One of my all-time favourite directors, and I say this with utter seriousness, because people usually laugh at me when I say his name, is Jesu Franco, of such gems as Vampyros Lesbos and Venus in Furs. No, I’m really serious. He’s the Euro-trash equivalent of Ed Wood, and Johnny Depp made a film about that angora sweater wearing cross-dresser.
Naturally my last DVD excursion in Guangzhou was made even more transcendental by discovering those aforementioned titles, and my eventual return almost exploding with frisson at the knowledge that Sadomania is now out in all it’s sadistic she-male prison warden genius.
Franco updates an unused ‘Ilsa: Wicked Warden’script to suit the statuesque Wilson in the lead role, of which he/she takes with both hands. This is so over the top and the acting so terribly bad that it is difficult to get offended by the cartoon capers, the rubber crocs for instance are side splittingly funny, but that is exactly what has happened with this movie time and time again. The scene where the prisoner is raped by a dog is so ridiculous that laughter crosses your face in what should be shocking, but it’s not and Franco is playing with you here and he knows it.
This previously banned movie is presented in an almost uncut version; a little nipple torture has been removed at the behest of the BBFC but is almost completely shown in the Spanish version of the Trailer and at the end of the Franco interview.