Tag Archives: Dyanne Thorne


In 1975, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws defined the idea of blockbuster as we now know it. Despite the epic career that followed, the director has never surpassed this early work. It’s really a full-throttle horror adventure about the trio of shark hunters Roy Schneider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss; a fact that amazingly eluded MCA when they produced numerous sequels (without Spielberg) that reduced Bruce (the shark) to an underwater Jason Vorhees.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show defined “cult classic” like no other film before or since. Although it was relatively slow to take off, it became the staple for audience participating midnight showings and undeniably the number one cult film of all time. It was stupidly remade by Fox (imagine that) in 2016 and deservedly flopped with both critics and its TV audience.

Salo, the 120 Days of Sodom was the last and most notorious film of before he was brutally murdered under mysterious circumstances, shortly after filming. The film itself is only for the strongest stomachs.

Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (directed by Don Edmonds) is one of the most notorious of cult films and made a bonafide 70s grindhouse superstar out of former exotic dancer and softcore porn actress . The main role is loosely based on Ilse Koch—the “Bitch of Buchenwald.” The historical Ilse, wife of the camp’s commander, was known to have frequently flogged prisoners, including pregnant women. At one of her trials, witnesses were produced who testified that she chose Jews with unique tattoos for extermination so that she could keep their skin. After two trials, she was sentenced to life in prison in 1951 for crimes against foreigners, incitement to murder, and attempted murder. In the last few years of her life, she became paranoid that former camp prisoners were conspiring to kill her, and committed suicide in her cell in 1960.

Shot on the same sets as “Hogan’s Heroes,” the film is thoroughly a product of its time. Under that lens of horror/sexploitation/torture porn, it’s less offensive than either a TV series that makes light of the Holocaust or torture porn dressing itself up as sacred Easter pageant theology (2004’s Passion of the Christ). Still, one can question the entertainment value of a buxom blonde Josef Mengele conducting monstrous experiments, but 70s audiences had no qualms, flocking to see it in grindhouse theaters and making it enough of a hit that three sequels followed. Ilsa’s motive for torture is to prove that women can endure more pain than men and should therefore be allowed to fight on the front lines, which is about as convincing as the movie’s opening statement from the producers defending its historical accuracy. It’s unlikely to inspire contemporary viewers to go to do research on Wikipedia. There’s not much in the way of plot, but purely as exploitation, it’s resoundingly successful in accomplishing what it sets out to do.

Poster for Ilsa She Wolf of the SS (1975)With this subject matter, a solid performance is needed. Thorne, with tight, low-cut white blouse and swastika armband, delivers in spades, spitting dialogue out of thin, cruel lips. It must be a testament to her onscreen Continue reading 1975 EXPLOITATION TRIPLE FEATURE: ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS, SWITCHBLADE SISTERS, AND SHIVERS


DIRECTED BY: Brianne Murphy

FEATURING: Anthony Geary, , Sam Gilman, Susan Damante

PLOT:  A Vietnam veteran falls in love with a water nymph, but she can’t love a man who has a soul; the local topless witches’ coven offers to get rid of his for him.

Still from Blood Sabbath (1972)

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Because, let’s face it, the movie’s terrible.

COMMENTS: Sometimes, exploitation movies are so rushed and cut so many corners that they become incoherent and unintentionally strange.  Cases where movies aimed at a six-pack swilling Friday night crowd dare to be intentionally bizarre are far less common.  Blood Sabbath is an ultra-rare example of a jiggle-fest that manages to be weird in both ways.  The story of a world-weary vet who walks to Mexico, falls in love with a water spirit, and sells his soul for love could have made for an odd enough little modern fairy tale, played straight.  But, instead, Blood Sabbath begins with a scene of a gang of longhaired peaceniks luring our hitchhiking hero to their flower power van so they can spray him with beer and taunt him with the dangling melons of a topless hippie chick as they zoom off into the sunset.  Then, a gang of picnicking naked women (including mammacious nudie fave Uschi Digart) try to pants the harried soldier and chase him until he rolls down a ravine and gently knocks himself unconscious.  The casually introduced fantasy elements—water sprites, the witches coven that demands an annual blood sacrifice from the local peasants—and the solemn tone make this an unusual enough drive-in horror movie, but the way the director seizes any opportunity to put a naked woman on screen, regardless of logic, is its weirdest, and its defining, feature.  In the course of the movie we discover that topless go-go dancing is a much bigger part of Satanism than anyone realized, and being sacrificed at a black mass turns out to be surprisingly similar to getting a lap dance.  The flick is amazing, and amusing, in its shamelessness.  The thespianship is abysmal all the way around; the quiet, tormented village priest who occasionally explodes into loud, dramatic bouts of anguished “acting!” is the worst offender.  Campy though her performance may be, future Ilsa, She-Wolf of the S.S. Dyanne Thorne (playing a witch-queen named “Alotta”), emerges as the best actor in the troupe (though the guy who plays the hermit who looks like Lloyd Bridges caught in the early stages of werewolf transformation isn’t half bad).  Of course, it would be hard for anyone to shine when reciting lines like “take my soul, damn you!” and “It’s David.  He came into the cave with blood all over him.  Sacrificial blood!”  Ensorcellment is indicated by the usual array of low-budget acid trip clichés: double images, solarization, colored filters, and zoom-lens abuse.  A random shot of David cradling a dying solider suggests it’s all an allegory for America’s experience in Vietnam, or something.  Though it’s pretty terrible, it’s seldom boring, and you already knew whether you were in this film’s target audience or not when you reached the lines “taunt him with the dangling melons of a topless hippie chick…”  With its eerie fairy tale + naked lady formula, I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that director Murphy had been inspired by the previous year’s (much better) Girl Slaves of Morgana le Fay.

Some jokes are just too easy.  I was going to quip “this movie should be called Boob Sabbath,” but when I went looking for a critical quote, I found that someone (probably many people) beat me to it.  Great minds think alike.


“…this bizarre cross between seventies witch movies, NIGHT TIDE, LOVE STORY and ORGY OF THE DEAD, with romantic meadow-romping, tepid gore effects, crass exploitation… and bad acting is, in a word, awful.”–Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings (DVD)