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23.7.14

La Bestia in Calore (1977)


aka THE BEAST IN HEAT
aka SS HELL CAMP

Director: Luigi Batzella
Starring: Macha Magall, Gino Turini, Edilio Kim, Xiro Papas, Salvatore Baccaro
Not Rated 86 min.

It's World War II, and the Nazis are capturing attractive young women in the name of science. Dr. Ellen Kratsch (Macha Magall) needs subjects to in order to learn more about her newest creation: a half-man, half-primate creature genetically engineered to be a sexual monster. Fed a steady diet of hormones and aphrodisiacs, the "Beast" savagely rapes any woman thrown in his cage. He finishes by tearing out and eating handfuls of his victim's pubic hair. Meanwhile, a pace-killing subplot involving a band of resistance fighters plods around recycled war movie footage.

I'm somewhat puzzled by the appeal of the "Nazisploitation" subgenre, so I can't say that I'm very familiar with this movie's brethren. However, this one is mostly boring with impressively offensive moments sprinkled throughout. Directed without much in the way of style by Luigi Batzella (NUDE FOR SATAN), the film tries to shock, but comes up short due to the ineptness of the production. The only good thing about this movie is the performance of Macha Magall. As the demented Nazi sex kitten/scientist, Magall livens things up with a very inspired and dedicated performance. She had a genuine presence that deserved to be used in better films.

Macha Magall as "Dr. Ellen Kratsch" in LA BESTIA IN CALORE

 It's not hard to see what may have attracted the BBFC's attention. LA BESTIA IN CALORE has an abundance of full frontal nudity, both male and female. There are a handful of prolonged scenes of rape and sexual torture. Genitals are cut off, shot off, and chewed off. In one scene, a Nazi soldier tosses a baby into the air and then blasts it with machine gun fire. The scenes of sexual violence are not as graphic as they might sound, and as is often the case with the "Video Nasties," the violence is so poorly executed it is more silly than shocking. The movie's greatest special effect is the Beast of the title, actor Salvatore Baccaro. Without any makeup or prosthetics, Baccaro bore a startling resemblance to a Neanderthal.

Salvatore Baccaro, the "Beast in Heat"

It's dumb, gross, and offensive, but ultimately too silly and badly made to warrant any attention from people who aren't already fans of this weird little genre. LA BESTIA IN CALORE might be good for a night of beers and laughs, but you'll probably spend a lot of time leaning on the "fast forward" button.  

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