JESS FRANCO MONTH: Ilsa, the Wicked Warden (1977)

If you thought that Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS was the limit, this movie makes it feel as if Jess Franco tool that movie as a personal challenge to somehow create something innumerable times sleazier.

Considered the third movie in the series — even if it wasn’t filmed as a sequel — and also known as Greta, the Mad Butcher, Ilsa: Absolute Power and Wanda, the Wicked Warden, this stars the women who is Ilsa, Dyanne Thorne, as Greta. She’s running a psychiatric hospital for young women, which gives her plenty of opportunities to indulge her more, shall we say, psychosexual side.

Probably shot at the same time — who knows, maybe even the same place — as Barbed Wire Dolls, the heroine of this story is Abbie Phillips, whose sister died inside the walls of Greta’s hospital, and now must infiltrate the hospital and find out why.

The amazing thing about this movie is that as wild as Ilsa has been in the past, she’s now entering the ninth circle of voyeur hell where director Jess Franco and his muse, Lina Romay, reside. Lina plays a prisoner named Juana who keeps the other female prisoners in line as well as lined up for prostitution and pornography. Also, in one scene that might break your mind, she follows a prison toilet BM by forcing Abbie to be human toilet paper. Yes, this happens and yes, this movie played American theaters and I have no idea how.

Snuff movies, acupuncture gone wrong, scarred women being used by cruel men, Lina Romay no doubt looking as perfect as she ever will or ever did and being the meanest woman in the world in a manner so brutal that she can only devour — literally — the previous champion in an ending that is either going to flip your stomach, raise your fist in triumph or both and Franco pretty much running through the motions he did in so many other women in prison movies, except Franco through the motions is still way more magical and insane and upsetting and sleazy and can you endure this than anyone perhaps ever.

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