The answer (to the first one) is surprisingly complicated to get across. The bottom line is that an Exploitation Film is a movie made with an eye to profit above all things. "But doesn't that describe all movies?" No, not really. An Exploitation Movie exists almost entirely to serve its advertising, which pulls in curious viewers based on the more lurid interests that such films have to offer. These films don't often contain any significant artistic merit, but have enough of the shocking, the sexy or the combination of shocking and sexy to entice viewers into pushing their bucks through the round hole in the Grindhouse Theatre window.
Exploitation Flicks are "product", not really "art" (with some exceptions). Often all the "good parts" (a relative term) are given away in the previews (along with the plot, half the time) and more likely than not, the film will be remarkably similar to a larger-budgeted hit film that had already been released. For example A Man Called Horse is not an Exploitation Flick... The Man from Deep River is. Robocop is not an Exploitation Flick... Showgirls is. Often Exploitation Movies had a number of different titles, often similar to previously (or soon to be) released titles to cash in on their successes. This is why you've got so many unofficial sequels to Dawn of the Dead regardless of what year they were made in. This is also why Last House on the Left (which is most certainly an exploitation flick) was followed unofficially by such films as Last House on Dead End Street, The New House on the Left (AKA: Last Train of the Night) and House on the Edge of the Park!
But if someone really, really, really doesn't get it... I'll show them Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS or its first sequel Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks. If the titles alone don't describe perfectly what "Exploitation" is, virtually every frame of both flicks should do the trick like Copperfield at the Bermuda Triangle!
The advertisements for this movie pushed every nasty element to the limit in the hope that it would make some randy feeling person pop up and say "One Please!" Seriously, man, when Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS became a relative hit (certainly not competing with Jaws or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest that year, but more than making its slim budget back), director Don Edmonds interpreted that as a MANDATE and gave us more of what made Ilsa I such a crap fest.
The good news is that this time we're not dealing with Nazis Getting Laid (unless Ilsa still counts as a Nazi). The bad news is that this doesn't keep the movie from being almost completely unredeemable and disgusting, especially in its treatment of women.
What the eff you see kay? Did I say "almost"? The combined power of a thousand armies MIGHT promote this stupid waste of a movie to the level of merely sucking hot death through a used straw! You know what? I could keep a perfectly good bag of crap in the space this film occupies. And I don't covet bags of crap.
But setting morality aside, isn't Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks a surprisingly fine film? Fuck no. Even Vulcans would hate it. If anything, this is the biggest patty of skunk shit to be sand-blasted onto theatre screens since fucking Gestapo's Last Orgy. Amazingly, this film does manage to be hot and sexy in some places, however, Don "Dickbrain with a Mandate" Edmonds seems to be pushing every limit of bad taste that he possibly can to ensure that even the scenes featuring hot, naked women are ruined beyond repair. In my review for Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS I described how hot a movie of this kind might be without Nazis. I was wrong. Deadmonds managed to fuck it up, man, pushing the buttons and mixing the hot with the disgusting, re-defining "Prurient". Once again, why wasn't this flick banned as a Video Nasty? Because it wasn't even allowed to be released in British Theatres, much less on home fucking video.
In this pimple-scab of a bijou reject, Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne, Ph.D.) is miraculously alive again after having been sent straight to hell in her first theatrical booger excavation. She's also no longer in Nazi Germany, but living somewhere around the time of 1976. While this alone would be worthy of mockery, I have to recuse myself from pissing on this one, seeing as how the TV Series Wonder Woman pulled the same crap between its first and second season.
Now, Ilsa is the very nasty and cruel chief of staff for a wealthy oil baron in the middle east known as El Sharif (Jerry Delony). He's a real crap-bag dictator who spends most of his time sleeping with hot Arab women who, quite frankly, could do better. The "staff" Ilsa is chief of consists primarily of captive women forced into his service. Many, we learn, are the privileged daughters of the Western Rich (nauseatingly brought to the Mid-East in padded crates while sleeping) who are allowed to wear locked chastity belts and nothing else.
Hot? To look at, yes. The rest is terrible.
Ilsa goes about "training" with threats of things I'm not even going to type here (but they make that whole Richie Gere Gerbil story seem tame by comparison) and forced scrimmages. The latter means that Edmonds and writer Langston Stafford seemed on a warpath to ruin that tried and true fascination with Lesbian Sex. You bastards!
This time, of course, she's not alone. No, no, no. This time she's got two hot assistants named Satin and Velvet (played by Tanya Boyd and Marilyn Joi). These African demigoddesses most often run around topless in tiny, flesh colored thongs (and even beat up men while topless and looking quite good in the process), though they do pause once in a while for some Lesbian Sex.
Now before that starts to sound like a feminist revival, let me assure you that this is one of the most misogynistic pieces of shit cinema I've ever had the extreme displeasure to witness. Yeah, it's all tongue-in-cheek, yeah, it's all meant to be in silly fun. Yeah, it fails miserably. The good points here can only be enjoyed with a good copy of Final Cut Pro. Excise half the film and leave the naked women, (muting 100% of the dialogue) and you can enjoy it... five minutes at a time. However, as a whole, the film is all about pushing the limits and working hard on being offensive. Trust me, when it comes to "Objectification of Women", you ain't seen nothin' yet. And I urge you not to bother!
It also appears to be Don Edmonds' intention to soften some of this misogynistic violence by putting much of it in the hands of Ilsa, a woman herself (you won't doubt that when you see her completely naked). This doesn't help. Ilsa is violent toward women, Ilsa is shown her place by men violently and the lame-ass revenge plot does a fuckload more damage to the women in the revengers' paths than it does to the male objects of this revenge. Folks, this is NOT a family film.
Also apparently immune to death and aging are Richard Kennedy's Kaiser, the Nazi Commander Ilsa urinated on in the last film, now somehow working for the US Government, along with porn stars Sharon Kelly and Uschi Digard. Yes, basically there to play the same naked parts they played in the previous year's wasted entry.
And that's the main line of filmic crime in this bird's turd of a movie. It's essentially just a retread of the same film with Oil Sheiks replacing Nazis. If anything the film makers are trying to outdo themselves with every vile excess, forgetting that the really hot things happen when everybody isn't bleeding and pleading. Once again there's sex, violence, nudity, anguish and sickening medical experiments. Once again, Ilsa is only tamed by one man who is really good in bed (in this case Max Thayer as Commander Adam, US Navy).
Once again it's a waste of time. And it's all because Don and Langston not only needed to pay their rent really badly, but also got rejected by the Prom Queen years ago. Oh, boo-hoo.
Folks, if you're going to watch it for the nudity, don't bother! Uschi has been in all kinds of nudie films and a ton of nudie magazines. Don't even get me started on ol' Sharon whose career in the buff is more than prolific. You'll find plenty of Haji Cat and Su Ling outside of this shit statue too. In short... no need to watch this retread, find the good parts elsewhere.
Is that just my way of telling you that Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks is a Dog? Yes. It sucks more ass than a West Hollywood Liposuction Machine. The only aspects worth watching in this joke are the beautiful women, whom you can get more appreciative views of in better movies (relative though "better" might be). This isn't just a prime example of "Exploitation", it's the ugly side of "Exploitation". It was like pulling teeth. Especially the teeth-pulling scene which, quite frankly, is going to give me nightmares until the next election year. Until then, I'll see you in the next reel. Don't watch this movie.
Why did this movie suuuuuuuuuuuuck?
How can movies nooooooooot suck
In the fuuutuuuuuuure?
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