July 03, 2006

SIN AND SWASTIKA; THE BEAST IN HEAT (A.K.A LA BESTIA IN CALORE) (1977) – REVIEW 21




"Horrifying Experiments of the S.S Last Days !"


‘La Bestia in Calore’, also made the video nasties list like SS Experiment Camp, SS Girls and Red Nights of the Gestapo, when released pre-VRA and is a crude, cheap entry in the 'Sadiconazista' stable of film making. All ‘offence’ caused is lost due to the unintentionally camp milieu, the cobbled direction and inept dialogue – an obvious cult classic then.

Part War film, part medi-camp horror, director Luigi Batzella (credited here as Ivan Katansky) flits between the two styles with non-inspiring ‘textbook’ direction.


The ‘action’ sequences are spliced in from Batzellas' 1970 WW2 piece of turd ‘When the Bell Tolls’. These sequences are notably inter-cut and are washed out in comparison to the rest. It really seems the last lira was used here to resort to such poor ‘padding’.


Naturally the ‘controversial’ elements are the Nazi torture episodes but because of the poor taste factor, the crude execution and the atrocious over the top burlesque performances become laughable. A woman is having her fingernails extracted ‘ouch! Stop it you’re hurting me’ she deadpanly states in a mismatched dub.


The ‘Beast’ of the title is played by exploitation stalwart Salvatore Baccaro (a.k.a Sal Boris); Baccaro often played the ‘ghoul’ as he has the physiognomy and face of a Neanderthal man. No make up is needed, so his affliction is being exploited but he looks like he’s having a wail of a time and no doubt gets paid for dong it so who cares? – He obviously doesn’t. Bacarro reprises two similar roles Tinto Brass' ‘Salon Kitty’ and Matteis’ highly inferior ‘SS Girls’.

The evil commandant is a fox-like female played by Macha Magell who also performs a similar but less ‘sadistic’ role in ‘S.S Girls’ too. She takes delight in playing ‘Dr.Katsch’ and mingles stylish sexuality and sadism equally but, at times, rather clumsily and ventures into pure vaudeville.

Brigitte Skay (Bay of Blood ) pops up as the 1940’s beauty dressed in 1970’s style and is the ‘phwoarrr!’ of this scuzzy little movie.

Luigi Batzella has made a woeful piece of cheap theatre where the direction is flat and the whole ‘feel’ bargain basement (possibly where the torture sequences take place!).

Other things to see are the reflection of the camera crew ‘shadowed’ on a big plastic red swastika on the lawn of ‘Dr.Katsch’ chateau.

If the people could act the ‘ape-rape’ sequences could have been offensive but Sal Boris’ constant gurning (shown close up in intervals) with noises that sound like a husky ‘Charlie Says’ cat raises a smile and a pops out a chuckle.

The most nefarious instance is where he tears a women’s pubic hair off and chomps on it in shameless close-up, but because of the hilarious ropey instances before all this becomes is pure exploitational bad taste in its’ basic, sensationalised, gutter form. Sal Boris also constantly guns as his munches on his furry snack and thus again takes away all potential offence.

Cute little gerbils are re-invented as fearsomely hungry rats as they are revealed from under a bowl on top of a victim’s stomach. Dr.Katsch laughs with Machiavellian pleasure, the victim looks as though she is still awaiting her cue. Fabulously ropey.

Despite the negative factors it is also highly watchable; for all the wrong reasons. Not one of the most memorable filmatic experiences but never the less a bloody good laugh and a prime demonstration of a cash-in achieved on the smallest of budgets.

The Plot

Dr. Katsch is an SS Doctor conducting some grim experiments in her Chateau. Her prime concern is creating a super being and it seems she has been making progress with her creature she keeps locked in a wobbly cage. To observe the virility of the super human beast she throws in the odd girl and witnesses her being raped to death.

Near to the chateau there appears to be a successful partisan uprising and the partisans are fighting back against the German occupation.

The main partisan ‘Drago’ successfully spearheads the blow up of a bridge imperative to the German defence against the allies.

The men, women and children are gathered for questioning and are roughed up to make them reveal the identities of the key partisans. When all attempts fail Dr.Katsch volunteers her services. Cue much torture, a willy chop and the beast doing his ‘thing’ in heat!!!

Meanwhile we get see lots of dull bickering between the partisans that seems turgidly endless and stock footage signifying a powerful Wehrmacht unit is heading back towards the village retreating from the allies.

They find a roadblock erected by the Partisans who then plan a major attack en masse; lots of shoot outs, no squibs but much ketchup.

With the shit fight is enraging; Partisans Lupo and Drago advance on Chateau Katsch, free the victims of her despicable experiments and give her a taste of her own medicine at the hands of her creation.

The allies win the war by the way.

*The movie was first available in England on the JVI label and became the most rarest of the nasties due to its’ limited release and notoriety; now in 2006 on Region 1 we have a super disc from Exploitation Digital/Kitty Media that even makes the ‘stock footage’ less hackneyed, making the movie ‘flow’ a hell of a lot better.

The Film; The Beast in Heat

(also known as; La Bestia in Calore / Horrifying Experiments of the S.S Last Days / SS Experiment Part 2 / SS Hell Camp/ La Bestia en Calor / Djaevelen fra Gestapo / Holocauste Nazi [Armes secrètes du III Reich] / Quand explose la dernière grenade. )

The Director; Luigi Batzella

The Year; 1977

The Country; Italy

The Players;

Brad Harris ……………………. [Don Lorenzo]

Sal Boris (Salvatore Baccaro)…. [The Beast]

Kim Gatti ………………………. [Drago]

Macha Magall…………………. [Dr Krast]

Alfredo Rizzo……………………[Moreno - uncredited]

Brigitte Skay…………………… [Dorina - uncredited]

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