Haunted Honeymoon

Film Review: The Red Nights of the Gestapo (1977)

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SYNOPSIS:

An illustrious group of German industrialists plot to overthrow Hitler by negotiating a peace treaty with England. Disgraced, but dedicated Nazi officer Colonel Werner von Uhland is assigned by his superiors to ferret out these deceitful dissidents and stop them before it’s too late. von Uhland recruits a bunch of beautiful women to seduce these traitors and undermine their conspiracy.

REVIEW:

Red Nights of the Gestapo (Le Lunghe Notti Della Gestapo) is another in the medium-sized line of Nazisploitation, this one coming from Italy via director Fabio de Agostini. The general plot of the film is a little bit confusing and gets lost at times. It opens by stating that Rudolph Hess, Hitler’s number two man, has fled the party and flown to England. He is now considered a traitor. Mr. Werner von Uhland (played by Ezio Miani) is taken in for questioning as to why he did not stop Hess. He is stripped of his rank and status, then put before a firing squad. They shoot all around him, but do not hit him. Instead, he is requested to go undercover and filter out the enemies of the state.

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In order to do this, von Uhland must gather the members of the German Intelligentsia together using the ruse that he wants to work with them. So, of course, he sets up a sex party in a castle and invites them all to join him for dinner and “dessert.” He has his people find out each members’ sexual preferences, then find a good “match” for each one, planning to them record the entire event with hidden microphones and so create a scandal that will ruin them all.

That is pretty much the general storyline. Invitations are sent, women are found, and then sit back and watch the debauchery. This isn’t an Ilsa-style Nazisploitation film, outside of the fact that here, too, we leave out the idea of the Jews and the concentration camps. But we don’t see widespread torture and/or experimentation going on, we don’t see the frontlines of the war. This is more perversion for perversion’s sake, but with a story revolving around Nazi inner turmoil thrown in to lend it some credence.

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It almost seems that Red Nights of the Gestapo is too clean, too well done, too artistic to find itself accepted in the cult of Nazisploitation grit and grime, but then it’s certainly too offensive in its subject matter to be successful as an art film. It feels almost gentle and soft in its degradation of women and portrayal of what is essentially an orgy involving middle aged German men. There are disturbing and brutal parts, but in comparison to others in its sub-genre, it is fairly tame.

There are a couple scenes of people getting gunned down (but never any bullet holes or blood). And there’s a particularly disturbing scene where von Uhland discovers he’s being listened to, so attacks the people at the other end of the wire. He shoots the three men, then slaps around and rapes the woman with his gun before shooting her. Pretty unnecessary, really. But most of the action of the film lies in the perverse sexual activities going on in the castle during the party. One man is presented with a lactating woman. Another is given a sadist and a masochist. Still another is given a little girl (nothing is shown, but only implied, thankfully). There are little shows put on for the men involving strip teases. At one point a woman comes out with a Hitler-esque moustache on her face, dancing and stripping well yelling “Heil Hitler” and doing some weird thing with a ping pong ball in her mouth. Actually, most of this movie finds women in various states of undress.

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I can’t say that this movie is bad, but I’m hesitant to say it is good. It is shot very well, vivid colors and stylish camera work throughout. The acting isn’t award-winning, but everyone plays their role well enough. The story gets lost amongst the orgy, and we don’t really get to know who most of these characters are aside from a quick throwaway introduction here and there. If you’re looking for a good factual movie about the Nazis, look elsewhere. If it’s a dark, dirty, nasty Nazisploitation movie you want, search out some of the others first. If you’re looking for softcore, fetishized “Nazi” women caressing each other against a weak and confusing storyline, well, Red Nights of the Gestapo just might be your thing.

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About seanofthedead

In 1987, after hearing Poison’s “Look What the Cat Dragged In” for the first time, Sean decided he wanted to play drums. After realizing all rock stars wore leather pants, he traded in his dreams of fortune and fame for 80’s sitcoms, horror movies, and punk rock. Sean has spent his recent years trying to recover from Catholic guilt while searching for an idea worth writing.

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