The Strange Story of Nazisploitation Cinema: A new feature length documentary featuring interviews with Dyanne ‘Ilsa’ Thorne, Malissa ‘Elsa’ Longo, Filmmakers Sergio Garrone, Mariano Caiano, Rino Di Silvestro, Liliana Cavani, Bruno Mattei and many more.
    Nazi Nasty: Interview with Stephen Thrower, Author of MURDEROUS PASSIONS


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