SS GIRLS (1977)

SS Girls opens with a lot of random shots in a seemingly abandoned house, accompanied by annoying organ music. Evil Nazi Hans Schellenberg is put to the task of recruiting ten women, who are willing to prostitute themselves to learn the secrets of top ranking German officers. Because the Nazi elite are scared that their loyal minions aren’t as trustworthy as they should be. Does this seem familiar? If it does, then you’ve already seen Tinto Brass’ superior Salon Kitty which SS Girls steals heavily from. Fortunately, that doesn’t really matter since this is a Bruno Mattei film and when watching any of his creations the word “original” is not a word that will cross your path for the duration.

Mattei makes a decent decision in showing the girls’ training as a musical montage. What they show of it is mostly completely random stuff, but it works in its limited capacity. Their training in sexual perversions here is nothing special. Salon Kitty managed to make this work to great effect, by actually being competently made. No such luck here.

Schellenberg, played by Gabriele Carrara, is one of the most evil looking villains I’ve come across in any film. He looks like a young coked-up Steve Martin come to think of it. In all fairness, seeing Schellenberg in full make-up and dressed as the Pope at one point wasn’t half bad. I’ll give you a point there Bruno. He’s more over-the-top than Helmut Berger was in Salon Kitty, becoming a parody of himself. Perhaps it’s not surprising, but equally underwhelming and hilarious. The German officers are a horny bunch of perverts. This supplies us with a generous amount of female nudity, which I consider good, yet it manages to about as erotic as a trip to the dentist (assuming you’re not a masochist or Jack Nicholson). You know you could and probably should watch porn instead. There is the usual tedious torture, which won’t scare or please anyone. What I was hoping would be SS Girls saving grace was unintentional laughter from stupid actions and even dumber dialogue. I’m not saying it wasn’t terrible. I’m just saying while being terrible it managed to be so without becoming very funny. The doctor slapping one of the girls for becoming pregnant, calling her “a little slut”, made me chuckle though. At the end Mattei decides he wants to give the film the emotional depth it so sorely needs. He appears to make a serious attempt at giving SS Girls some weight, by making it abundantly clear how horrific the Nazi atrocities are. Could this be his Citizen Kane? No, not this time either Bruno. It was a fair try though.

I doubt there is a more tasteless genre than the naziploitation sub-genre. Apart from the excellent Salon Kitty or Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, none of those I’ve seen have much of what you would call redeeming qualities. Don’t get me wrong. I’m truly glad there have been people pushing the limits of taste and stupidity by making utter garbage such as this. My problem arises when this garbage is able to be as tasteless and offensive as it is and yet remains almost completely without entertainment value. Salon Kitty had a pretty good story, decent actors, some excellent costume design and several poignant images of madness. SS Girls has none of these qualities. Granted I’ve seen way worse than SS Girls, but it remains frequently a dreadful bore. If you, like me, simply have an urge to check out all of the scummiest films ever made then go right ahead, though I highly doubt it will add anything to your life.

In short: There is nothing particularly good about SS Girls or even competent. It just happens to exist, which is about the best thing I can say about the film. Despite all my apprehensions I don’t hate it for some reason. Maybe I pity it? For being what it is you could do a lot worse. Bruno Mattei’s films deserve to be studied for years to come. For more entertaining trash from Mattei I suggest Hell of the Living Dead or Rats: Night of Terror.