There are many strange genres in the horror world, but perhaps the strangest of them all is the Naziploitation film, where the most horrific times in human history are twisted and coupled with hot commanding ladies and docile naked youth. It’s quite the thing. In England of course, most of these films were lost when the BBFC cleared the video nasties from the shelf but in 2020, you can pretty much get hold of any of these if you know where to look and let’s face it, you know where to look. On the flip side, it is strange that you can pick up SS Experiment Camp in HMV, right there, next to Star Wars.
Fascism On A Thread is a super interesting look at this most bizarre of film types, with stars, directors and critics uniting to tell the stories behind some of the darkest pieces of art in the history of cinema. It doesn’t look down on the genre though, with such heavyweight critics as Kim Newman discussing the titles and classics such as Cabaret (Surely Tomorrow Belongs To Me is more horrific than many of the things in any of these lower budget films, tbh) and Salo being discussed along with the more infamous Camp titles.
Some of the shocks of these films are just likely to produce shrugs or even laughs these days, but it interesting to note that there are historical truths amongst the soft porn and nasty violence too. If you know your Holocaust history, there are many moments that will touch a nerve here and it is for this reason that a film such as Love Camp 7 is STILL banned in Britain, despite coming through the BBFC system every few years.
One of the best interviewees is the main star of Ilsa She Wolf Of The SS, one of the genres most infamous titles, she talks about the film series as if she was in Gone With The Wind, joyfully talking about all the fans and how much she appreciates them and she produces some great light in an undoubtedly dark genre. It is also interesting to learn that these films were so popular that, just as Transformers or Marvel might get emulated these days, there was a French series called Elsa that basically ran with the same plot and its star is also included here.
Fascism On A Thread is a great documentary, probably more watchable than some of the films it discusses and finally shining a critical eye on a genre that has mostly been banned and shoved in the wardrobe by the moral majority up to this point. Recommended.
[Fascism On A Thread is an extra on Severin’s Region Free version of The Beast In Heat, available now]