SIN AND SWASTIKA - S.S CAMP 5 – WOMENS’ HELL (A.K.A SS LAGER 5 L'INFERNO DELLE DONNE) (1977) REVIEW 18
“You are here for science and the comfort of our soldiers. Your life as leeching parasites on the German Reich has put you high on the list of undesirables……..”
Sergio Garrone shot this grim goose stepper along with the more nefarious but inferior S.S Experiment Camp (the notoriety of this rocketed in U.K due to the 80’s video nasty farce which ironically echoed the Nazis burning books in the ‘30’s – weird that isn’t it?!). Both movies share the same sets and actors; the only differences are that Camp 5 seems more polished and seems to involve more effort by all involved.
Out of the two movies this is the grimmest with harsher tortures that seem to hark back more too medieval times than the pharmaceutical behaviour usually inflicted in such medi- camps.
We are treated to an unconvincing and unintentionally funny incinerator episode involving a few women that tried to escape the hell hole.
The wax seal of 'Sadiconazista' approval is stamped all over it with the obligatory Nazi Lesbian, masses of torture, cod eugenics and melodrama that borders on the twiddling moustached villain variety.
There are a few queasy moments where Garrone intercuts a rape scene (well I am not sure if it is a rape as the actress lays there without emotion as a fully trousered S.S officer writhes and grunts on top of her- not really sure what is going on in all honesty) with guinea-pig failures being incinerated.
This is also hilarious, the bodies are wheeled along a solemn corridor to an incinerator , chucked inside then the most cheapest flames are superimposed over the bodies and a few whiffs of smoke (probably someone off camera sucking on a Marlboro!) appear. The bodies then sprint to life and perform what could be considered a contemporary dance epileptique. So mean spirited but perfect bottom of the barrel entertainment.
Its’ difficult to believe that when this was shown in some cinemas in
There is such fascination with these films that I simply adore. These are the lowest of the low and doesn’t care or desire to be anything more. Despite the negativity there are some redemptions to be spotted and even glimpses of inspiration but with Garrones' directive skills very few in this piece of gruel. Though I doubt many masterpieces have been shot that quickly and simultaneously.
Another horrible piece of holocaust trivialisation is the usage of real atrocity photographs under the titular credits (apparently excised from the Belgian release) but this happened and in a way says ‘if we have the balls to open with this then you kind of know what this pictures going to be about so leave now than whinge about immorality’.
There’s’ also a speech performed by one of the most sadistic S.S officers about how important liquefaction is to the German economy. In this chilling piece he narrates over real footage of hair piled high, briefcases containing treasured possessions, skeletons being flung into pits by bulldozer and other grim imagery that concludes right down to the cost effective way fertiliser is made from the corpses cremated.
Now for a sleazy piece of exploitation this worked extremely well as a piece of chilling drama in its own right; really hammering home and reinforcing how abhorrent we can be to one another. Then we pop back into Grand Guignol ‘comic strip’ ‘how are ze experimentssss comink along’ type of territory that dominates the running time.
Whether this speech is based on numerical fact or bullshit it is based on reality event and for all its’ sleaziness context plays as a bloody good bit of chilling dramatis. Well done bald chap nasty Nazi (not sure of the actors name who played him so will leave out but I have a picture instead-isn’t he wonderfully vaudeville, if he wasn’t incinerating or beating women up he’d be tying ‘em to the train tracks!!!!!! Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!!!!!)
The movies also tend to veer away from overt anti-Semitism preferring degrading ‘general’ expletives which is by no means ‘comfortable’ but less ‘wince-inducing’.
To view ‘SS Camp 5- Womens Hell’ in my opinion, is no different to slowing down on a motorway to stop and see a wrecked car and the possibility of a severed limb and a spot of grief - as it seems we all like to do. This film and its bed-partners are like the flames that attract the moths most would be tempted to sit down and view them but would never own up.
As long as man and women have holes in their asses this type of exploitation will always attract such moths. Good!
The truck rolls into Camp 5 where the women are manhandled from the vehicle and separated into camp whores or lab fodder for the better of the third Reich.
One of the chosen ‘whores’ Alena is a gutsy Jamaican caught whilst resisting with the French partisans.
As well as a fleshpot retreat for inter-battle Nazis the camp also has the added attraction of an experimentation unit. This is run by Colonel Strasser, Dr Karl and Dr.Abraham, Abraham is a Jew forced to carry out such experiments as his daughter, Edith, is incarcerated and this ensures she is ‘overlooked’ for maltreatment.
Dr.Abrahm is also another ‘staple ingredient stereotype’ for this type of film - the Nazi with the conscience and usually declares ‘THIS IS SO WRONG!!!’ now and again throughout the film.
It seems they are working on some sort of antidote for a napalm type of burn. Girls are wheeled in, some gloop applied to the flesh and whilst her arms and head are restrained it is set on fire. This produces an ear splitting 20 seconds of hysterics and what sounds like fat sizzling on the soundtrack.
The burn is then opened and a healing balm spread over the freshly sore area but doesn’t seem to do much good as it looks like nearly every patient seems to die in every test.
This sequence happens twice with different damsels and gives plenty opportunity of graphic breast zooming; capturing nearly every ‘wobble’, exquisitely and tastelessly achieved - courtesy of dear Sergio.
Its’ not long before the girls plan an escape via a broken oven that leads out into the wooded countryside. To their horror they are sprung and as the problems fixed become its’ first cremated.
In order to find out who the other ringleaders are or who else was involved; some suspects are taken to a dungeon and in the grimmest piece of the movie are tortured in the most barbaric style.
One has her fingernails ripped out with pliers, another has her stomach split via multiple punches from a spiked knuckle duster, another her head crushed to a pulp in a tourniquet vice and the piece de resistance has one victim who refuses to give anything away voluntary losing her tongue – ripped out by its roots of course. As these effects are on the cheap they seem to be the more realistic and sheer sadism in a theatrical way.
Alena has also been dropping her panties for the
With the allies closes in she joins forces with Abraham, Edith and other willing volunteers. They are especially eager when they all learn the camp is to be totally destroyed including all evidence of medical horribleness – Dr.Abraham and P.O.W’s all fall into this category and decide ‘what have we to lose ?’.
The ending has some rather impressive pyrotechnics and suffices action wise. You also get to see the bald-horrible-Nazi-sadist-chap get his comeuppance – disappointingly too quickly though. Arlena is an absolute honey by the way and boy can she handle a Tommy gun!
Despite the subject matter and moral balance in question I enjoyed this movie and would recommend it to the more discerning viewer. A prime example of what pure exploitation cinema is all about - loved it.
Most Outstanding Moment(s)
Arlenas’ naked ‘jungle’ dance with a plastic banana to 1970’s euro groove (in 1945??!!!?!??)
Intermittent melodramatic ‘ham’ performed by bald-horrible-Nazi-sadist-chap.
Available on a beautifully transferred Region 1 disc *with comical dubbing*.
SS Camp Women’s Hell (also known as : SS Camp 5 – Women’s Hell / SS Lager 5 l'inferno delle donne / Roses rouges pour le fuhrer )
The Year: 1977
The Director; Sergio Garrone
Giorgio Cerioni …….. Colonel Strasser
Paola Corazzi ………. Edith
Attilio Dottesio ……… Doctor Abraham
Serafino Profumo …… Lieutenant Hans