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When I was asked to write an article on a long-forgotten
genre gem, there were several that came to mind, but one stood out as a sequel
that never got the respect it deserved. Though the original ILSA: SHE WOLF OF
THE SS is essential exploitation cinema, its sequel ILSA, HAREM KEEPER OF THE
OIL SHEIKS is, in this writer’s opinion, just as fun, if not a better movie
than its predecessor.
HAREM KEEPER feels more like a remake rather than a sequel,
considering that the story has almost no connection to the original. The
ultra-buxom Dyanne Thorne again delivers a sensational performance as Ilsa, the
wicked pussycat in charge of making sure every sin is in order. Gone is the
German prison-camp setting, replaced with the sands of the Middle East. Ilsa
now runs a harem for her master, El Sharif, an Arab sheik whose sexual appetite
and abuse of power has gotten out of control.
El Sharif, who spends most of his time giving orders and
lying down with mistresses, has taking a liking to kidnapping American girls
whom he uses and abuses before selling them off in slave auctions to his fellow
sheiks. Just as Ilsa imports three new voluptuous specimens, El Sharif receives
a visit from two U.S. diplomats who seemingly come in peace to persuade him to
share some of the oil his acres of land sit on. Being keen to the idea that the
Americans are up to more than they claim to be, he instructs Ilsa to find out
what they already know about his slave-trade operation.
HAREM KEEPER carries over many of SHE WOLF’s exploitation
sensibilities, but a slightly lighter tone has been put into effect. The U.S.
diplomat Dr. Kaiser acts as comic relief, something the grim SHE WOLF was
missing, despite the fact that it’s hinted he has had an affair with a young
slave boy. In order for El Sharif to destroy his rivals, Ilsa devises a plan to
implant an intercourse-activated explosive into the slave girls’ cervixes
before handing them over as peace offerings. Anyone caught disobeying orders on
El Sharif’s grounds must pay the price by dealing with Ilsa’s ebony
lady-guards, be it in mortal combat or bosom-in-a-vice anguish.
Though the torture sequences are slightly less vicious and
sometimes downright silly, this is still ILSA movie, after all. While it plays
out as more of an action film, there is still a fair amount of nonconsensual
sex acts present, which keeps the film grounded in its exploitation roots. When
an imported slave is reluctant to use her tongue on one of Ilsa’s bodyguards,
Ilsa shoves her face deep in the servant’s crotch, hissing, “Lick, bitch!”;
Thorne is ever a trouper. Unnecessary cruelty and bizarre humor like this are
part of the sensibilities that make HAREM KEEPER such a treat. War, explosions,
rape and murder—all of this screen candy eventually comes to a bubble-gum pop
in the exhilarating climax of this rollercoaster ride of a flick.
If you’ve never gotten around to seeing HAREM KEEPER, this
writer strongly suggests you seek it out. Fans of gratuitous nudity and
violence will have something to amuse them in every frame, while old-school
movie nuts who enjoy an adventurous romp will remember what fun it was before
screenes became overloaded with CGI and big names. No matter what you look for
in your movies, you will no doubt say when this one’s done, “They sure don’t
make ’em like that anymore.”
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