Can you get anymore “grindhouse” in the alternative titles department as Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler?
Was this re-released in the U.K. after it’s initial “Section 1” banning?
Italian writer and director Cesare Canevari gave us a mere nine films across 20 years, beginning in 1969. It was his final three films that received the widest distribution outside of his homeland and Europe: a piece of erotic-drama, The Nude Princess (1976), the psuedo-giallo-cum porn Killing of the Flesh (1983), and this Nazisploitation entry.
A Jewish WWII survivor revisits the ruins of a hellish concentration camp, and the memories are still vivid. How did she escape the humiliation, the tortures, and the destruction of human flesh? How did she flee from the Gestapo’s last orgy? are the questions asked in this film’s promotional materials.
That survivor, Lise Cohen, was an inmate at a special prisoner-of-war camp for female Jews, a camp run as a bordello to entertain the German officers and troops going in to battle. Commandant Conrad von Starker (Adriano Micantoni, credited here as “Marc Loud,” also of the notable 1962 Italian space slop Planets Around Us and the 1963 Goth-horror Tomb of Torture), as do all Commandants, runs the camp with iron fist — through the assistance of Alma (one of Maristella Greco’s six films; the other notable renter is the similar, 1980 Italian-Spanish women-in-prison flick Hotel Paradise). Starker’s game is instilling fear in his charges — but Lise proves to be tougher than any before her, so Straker devises even crueler experiments to make Lise yield to his desires, while Alma’s jealousy serves to increase Lise’s pain. Lise instead turns the tables and plays along with Straker’s twisted, insane atrocities, which results in her earning privileges others prisoners do not, to the chagrin of Alma, once Straker’s favorite.
While Gestapo’s Last Orgy well earns its “X” rating, it’s also a very well-made film (of the squeamish-intellectually quality of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom) and the flashback framing device of the now reformed and society-integrated Straker and Lise reuniting at the camp (the same seaside fortress seen in the 1970 Giallo In the Folds of the Flesh) to unfold the past as they explore the ruins, gives it a quality (and reminds of Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard) — and deeper meaning — that rises it above most films in the genre. Yeah, and Spain’s Eloy de la Iglesia claimed a “deeper meaning” into the terror rout by President Richard M. Nixon’s buddy, Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, in the frames of The Cannibal Man (1972; itself a “U.K. Video Nasty”) . . . so your opinions on Cesare Canevari’s social commentary and subtext via his Nazisploitation narrative delivery device, may vary.
Due to the content, the trailer is only available upon account sign in to Severin Films’ You Tube page. You can purchase copies at Severin Films. You can learn more about The Gestapo’s Last Orgy as part of the genre documentary Fascism on a Thread: The Strange Story of Nazisploitation Cinema (2020).