Nazisploitation!: The Nazi Image in Low-Brow Cinema and Culture

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9781441110602: Nazisploitation!: The Nazi Image in Low-Brow Cinema and Culture
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Nazisploitation! examines past intersections of National Socialism and popular cinema and the recent reemergence of this imagery in contemporary visual culture. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, films such as Love Camp 7 and Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS introduced and reinforced the image of Nazis as master paradigms of evil in what film theorists deem the 'sleaze' film. More recently, Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, as well as video games such as Call of Duty: World at War, have reinvented this iconography for new audiences. In these works, the violent Nazi becomes the hyperbolic caricature of the "monstrous feminine" or the masculine sadist. Power-hungry scientists seek to clone the Fuhrer, and Nazi zombies rise from the grave.

The history, aesthetic strategies, and political implications of such translations of National Socialism into the realm of commercial, low brow, and 'sleaze' visual culture are the focus of this book. The contributors examine when and why the Nazisploitation genre emerged as it did, how it establishes and violates taboos, and why this iconography resonates with contemporary audiences.

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About the Author:

Elizabeth Bridges is assistant professor of German at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.
Kristin Vander Lugt is Adjunct Instructor of German, George Mason University.

Review:

Nazis have occupied global popular culture for some seventy years now, not only as the villains of World War II and perennial Oscar bait for Hollywood, but also as the site of perverse psychosexual fixations both high and low. In a series of provocative essays, Nazisploitation! examines the oddly and even alarmingly enduring presence of the Nazi across a variety of media, opening and important, if at times difficult, dialogue about this continuing fascination with the iconography of the Third Reich. --Jeffrey Sconce, Northwestern University
Historical Jounal of Film, Radio and Television

Nazisploitation! asks serious questions about films that have long been dismissed as weird and wacky. Why are the Nazis our dearest villains, and why has their number, goose-stepping across our screens, risen steadily? What does a Nazi dominatrix like Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS tell us about American political insecurities shored up by sexual bravado in the 1970s, and about American men's fear of feminism? How can the genres of Nazi zombie movies and Nazi clone flicks help us sort through ethical quandaries prompted by genetic engineering? And finally: does it make sense to categorically separate out Nazi trash from the treasures of anti-fascist filmmaking, given the extensive sharing of tropes, plots, and personnel across the high and low-brow divide? The visceral impact that Nazisploitation films aim for, the authors in this volume demonstrate, may come at the expense of analytical nuance-but it also reveals more about the pleasure we take in evil before foreswearing it. This book is a must-read for anyone pondering Americans' abiding fascination with fascism. -- Katrin Sieg, Georgetown University

From the 1970s (s)excesses of Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS and European arthouse epics such as The Night Porter, to recent retro blockbusters such as Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, the theme of 'Nazisploitation' has become a significant motif across a wide variety of cinema traditions. However, by aligning the horrific activities of National Socialism with exploitation expose, zombie flick and even erotic titillation, Nazisploitation remains the most marginal of all trash traditions, and has been largely shunned by the recent rush to recuperate cult and underground film patterns. Nazisploitation! The Nazi Image in Low-Brow Cinema and Culture represents the first book-length study on the topic, and provides a provocative but powerful examination of the enduring cinematic influence of Nazi atrocities. With its systematic and far reaching remit, the volume takes in a number of key debates around historical representation, gender construction, pseudo-scientific discourses of film and recent Hollywood renditions of the Nazi, in order to finally drag cult cinema's most controversial cycle fully into the academy. --Xavier Mendik, Director of the Cine-Excess International Cult Film Festival and DVD Label, Brunel University

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