Ilsa: The Wicked Warden
Young girls... CHAINED... CONDEMNED to a life of TORMENT at the hands of their beautiful, BRUTAL captor!
Year of Release: 1977
Also Known As: Wanda, the Wicked Warden; Greta the Mad Butcher
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 83 minutes (1:23)
Director: Jesus Franco
Dyanne Thorne ... Greta
Tania Busselier ... Abbie Phillips
Lina Romay ... Juana
Jesus Franco ... Dr. Milton Arcos
Sandra L. Brennan
Dyanne Thorne is back as the sadistic ruler of a South American prison for deranged women. But when a young journalist goes undercover to find her missing sister, she learns that survival means submission to the perverse appetites of the guards, the convicts and the wicked warden herself. Soon, this jungle hellhole is aflame with the passions of the depraved and one final act of savage revenge!
ilsa: The Wicked Warden, the movie that reminds us that acupuncture actually does work. Until a buxom redhead plops down on top of you, mid-therapy. You'll never guess who likes this movie. Go on, try to guess. No, not every straight man and lesbian in the world. They only like PARTS of the movie. I wanna know who likes the whole thing, you short sighted lackwits. I don't care if you're not ready to give up yet, I'm ready to move on. Ronnie Reagan loves this movie. Okay, the ghost of Ronnie Reagan loves this movie. After all, it was Ronnie that perhaps did more than anyone to dismantle the mental health care system. His reasoning hinged upon most of the asylums being snake pits where they poked people with sharp things an made everybody watch nothing but Jerry Lee Lewis 24 hours a day. So you might go so far as to say, Dyanne Thorne contributed to the decline of the mental heath system, cause when Ronnie saw this sucker, he knew what he had to do. And he did it. He had to free the poor people being molested/beaten by unpleasant middle-aged sociopaths who were destined to die alone because they were so repulsive even Courtney Love an Joe Don Baker wouldn't go out with 'em. And as I understand it, we now have a completely unrelated mass shooting problem these days that's mostly cause the NRA refuses to disband an cause clips are too big. But anyhow, as the best unofficial ilsa sequel of all time to be directed by Jesus Franco (this guy's so sleazy and bereft of budget he makes Roger Corman look like Steven Spielberg), you know the information I'm about to impart unto you is very likely to be life altering. First, finding an escapee from a mental asylum with two gunshot wounds is not nearly enough evidence to warrant an inspection. As I understand it, you need a really credible witness to make that happen. One that won't start rambling incoherently due to a catastrophic loss of plasma.
Second, cauterizing a woman in her hoo hoo may not be the best strategy to cure her of lesbianism when she's residing in a building where the entire populace is lining up to kiss it better. And third, I'm sure you're all familiar with the concept of speed dating. Well, when you think about it, an orgy is really just *speed* speed dating. Now, while those things are all enlightening and important to our everyday lives, the fourth (or third, who knows) ilsa movie strives to bring to the forefront a message that I personally learned a long time ago, but one that maybe not everyone else has as yet. And that message is, that it's important to be true to yourself. Be who you truly are, not who you think everyone else wants you to be. Amusingly enough, the character of ilsa, while cruel and horrible, makes no bones about who she is. When it comes right down to it, she's 100x more honest than any politician you can think of. Or churches, for that matter. Want some examples? Right, politicians, you don't need any. Well I've got some more space to fill so lets do it anyway. Larry Craig: caught grasping for cock in the men's room, but votes against a bill to extend the definition of "hate crime" to include gays. Steven Palazzo: Mr. gimmie aid cause we got struck by a hurricane, but you other states that got struck by a hurricane need to man up an quit mooching. And lets not forget about Al "you're all killing the world with your carbon output, now if you'll excuse me I've gotta hop on my Learjet an give a speech halfway across the country about the effects of global warming" Gore. Does this mean ilsa would make a better politician than the usual fare? Possibly. I suppose I'd need to see her stance on some key issues, but bottom line, quit bein' sissies an just be yourselves. It'll make it a lot easier for me to realize that I don't like you that way.
The movie begins with Dyanne Thorne in the tub soaping up her jumblies (Dyanne doesn't have hand fulls, she's got catcher's mitt fulls) at a South American asylum for sexual deviates. If you've ever seen that movie "But I'm a Cheerleader", this place is like where they send you when that doesn't work. But about the time most of the male audience is about half way through the masturbation process, we change views over to another shower scene where the inmates are all showering. Only one of 'ems gotten real tired of nothing but tuna to eat around here an blows by the guards an right out the door. Security at this place is place is about as good as it was at the Watergate complex, an she's able to make it quite a ways before she has to stop long enough to catch her breath an get all slashie with one of her pursuer's jugulars. Unfortunately, the unnecessary surgery cost her precious time, and another goon is able to get a couple rounds into her backside. Fortunately, it would appear that even while suffering internal and external bleeding and a case of severe lead poisoning, the guards move at the pace of a 300lb asthmatic and she's able to make it to the home of a physician before collapsing on his stairway. She's babbling something about not wanting anymore torture, an so the doc, having seen this before, knows he's dealing with the asylum down the road that's known for forcing their inmates to watch nothing but movies that feature Divine, and begins to call the cops. But before he's able to finish dialing, ilsa (or Greta, in reality, but most people consider it an ilsa movie, and I'm not inclined to do anything to correct them) bounces in an tells the doc to get his own nutbar an hauls the girl (Rosa) back to Chateau Schizo. The doc later finds out that the girl died two weeks later, an when he tries to perform an autopsy he realizes it'd just be a waste of time cause they already cremated her an it'd just look like cause of death was excessive exposure to an incinerator. So the doc sets up a meeting with a bunch of blowhards that don't see any reason to investigate the asylum just because an inmate escaped an ended up with gunshot wounds then died mysteriously two weeks later. It's bad enough they all left the golf course for this nonsense, now he wants them to potentially miss brunch, too, by seriously considering what he's saying? Balderdash, he can slag off.
While all this was happening, some creepy skirt (Abbie) was watchin' him try to convince the wise council an before he leaves she goes an hides in his car til he shows up an she starts threatening to shoot him if he doesn't help her get into Chateau de Wacko. Turns out, she's Rosa's sister, an she's gonna make like Inspector Clouseau an figure out why the ladies check in, but they don't check out. So the doc forges her some phony documents that say she's scooters an before you know it she's checked in. Things worked so much quicker in those days. I blame the bureaucrats, this is what they do. Take something simple and complicate it. So the guards get her signed in on the guest registry an start jerkin' her clothes off so they can wash the swamp ass off her an then toss her in the den of deviates. The deviate "in charge" is Juana (#10), she's like the guy you have to bribe to make sure the other guys don't rape you in prison. #10 wants to know her name, but the guards told her only to use her number. So then #10 tells her to quit bein' a kiss ass an yanks her clothes off again an all the girls in the ward start coppin' a feel an Abbie (#41) doesn't seem all that upset about it. Then #10 goes to ilsa's office where they get nekkid so she can rub her cooter all over ilsa's backside while she gives her a massage. #10 tells ilsa she likes the new girl an wants to know if she can keep her. Big mistake. Seems like ilsa's getting insecure about her age or something, cause she uses #10's jigglers as a pin cushion an tells her that if she makes a sound she'll send #41 to the hole. But #10's pretty tough an she's able to hold out until ilsa plops onto her an jabs the pins in so far that we've got about a dozen lung biopsy samples ready for testing. The next day, ilsa and her unnamed male flunkie sit #41 down so they can go over exactly what her problems are an how to fix them. So she pretends she was a school teacher that couldn't stop handling lil smokies. Then it's shower time again, an #10 wants #41 to wash her hard to reach places if you follow me. Only #41 does a real half assed job an #10 has to roll around on the floor with her for awhile to teach her some respect until the guards break it up an take #41 to ilsa's house of pain. Then ilsa starts cauterizing all of #41's genital herpes an puts the electroshock tiara on her til her brains start sizzlin' like crispy bacon in a skillet an she starts foamin' at the mouth like Beethoven. When she wakes up, she's in solitary, where the underground resistance movement hangs out in shackles that come down from the ceiling an get the crap kicked out of 'em on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, ilsa's flunkie heads out to meet with some weirdo that lays around in his bathrobe an listens to nothing but mariachi music. The flunkie is here to sell him some videos he took of the inmates while they were fuzzy rubbing, which is fine an dandy, but the weirdo says the videos are becoming a real clam fest an he needs to get some sausage in there pronto. Back at the asylum, #41 is released from the hole an the nice girl that used to be a gay man, but that is now a gay woman comforts her with make out til she feels better. Ya know, considering the standards this asylum holds for "deviate" behavior, did #41 really have to sneak in here? She takes to this lesbianism stuff like a duck to water. Anyway, the next day, #10 goes to see ilsa again, an she thinks ilsa's being a little too rough on #41 an she's never gonna get any action with her if ilsa keeps fryin' her brain. So ilsa promises to be nice if #10 will bring her some info on who this #41 is an why she's really here, cause she's not buying the lil smokie story. Then #10 reveals that #41s buddy's been asking questions about Rosa, so ilsa tells her to let it play out while she goes an flogs some prisoners for a while. You know how some people do their profound thinking on the toilet? ilsa does hers while she's whipping people. So then she decides to go see Rosa, who is in fact, still alive, even though she looks like she got into an act with a bad knife thrower in Las Vegas. Now ilsa figures she's gonna get what she wants an demands Rosa tell her who the head of their "terrorist" operation is or she's gonna run #41 through the wood chipper. Rosa caves, and to no one's surprise (at least once we even find out there exists some kind of resistance group) it's the doc. So ilsa sends her goons over to the doc's place so they can discreetly riddle him with bullet holes an shrapnel. Back at the booby hatch (that expression has probably never been so applicable as it is to describe this movie) #10 invites #41 to visit her on the crapper. She has some info for her, but she's gonna have to earn it. She earns it by becoming a human bidet, which, again, doesn't seem to require much coaxing for something most people would puke at the thought of. Granted, #41 does puke, but probably not before 10 to 12 passes. But on the plus side, #41 will get to see Rosa now, hopefully, Rosa has a Tic Tac she can borrow.
Later on, ilsa's flunkie tells her he's got a batch of real bad news prisoners being shipped in so he can shoot some more videos for the mariachi weirdo. Which is fine with ilsa, cause these are scum of the earth type prisoners that haven't seen women in years an, well, ilsa's kind of a horrible bitch that way. So ilsa brings the particularly uppity women from the hole up to meet their blind dates an explains that this is an important step in their recovery, cause, as I understand it, being raped tends to endear women to men better than any other method currently being used. (I meant that sarcastically, but then I started thinking about the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey an now I'm not sure anymore.) Elsewhere, #10 has taken #41 to see Rosa, which gives #41 sad face cause Rosa looks like she's been getting cosmetic surgery from a blind lumberjack for the last six months. Then ilsa walks in an sends #10 away an puts a plastic bag over Rosa's head an makes little sis watch while Rosa makes fish out of water facial expressions. So after the rape room clears out, ilsa's flunkie sells those videos to the mariachi weirdo but now the weirdo wants a snuff video. This guy is really fortunate that he's into porn an not drugs or he'd be in bath salt territory by now. But back at the fuzzy farm, the guys from the doc's discussion panel have finally decided, now that the doc has been knocked off by hooligans, that the sanitarium might be worth checking out. I mean, if there isn't a fund raiser or something important goin' on. Upon their arrival, they want #41 and they want her right the fuck now, an they're gonna roll up their sleeves, lace up their boots an start crackin' skulls until... oh never mind this place seems on the up an up, we'll get out of your hair now. So if you'll just bring us #41 we'll be on our way. Which they do, although #41's got so much electricity coursing through her now that she thinks she's Raiden an she needs two guys to help her into the car cause she's got the hippy hippy shakes. ilsa's real mad now. She's never had anyone escape her clutches before (none of the movies have anything to do with each other so the ones that survived the past movies don't count) an she's not about to take this lying down. Like she takes most things. But about that time #10, who was real bummed to see #41 leave before she got a chance to boff her, enters the room. Then all the rape victims from the hole enter the room. #10 has let them out, an ilsa gets this look on her face like she just woke up in bed with Charlie Sheen. Not much of an ending left, but we'll cut it here anyhow.
Alrighty, so, technically this is not part of the ilsa series. It was originally titled "Greta: The Mad Butcher", then "Wanda, the Wicked Warden". On the IMDB it is to be found under the Wanda title, even though Dyanne Thorne's character is credited as Greta. But they figured it's got Dyanne Thorne, in the same role she's always played in the ilsa series, so they'll probably make more money titling it that way for home video purposes. This is probably as good a rationale as any for calling it the 4th in the series, since her character is, at the very least, named ilsa in The Tigress of Siberia. So it's a little strange in that regard. It's similar to the way Black Demons is referred to as Demons 3, even though it really isn't. Or the way some people consider Blood Diner a sequel to Blood Feast, even though it isn't. But this one's harder to dismiss in such a way, because it has Dyanne Thorne in an ilsa-like role. But I don't suppose any of that is really too important. The movie is included on Anchor Bay's ilsa collection, which, unfortunately, lacks Tigress due to rights issues. So if that counts for anything or tips the scales for you, there you go. In any event, this last ilsa movie is better overall than both Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks and Tigress of Siberia, and yet, it's got some seriously basic things wrong with it. First thing, an this is something that shouldn't surprise anyone considering it's a foreign film, the dubbing is bad. But I don't just mean bad, we're talking just a tiny, tiny spec separating it from a Godzilla movie. It's real bad, with the exception of Dyanne Thorne's lines, because she's American and actually speaking English. This is what you'd call Power Glove dubbing, cause it's So Bad. The other thing, that I could hardly believe I was seeing (unless perhaps I have a cut version of the film, although the box claims otherwise, and considering what is left in, I find it hard to believe that it is cut) were multiple jump cuts. Now, to be clear, legitimate jump cuts are cuts in which the scene doesn't change much, but the cut is still extremely obvious. A jump from one situation to another, is not a jump cut. This is something you see in low budget movies a lot, but they tend to be older movies. Like, from the 60s and earlier, old. To see jump cuts in a movie from 1977 is just not acceptable, the editor should be flogged. And yet, somehow, it manages to be better than Harem and Tigress. I believe the reason is that it's closer to the original formula, where the violence is horrifying and difficult to watch. My faith in mankind has been adequately destroyed, and that's what makes the movie successful at what it's trying to be. It's not successful in any other capacity, but that's not expected or all that important.
So, with that in mind, lets see if we can't get a more detailed breakdown of why it's better than Harem and Tigress. The plot's standard for an ilsa movie. Evil woman with two enormous talents has dominion over innocent people an doesn't use it to treat them with dignity or respect. The ilsa series is very much like the Friday the 13th series in that, they're just remaking the same movie over and over again. It's the same movie as before, they just change up the setting every time. So the plot's okay, nothing special, but then it doesn't need to be. The acting is acceptable; better than Harem and Tigress. That doesn't mean it's great, but it's not bad and that's about all I'm concerned with. Even with the director having a significant role in the movie, it's not all that bad. As for the actors/actresses, generally speaking you've got people that spend most of their time in Franco's movies and not a lot else. Franco's directed more bad scenarios than a NYC traffic cop, and many of the cast members are from his stable. I'm not gonna sort through these too thoroughly, particularly since the vast majority are foreign films for which I cannot even read the title, nor do I suspect too many have even been released outside their countries of origin. But, here are the names I'd consider important, and why (with the exception of Dyanne Thorne for whom this series is essentially her career role): Esther Studer (Love Camp, Jack the Ripper), Howard Maurer (ilsa: The Tigress of Siberia, ilsa: Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks). That covers acting in more detail than it ever needed. Okay, shooting locations. Very good. The asylum looks realistic. You've got the hole (solitary confinement), the crapper with toilets jutting out of the floor and no stalls, the torture room, and the group shower area. They all work. Well scouted. Apparently they're the same sets that were used in Barbed Wire Dolls, another Franco production that I've not seen. The music is okay, other than the weird mariachi guy's theme song that's always playing when they have scenes with him. Many of the tracks are akin to classical music, and add a strange atmosphere to the scenes in which they play. It's similar to Cannibal Holocaust in which you've got disturbing imagery, but very pleasant, even smoothing, music playing. The special effects are hit and miss. The mangled Rosa looks great. The fake scar on the side of her face is really impressive. Although generally speaking, the blood is far too light in color and is generally unconvincing. So it's just okay. Overall, at least the "series" goes out with some improvement over the two previous installments, but it's still nowhere near as good as the original.