Review Date: October 15, 2000
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 7/11/2000
Region 0, NTSC
Widescreen 1.66:1 | 16x9: Yes
Are you ready for some more exploitation courtesy of Ilsa? Well, she's back again! And once again she's available on DVD thanks to Anchor Bay Entertainment. Lets take a look.
Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne) is the warden of a sexual deviation clinic for women. Little do potential patients realize that this is no clinic at all; it's a prison! A prison with a wicked warden. Ilsa abuses the girls sexually, using their breasts as pin cushions, using shock therapy with electrodes hooked up to the most intimate parts and even allows male prisoners to rape the hideous female prisoners. That's only the beginning!
One lucky patient manages to escape and ends up on the doorstep of Dr. Milton Arcos (Jesús Franco). Just as Dr. Arcos begins to call the police, Ilsa and her guards show up at her door. The doctor insists the prisoner be left in his care for a blood transfusion, but Ilsa refuses and orders the guards to take her away. Later the doctor is told the prisoner died due to a rare "blood disease". The doctor speaks in front of a panel that has the power to investigate the clinic. They agree the doctor's suspicions of abuse at the clinic are a valid concern, but without a witness they cannot take further action.
After the meeting, Abbie Phillips (Tania Busselier) confronts Dr. Arcos. She insists that he admit her to the clinic so that she may find out what really happened to her sister - the prisoner that died of the "rare blood disease". In addition, she can serve as a witness to the horrors within the clinic. The doctor agrees and they come up with a plan to admit Abbie for a month. When the month is up the doctor will go to the clinic and insist that Abbie be released, explaining that he made a diagnostic error in admitting her. But both Abbie and the doctor don't realize what tortures await within the prison. Abbie does learn what really happened to her sister, but the truth only brings more pain and horrors from Ilsa. Now Ilsa has gone too far, pushed too many people over the edge. The prisoners plan for revenge, revenge in the most gruesome and horrifying way possible.
I'd have to rate Ilsa: The Wicked Warden as being slightly superior to the original - She Wolf of the SS - and much superior to the first sequel - Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks. The Wicked Warden follows the same tone of the first film, being extremely graphic with lots of violence and exploitation. This one is slightly less graphic than the first Ilsa film (don't take that the wrong way - this is still extremely graphic), but it has a serious tone throughout which made it more enjoyable for me. In She Wolf of the SS I was really turned off by the performance actors gave when dying on-screen.. To some this part of the humor and enjoyment, but for me it ruined this serious nature that the film was building. This doesn't happen in The Wicked Warden; there are no cheesy death scenes, and the film generally remains serious and believable. Actually, the story and character development are fairly decent. I was a bit shocked and angered to see what ultimately happened to some of the characters. To me that's always the sign of something good - when you begin to care about these fictitious characters (damn that heartless Stephen King).
If you enjoy comedy in your exploitation films then The Wicked Warden may not be for you. But if you enjoy exploitation movies with a serious tone throughout most of the movie, you'll definitely enjoy The Wicked Warden. It's top notch exploitation with an excellent ending. Just be warned - the entire movie is quite graphic. You don't want to watch this around your wife, girlfriend, kids, neighbors, grandparents, etc. Lock yourself in the room for a few hours and enjoy some serious exploitation with the Ilsa: The Wicked Warden DVD.
Anchor Bay presents Ilsa: The Wicked Warden in an anamorphic (16x9) widescreen transfer in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. An excellent transfer on this DVD no major problems. There's a few darker scenes that have mild grain, but that's it. You'll occasionally see a few white specks and some dirt on the print, but nothing major. Colors are slightly faded but given the age and low budget nature of the film that's expected. The image is extremely sharp and never appears soft. The problems that I did mention are so minimal that I'm going to rate this an A-. Great job!
Ilsa: The Wicked Warden is presented with a mono soundtrack. No audio problems were heard. Track is distortion free and dialogue was clear throughout.
The primary extras is a commentary track with star Dyanne Thorne and co-star Howard Maurer, moderated by humorist Martin Lewis. Overall it's a great commentary with a lot of discussion on the film, actors they worked with and what it was like working with Jess Franco. They also discuss how the movie wasn't originally an Ilsa movie and how it ended up eventually being titled an Ilsa movie. There's much more they discuss, of course, but I don't want to give away everything. It's a very interesting track with hardly any gaps of silence. Martin Lewis does a decent job moderating and isn't all that annoying in this track, though I do find his voice a bit annoying. Also included is a theatrical trailer and talent bios.
Great audio/video presentation with an enjoyable commentary track as an extra. The movie itself is a great exploitation picture and I personally found it slightly more enjoyable than the original Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS. Just keep in mind that it's extremely graphic. Ilsa fans will definitely enjoy this terrific DVD from Anchor Bay.
Movie - B+
Image Quality - A-
Sound - A-
Supplements - B+
- Running Time - 1 hour 34 minutes
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- English Dolby Digital Mono
- Audio commentary with Star Dyanne Thorne and Co-Star Howard Maurer. Moderated by Humorist Martin Lewis
- Theatrical Trailer
- Talent Bios