Ilsa, the Wicked Warden (1979) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna


Scoop's notes

Exploitation movie producers even exploit each other. This movie doesn't really have anything to do with Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS, except that it stars Dyanne Thorne as a sadist. It wasn't produced by the same people. (In fact, it was directed by the legendary Jess Franco.) Thorne wasn't originally called Ilsa, but Greta! The film was supposed to be called "Greta: House Without Men." But you know this genre. They release movies with a title designed for maximum ticket sales, and Ilsa had some cult status, and Dyanne Thorne was Ilsa, so .... eventually they used "Ilsa, the Wicked Warden" as the name on the DVD release.

This time, Thorne drags her mammoth bosom down to some jungle in Latin America to head up an institution for insane women. Franco's lady, Lina Romay, plays the warden's inmate-spy. Tania Busseliers plays a sane woman going undercover to see what happened to her sister in the institution. There are plenty of sadistic butch guards. Jess Franco himself is a doctor of some kind.

Actually, although this isn't my kind of movie, Franco did a pretty passable job on this one. There is some plot and some character development, an actual beginning-middle-end structure, and some unexpectedly solid camerawork from Franco, with very little of his characteristic zoom lens obsession. It isn't consistent, but some scenes have the look of an A picture.

Lina Romay, as the bratty dominant inmate, comes up with one of the great screen lines when she tells the new girl to "wash my poodle", a line which must be quoted as often as "round up the usual suspects"

Or not..

In the nudity department, Romay was still young and busty and quite cute, and Thorne - well, the woman had quite a chest on her, and showed it. She also did (perhaps accidentally) a brief scene with more explicit lower nudity. Needless to say, there was lots more nudity from anonymous torture victims and inmates. If you watch this for nudity, you won't get cheated.



  • Widescreen anamorphic. Good transfer.
  • Audio commentary with Dyanne Thorne and her husband Howard Maurer, moderated by a humorist.



Dyanne Thorne, Tania Busselier and Lina Romay showed everything, as did many unknowns.

Tuna's notes

Satisfied by a "no full-frontal clause" in her contract and a job for her husband, Howard Maurer, Dyanne Thorne was persuaded to jet off to Portugal and Switzerland to make this film. Director Jess Franco, having no money to speak of and living in no permanent address, was not especially afraid of being sued for breach of contract, so he tricked Thorne into showing full-frontal anyway. Franco would simply holler "cut," and keep the camera running. When Franco filmed the most graphic scenes, Thorne and her husband were sent on an innocuous tour of England. Lina Romay is involved in what is probably the most disgusting scene. Lina takes a crap, wipes her butt with a magazine sheet, then forces Busselier to "lick her culo." For those who have not tried wiping with glossy paper, it doesn't work very well, which makes "lick my culo" all the more disgusting. 

Ilsa, the Wicked Warden is chronologically the third in the Ilsa films starring Dyanne Thorne, but that is basically a post facto distinction. It does feature Dyanne Thorne, but is not an official Ilsa sequel. In fact, the warden character was first named Greta, then Wanda, and finally Ilsa. It was directed by Jess Franco and produced by Erwin C. Dietrich, and they retrofitted the film to capitalize on the popularity of the Ilsa films. Many scenes in the final version were not even in the original script, most notably one involving a tiger, which was added to ride the coattails of the newly released Ilsa, Tigress of Siberia. 

The story is simple. Wanda ... er ... Ilsa runs a woman's prison hospital, but also makes and sells dirty 8mm films of the inmates. A woman (Tania Busselier) wishes to find out what happened to her sister at the institution so she concocts a plan to get herself committed. She soon discovers that day-to-day life is controlled by a single prisoner (Lina Romay), who is the girl-toy of the warden (Dyanne Thorne). The doctor who helps Busselier get committed turns out to be a traitor and is murdered. Busselier was then afraid she would be there forever but in the end, as usual, things go against the evil Ilsa.

Despite the deceptions, Thorne and Maurer have nothing but praise for Jess Franco, and the film turned out to be a pretty good WIP film. It includes two shower scenes, a cat fight, girl/girl action, torture, and lots of nudity.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No significant reviews online.


The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C, assuming the genre is WIP films.

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