Ilsa, The Tigress of Siberia (1977)

And here we are, the final entry for the Ilsa She-Wolf of SSeptember theme month at B-Movie Enema.

Thus far, we’ve seen Ilsa run a Nazi concentration camp, a sheikh’s harem and sex slave trade… warehouse(?), and a psychiatric hospital in (probably) Spain.  Now, we turn back the clock to 1953 Soviet Union.  Here, Ilsa runs a gulag in Siberia for political prisoners where she breaks them mentally and physically.

Not only does this come full circle back to Canada as the sole country of production, but we also have a couple star-studded names producing the film.  First, we have Ivan Reitman who, before coming to America to produce and direct some of the biggest and best comedies of the 80s, produced horror and exploitation films like this and David Cronenberg’s Shivers.  He and Cronenberg were great friends both from Canada, and it was Reitman’s suggestion for Cronenberg to cast one of the biggest porn stars of all time, Marilyn Chambers, in Rabid.

And, because we’ve already gone way too long without mention of him, Roger Corman also co-produced this final Ilsa flick The Tigress of Siberia.

As this movie begins, we see a two men on horseback in 1953 Siberia.  A third man is running through the deep snow in a field, presumably trying to escape the men.  He believes he’s given them the slip in the sparsely wooded area surrounding the field when suddenly…

Ooh! Spear through the back of the head!

This poor bastard didn’t count on a third person searching for him…  Ilsa!

At the prison camp, Ilsa returns with the dude’s body.  She makes an example of the dude to the other prisoners.  First, by him being killed in what can best be called a hunt, and, second, by having his head crushed in front of the other prisoners by a big ol’ sledgehammer.  His blood trickles into a pen with Ilsa’s pet tiger.

I should point out, that much like the other sequels, Dyanne Thorne is not called Ilsa by name.  In this, it is Comrade Colonel.  It’s like one of those really weird circumstances in which a character, movie, or actor/actress becomes super famous for one reason or another (usually through some sort of exploitation movie or horror movie), and the producers are now seeing dollar signs and they want to continuously use the character’s name to sell a movie or create movies that look and feel like the popular one.  Yet, instead of just finding a way to keep naming the character the same, they find some other way to use the name in a title or on the poster, but they don’t name the character in the actual script.  It’s almost like a mix of embarrassment and hopefulness that they can sell the shit out of the movie all over the place under different titles.

Though, with this series, I sincerely doubt anyone was embarrassed by the success.

Considering this is a low budget exploitation film, I do strongly believe this poor actor got eaten by that fucking tiger.

We learn that a very powerful general’s son has arrived at the gulag.  He feels confident that his father will help get him out, but Ilsa is very keen to let him know that her sources in Moscow have told her that the general will soon be joining him.  The other prisoner just arrived with the general’s son is a political enemy of Stalin’s.  Elsewhere, a fracas breaks out between guards and prisoners.  Ilsa arrives and ends the skirmish by killing one prisoner by shooting him dead, and taking the main troublemaker to the tiger’s pen to feed her.

I will say that while this movie is interestingly shot in what was likely Northern Canada because it is basically snow for as far as the eye can see, I commend the movie on the movie going a full 14 minutes before showing a tit.  But the moment Dyanne Thorne dropped her bustier, the movie then wastes no time in showing her instantly being double penetrated by two Russian dudes.  So…  Good job at actually making this Siberian gulag look desolate and depressingly cold, and double good job on the DP action…?

After a long night of hard drinkin’ and deep dickin’s, Ilsa goes on a tour of her gulag.  First, she sees the political enemy of the state who is being tortured to love Stalin and the state.  Second, she tends to a man who isn’t working hard enough due to being sick with fever and dunks him in an icy pond – which I think kills him?

I have a question….  Now maybe call it my mostly liberal sentimentality, or my general good nature, or even the fact that I’ve been fortunate to live in the United States for my entire life, but what’s the point in killing workers at a camp?  Like, I get it.  I do.  This is a really bad place?  It’s run by bullies and turds.  They torture because they can.  They do shit because they have been given the latitude to do so.  Okay.  Fine.  I also can see if someone at a work camp dies through being worked too hard or being killed by some other prisoner or what have you.  But even in Siberia, even in the time of Stalin, is it also safe to say that maybe you don’t start racking up a massive body count on a daily basis just because?  Sure, maybe pull the man with a fever off the work line.  Sure, maybe don’t give him any meds and if he dies, he dies, whatever.  But specifically putting him to death does what exactly?

Then, in another scenario you have two men arm wrestling over chainsaws to the point that the loser loses his hand.  I don’t think these were prisoners that were forced to do this.  These were guards.  What good does that do you?

You know, what, dear readers?  Methinks this is not a very upstanding place that Ilsa runs.

Here we are, about a third of the way through the movie.  This would be where you would suspect the end of the first act of a traditional three act story structure.  So far, we’ve seen some prisoners killed, other prisoners tortured, other prisoners killed, guys getting fucked by maidens in the steam room, and Ilsa being double penetrated – twice.  Is that quadruple penetration?  Is that possible?  Annnyway, my point is, there hasn’t been much of a story yet.  There’s a political prisoner, okay.  There’s a general’s son who believes his father will come to get him out of the gulag.  I’m not expecting Tolstoy here, but I am expecting some idea of a movie.  Even the other movies that arguably had practically no plot had some sense of first act, second act, third act structure.

The political prisoner seems to be something of a main protagonist.  When the torturer isn’t able to break his will, Ilsa decides to treat this man who is as stubborn as a mule to a carrot to see if he responds.  She has him brought to her room where she pops out her own gulags and offers him a chance to stick it in her tiger cage.  He still declines.  In fact he likens her to a woman who stinks of a pig sty.  She’s about to toss him into the literal tiger’s cage when she learns that a Marshal who was initially supposed to come to the camp has been killed.  Ilsa orders the place to be destroyed and for them to move on so they would not be captured and killed themselves.

Admittedly, I asked for story, but now I feel like I’ve got way too much going on now.  I think they made mention that this was the end of Stalinism.  That Stalin was found dead.  That’s led to this immediate upheaval.  The general’s son slips out and goes to help the political prisoner get free from the tiger, but he’s killed.  The political prisoner does escape the tiger by killing it with a shovel (trust me, all this sorta makes sense when you actually watch the movie – you just have to believe me).  The political prisoner (who I’m just going to start calling Bob since I don’t know his name and I don’t care)…  Bob swears to avenge his buddy, the general’s son.  He is the only survivor of the burned gulag and is basically left to fend for himself.

Suddenly… we’ve lost the gulag story and now we’re in a Montreal brothel.

Cut to a movie postcard for Montreal.  It’s now 1977 (remember, the Siberia part was in 1953) and we’re hanging out with the Russian national hockey team.  Bob is the head coach or the chaperone or something for the team.  He goes with a couple of the guys to a whorehouse so they can get their rocks off before returning to Moscow.  I…  I don’t know what the fuck is going on.  I thought this was about a Siberian gulag.  What’s this about hockey?  Montreal?  1977?  I mean I understand the bit about these hookers.  I get that.  I understand hookers.  They’re just girls looking for a steady job.

A sexy, sexy, naughty job.

Apparently, Ilsa and her DP buddies run the brothel.  She spots ol’ Bob and they order a couple guys to go get him and bring him to Ilsa.  Turns out Bob has learned a thing or two because he puts a pretty good fight against the toughs sent in for him.  Alas, he is ultimately knocked out.  Bob and Ilsa, um, reunite?  She says she wants to finish what started in the gulag.  I guess she’s pretty good at holding a grudge.

Oh good… I was curious when we would get to the Clockwork Orange part of the movie. Wait… What?

She shows him around her mansion and brings Bob to the guy who tried to break his will back in Siberia.  This time… sigh.  This time I guess he uses his techniques on girls who want to become hookers.  Like he shows the girls a series of images of scary things and studies her brainwaves and junk?  When they find out what she’s most scared of they expose her to it?  What does this have to do with fucking johns in a brothel?

Remember when these movies were just about torturing girls and lots of boobs and sex and sometimes gross stuff?  What the fuck is this?  Is this what happens when Roger Corman comes into a production about a woman who has worked as a Nazi concentration camp commander/operator of a harem for an oil sheikh/Spanish mental hospital warden?  I’m not even sure what this movie is inspired by.  Like what did the people who wanted to make this movie watch to make them think that a story that spans 24 years about a prisoner who escaped the clutches of an evil ex-Soviet officer that has a bunch of sci-fi brainwashing shit is the next best evolutionary step for the Ilsa series?

You’d think…  You’d just think that it would be real fucking easy to make one of these movies.  Have a woman with blonde hair and massive jugs who likes to torture people and fuck everything.  Put her some place where there are prisoners and boom!  You got yourself an Ilsa movie.  Just make sure she uses an accent.

I know you’re not out of gas for a third/fourth Ilsa movie.  How do I know this?  Well, because with a real easy overdub edit and a change to the poster and title card, you took a movie that was in no way intended to be an Ilsa movie and turned it into an Ilsa movie.  Granted, the last two movies each had unnecessary plot points – U.S. spy trying to take down the oil sheikh and that whole weird terrorist thing, respectively.  However, this whole movie seems weird and disjointed.  Like, seriously, man.  I feel like this is the movie that was re-purposed into the series, not The Wicked Warden.

Okay, whatever.  So the mad scientist torturer guy is trying to work his magic on Bob.  Meanwhile, in Russia, they smell some shenanigans saying that Bob would not be one to defect.  I guess they didn’t know him in his younger years, but whatever.  They call up the Russian Embassy in Montreal and get some guys on the case.

Back at the ol’ mansion, I guess Bob’s biggest fear is a crazy looking Ilsa biting off his dick.

I ain’t makin’ this shit up.

The guys from the embassy go to the brothel the hockey guys went with Bob.  I have some more questions…  So are we being told that the Soviets are the good guys?  I mean, at the beginning, Bob was pretty much against them, and we kinda had to agree.  They wanted to torture people and they’d just kill them and toss them into the tiger den.  Now, I guess they are good guys because it’s just Ilsa and her people who are the bad guys.  Also, this is kind of a James Bond like story, but the bad guys seem much more like Nazis than Soviets.  Okay, sure, sometimes Soviet bad guys have kooky crazy things they have and do for evil stuff.  It just is usually escaped and hiding Nazis that do those things.

Oh whatever.  Anyway, one of the Russian Embassy guys asks too many questions and gets his ass killed.  That’s pretty cleverly done.  The guy is knocked out and tossed in a mound of snow that a big snow plow comes along and dices him up.  Also, apparently the fear computer thing discovers that Bob’s brain is scared of Ilsa but he harbors some pretty deep bonerific physical attraction to her.  So she rapes him.

Seriously, these assassins bought crates and crates of guns and grenades. Crates!

Here’s another thing…  Remember that general whose son was in the gulag in 1953?  His dad is a big dick hot shot in the USSR.  When he discovers that Ilsa is still alive, he sends out a fuckload of assassins with super huge guns to go and kill her with all the prejudice.  They send one guy in, but he gets killed almost immediately when he trips an alarm.  These assassins literally have crates and buckets of guns.  Why are they only sending one guy in at a time?

Also, I think I missed something that has to do with her taking over all of Montreal’s crime bosses’ territories because her guys filled a waterbed up with gasoline in the hotel where one of the bosses is fucking some broad and they blow him up with a super heated dart.  When they celebrate her victory, they don’t notice the alarm being tripped by the half dozen or so Russians climbing over the walls with their pallets of weapons.  Why they just let that one guy go in by himself is still beyond me.  Did that guy just have a super hard on for Ilsa and he just had to get get over that wall and fuck her… or fuck her up?

That’s the look of a woman who really loves her job.

Now the Russian assassins are about to penetrate Ilsa’s home and pretty much kill everything.  Inside, in honor of her victory, Ilsa decides to have a little extra entertainment in the form of using some sort of electric hand mixer to chop up Bob’s dick.  Thankfully for Bob’s pete, the Russians blow the front door and commit one of the most serious home invasions ever caught on film.  People come in through the door, through the windows, up from the floor, down from the ceiling and just shoot everything that vaguely resembles a person.

Lots of guys die all over the place, but my favorite moments in this scene are two little things.  First, as Ilsa escapes, she grabs hold of one of her hookers’ hand and rushes her to safety.  You can’t say that Ilsa isn’t sorta into the ladies as well as the dudes.  The other, and even better is the mad scientist torturer dude. He  gets a bullet right square center in his forehead.  The shot happens, his head goes back, a full second and a half passes then he screams and both his hands clutch the sides of his head as he bends backwards and dies.  I’ve seen a lot of things.  I’ve seen a lot of weird and funny shit just while doing this blog, but goddamn.  I’ve never seen anyone have a death like that in a movie.

Ilsa escapes on a snowmobile with Bob in pursuit.  She falls off her snowmobile when she doesn’t take a snow mound properly.  It’s a good thing she fell off because her snowmobile fucking explodes the moment it lands on its side in the snow.  Bob finds her and she offers him riches to save her life.  He decides to leave her behind.  In order to stay alive, she has to burn her money (though that fucking flaming snowmobile could also do the trick but what do I know).  She’s left alone on a frozen lake with a broken leg, no shelter from the winter weather, and no money or vehicle.

I guess she died…?  Or maybe not?  Doesn’t matter.  This is the only Ilsa movie in which you don’t explicitly see her be killed or legitimately left to die a slow death.  In the first movie, her head exploded.  In the second, she was left in a pit where she will starve to death.  In the third, vengeful insane chicks literally devoured her.  Here…  We just have her hanging out by a fire on a relatively serene frozen lake.

It’s somewhat fitting if you ask me that this is how this movie ended.  This final Ilsa movie is wildly different than the others – and, as I’ve stated before, one of them wasn’t ever intended to be one!  This movie goes bizarre when it didn’t have to.  You could have simply left everything at the gulag as seen in the first act of the movie.  The present day stuff, the vendettas, the whores, all of it could have been completely left out.  All that was really important was that you had a hard bitch like Ilsa running a prison and fucking guys.  But for some reason, they felt it was time to change up the formula that has previously worked so well that there are 4 of these movies.

It’s almost a sad ending to a fairly well-known and appreciated series of movies.

Well, I’m not sure there is much of anything else to discuss here.  So, let’s wrap up Ilsa She-Wolf of SSeptember Month and look toward my favorite month of all, October.  As you probably realize if you read this blog enough, each October has pretty much been a theme.  In 2016, I talked about vampires.  In 2017, it was slasher flicks.  This time, I’m gonna look to monsters I don’t think I’ve given enough due here at B-Movie Enema – demons.  Yup!  I’ve got five demon-centric movies for us to sink our teeth into for October.  I’m calling it Nights of Demons Month and I look forward to seeing you here in seven short days when I return to Italy for the first time in a very long time to talk horror with the Lamberto Bava flick Demons!

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