Gestapo's Last Orgy (1976)

Dir: Cesare Canevari

Like "The Beast in Heat", "Gestapo" is one of the rarest of the UK 'Video Nasties' of the '80.s

A voiceover of a former female concentration camp prisoner is heard giving shocking Court evidence of the sadism used by the Nazi's and the torture, rape and eventual death of her Sister.
Then a male voice comes in and tells his tale of horror.
These sombre re-tellings play over silent footage of a greying man, Conrad Von Starker (Marc loud), driving through the European countryside.

As the voices fade out the man picks up a younger woman named Lise (Daniela Poggi)…And they embrace.
It transpires that Starker is the ex-Nazi whose trial we just heard testimony from but it turns out his lawyer got him off with the excuse he was simply one of the many soldiers carrying out orders.

Together they drive to the now desolate Concentration Camp where Starker was in reality the Commandant.
As they look around the crumbling buildings, sprayed with anti-Nazi slogans, we flashback to when the camp was in operation;

We see women (one is Lise) and children unloaded from trucks and split up into groups. A Mother is bludgeoned to death for trying to hold onto her child.
Internal examinations of the chosen girls follow watched over by Starker. The male Doctor carrying out the examinations is sickened by what is happening.
A slide show of naked Jewish women, in various states of degradation, is shown to a group of naked young soldiers, with Starker narrating the Nazi doctrine of how the Jew is an animal who deserves no mercy or respect.
The men are then ordered to rape the Jewish girls we have just seen being examined…and like a rabid pack they fall on the naked women, beating, scratching, raping, and humiliating.

Those not chosen are burnt alive in a tunnel like oven.

The women are herded to their beds and a female guard named Alma (the striking Maristella Greco) struts around them, insulting the girls, and feeling between their legs. She then chooses a young woman who is menstruating to be thrown alive into a cage of Doberman dogs.
As she watches the girl die (the scene is not explicit in detail except for some aftermath meat eating, but the nature of the act is nasty enough) Alma gets turned on and feels up the Male soldier standing next to her.

The atrocities continue until one fateful day Lise meets Starker face to face for the first time during the most horrific of banquets. Lise refuses to be scared by the drunken cruelty of Starker in the hope he will be angered enough to kill her. But Starker takes a shine to her arrogance and promises to make her life a living hell until she actually fears death and then, and only then, he will kill her.
Little does he know that his fascination with her will turn to something stronger……

"Gestapo" is a rare thing indeed in the list of films that made the 'Nasties' list. As, despite the extreme content, it is ultimately a serious and very somber film with more to it than just sex and swastikas.

Although not as abstract or as minimalist as the more widely seen "Salo", the film has the same low budget atmosphere of decadent sadism and arrogant, aristocratic cruelty.
Like "Salo's" Italian sadists the Nazi's here live in a self-assured limbo where their depravity knows no bounds and certainly no conscious.
They are the perfect example of the old 'absolute power corrupts absolutely' adage.
Some of the English dubbing aside the film also thankfully play it all completely seriously and (as much as a film of this type can) plays down the more over the top 'Trash' mentality of most Euro exploitation.

That is not to say there are not many scenes of nastiness and exploitation, there are, but they play out with an air of morbidity with none of the crass (if fun) nods to sinful entertainment that most films of this ilk have.

The aforementioned slide show (complete with a woman supposedly smearing herself with her own excrement and a Mother and Daughter tied into an incestuous '69' oral sex position until they die!), is disturbing in it's matter of fact degradation of a whole race.
The following 'orgy' is full of exploitative female nudity and briefly glimpsed male nudity and the acts carried out, like a woman being forced to fellate a wooden pole, breasts being scratched and hinted at anal penetration with a dildo, although not that explicit are warped enough to get over the desired extremity of the event.
The oven deaths are also very disturbing as the helpless stripped women scream in pain and terror as the jets of flame shoot from the dark ceiling.

The most disturbing event is the banquet sequence. And it's here that the "Salo" comparisons come to the fore as the Nazis sit in opulent splendour and stroke each others egos and wax lyrical about their beliefs with fanatical zeal.
One particularly crazy Nazi rants about how the Jews will be used and exploited by Germany and chillingly lays out their fate, ultimately ending on the idea that they will be raised as food for the new Fatherland!
He then announces that their main course is just that…it's the meat of an unborn Jewish baby. "There's nothing better than a pot roast of unborn Jew!" he announces with manic zeal.
The eating of the meal, to bombastic classical music, is a genuinely powerful sequence as some of the Nazi's, like Starker, tuck into it with relish, while some force themselves to swallow the hideous dish.
But it gets worse. When one of the Jewish servant girls faints she is stripped, has the main course poured over her and is then put on the table (in a rather bizarre coffin like dish) as the leering, now obviously aroused, Nazis pour cognac on her naked body and then light it. And as her body burns they become more and more aroused, ultimately ending the meal in an orgy where one of the Nazi's lies on top of Alba as he rubs his hands over the charred remains. This whole portion of the movie is certainly extreme and repugnant but ultimately highly effective.

Sex wise, though it's full of full frontal nudity, it's very tame with little more than the old 'bobbing man arse' standby. But as in much softcore Euro trash of the time we do get a semi-erect penis slipped in (as it were) during an overlong rolling around session between Lise and the torn Doctor.

As the plot mostly concentrates on the twisted relationship between Starker and Lise most of the exploitative 'punishment' scenes therefore involve Lise.
To break her she is subjected to various tortures and mental and verbal abuse.
In one sequence Alba (very well played by Greco, who makes her a truly twisted and power mad individual, even getting Starker to submit to her ferocity as she sodomises him with a whip handle) strips Lise and while insulting and threatening her fondles her breasts and shows off the hideous baubles that decorate her office; Gloves made from the skin of babies, wigs made of dead women's hair and a lampshade made from a mans tattooed skin. All the clichés for sure, but given a genuinely sickening power by the bleak atmosphere the film exudes.

The most exploitative torture for Lise is being tied up, naked, by her feet over a glass container of rats (though they look more like large gerbils, but at least they look better than the guinea pigs used in "The Beast in Heat"!) where she is slowly lowered towards them as Starker details how they shall eat into her face. Lise still refuses to scream or show fear but does end up vomiting over the rodents. Like the rest of the atrocities, it's a grim scene devoid of any of the more 'entertaining' aspects of most other exploitation films.

The relationship between Starker and Lise is perhaps the films main fault as nothing ever seems to ring true, and Starker's love for her seems to really come from nowhere and seems terribly forced. The whole twist at the end also seems to be more of a way to end the film than to be based in any cohesive reality.

But at least this relationship adds a complex master/slave fetish to the movie. The whole thing drips with DeSade style psychosexual mania as the S/M power games are played out.
Speeches about power and submission mix with the imagery to create a surprising and twisted streak of sadistic eroticism to the film.
This aspect of the plot adds a sombre quality to "Gestapo's Last Orgy" missing from almost all the other 'Nazi Exploitation' films.
And when you add a surrealistic flashback within a flashback sequence (during the aforementioned Lesbian scene between Alma and Lise) where we see the horny Starker and Alba skin the man to make the lampshade, we can see that Director Cesare Canevari and Screen Writer Antonio Lucarella were aiming to make a film that would hold up as legitimate cinema as well as pull in the exploitation crowds.

And for the most part (a film like this will always slip over the line and remain exploitation…even the stunning and luxuriant coating given Tinto Brass's excellent "Salon Kitty" could not help the film escape it's exploitation heart) they succeed in that aim, and if the film was seen in a subtitled version it would perhaps be better thought of.

So what we have is certainly exploitative, with a sadly very forced and unrealistic main relationship. But it's also a welcome change to the usual Nazi trash flick with it's somber, serious mood, hauntingly arrogant sadism, and intriguing DeSade influences as it wallows in despair and the utter corruption of humanity.