Monday, June 1, 2009

R.I.P. Don Edmonds

Who the fuck is Don Edmonds, you may ask? He's a Hollywood producer, sometime actor, and exploitation director with, to paraphrase Dabney Coleman from Dragnet, "balths as big as choich bellths". While Edmonds starred in a number of TV shows from the late 50s to the 80s, including The Munsters, Green Acres, and Hunter (and was one of the producers of Tarantino's True Romance) Edmonds is best known for his career as director of some of the seediest, greasiest grindhouse flicks of the 70's, among them, Wild Honey, Tender Lovin' Care, and Southern Double Cross. But his greatest contribution to celluloid sleaze? The Nazisploitaition masterpiece Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS.

Ilsa was certainly a controversial film that took a lot of balls to make, what with its cheesy yet graphic scenes of concentration camp torture mixed with a generous helping of 70's soft porn T&A and afro bush. But what sets Edmonds apart from other sleaze-meisters of the time was that he had the unmitigated gall, the big brass ones, the ample ripe cahones, the aformentioned church-bell-balls to DEDICATE this depraved SS skin flick to CONCENTRATION CAMP SURVIVORS! Yes folks, that;s right. The Holocaust has two films to memorialize it - Schindler's List and ILSA. Dedicating Ilsa to the Holocaust survivors is like dedicating Space Chimps to the lost crews of the Columbia and Challenger space shuttles.

I gotta be honest, when I first viewed the film, I found it pretty fucking stupid. But with time and repeated viewings, Ilsa's tawdry crassness won me over. I mean, c'mon, Gestapo officers with pee fetishes? Gold baby! And this film would go on to spawn a number of sequels (one that never got made, Ilsa Vs. Bruce Lee In the Bermuda Triangle, would have been an absoulte shit sandwich of joy), and inspire an entire subgenre of knockoffs like SS Hell Camp, Salon Kitty, and Last Orgy of the Gestapo (none of which would match Ilsa's depraved, insane, tasteless heights). I kinda hope Tarantino riffs on some of these when Inglorious Basterds hits this summer.

So here's to you Mr. Edmonds... I'll be hoisting a pint of German beer in your honour tonight.

PS. Some trivia for you... Ilsa was filmed on the set of the TV show Hogan's Heroes. Also, Ilsa herself, Dyanne Thorne, now runs a wedding chapel in Vegas. That's right horror fans - you can get hitched by the SS vixen herself!

(Also, strangely enough, when you do a Google Image Search for "Ilsa She Wolf SS", you get a picture of Republican John McCain's wife Cindy. Hmmmm...)


Anonymous said...

Actually Ilsa vs. Bruce Lee did get made, just not released:

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