HELGA, SHE WOLF OF STILBERG ** France 1978 Dir: Alain Garnier 93 mins
Ilsa….sorry Helga runs the castle penitentiary Stilberg, a place for political prisoners and she runs it with no care for their well being. It is not long until Elisabeth Vogel, the daughter of the resistances leader, is captured and held prisoner by the devious Helga. After getting the wrong side of Helga, Elisabeth forms a plan to become Helga’s lover. This is all done in the hopes of escaping Helga’s evil ways and to get back to her father.
Unfortunately her plan backfires and she has to form an alliance with one of the other women prisoners to escape, and help the resistance in overthrowing the current people in power of the country. HELGA, SHE WOLF OF STILBERG is a tame rip off of the far superior ILSA series of films which began in 1975 with ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS. Where as Ilsa would have her prisoners flogged relentlessly until they are bleeding or worse, Helga flogs hers until they are a little sore. Helga is played by the lovely looking Malisa Longo who spends most of the film either in very tight leather trousers or in a nightgown. She would later go on to star in Lucio Fulci’s A CAT IN THE BRAIN. The music for the film seems like very odd choices throughout with a mixture of jazz and blues, even if the film had been more violent these songs would take away from the violence. Those who watch these women in prison films expecting nudity will be pleased but the obligatory shower scenes are a no show. Patrice Rhomm directed this film under the name Alain Garnier. Probably his most famous film is the Erika Blanc starrer THE DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE (1971) which he has a writing credit for. HELGA, SHE WOLF OF STILBERG is far from the worst of the women in prison films but even further away from being the best.
Review by Peter ‘Witchfinder‘ Hopkins