The Plot: It’s 1941 and Rudolf Hess makes his flight to England in surrender. The head of Hess’ staff, Colonel Werner von Uhland, is sentenced to death by the Gestapo. However, the Gestapo has another plan for him: It turns out there’s more traitors among the Third Reich and they’re all connected to each other under the name of The Intelligentsia. Col. von Uhland’s head decides to give him a chance to redeem himself by having him befriend the conspirators, arrange a brothel to invite the traitors in to use all their sexual weaknesses against them and expose their traitorous ways.
It’s a little hard looking for historical accuracy in the Nazisploitation genre, yet part of the reason why that is revolves around the entertainment value of the genre. It’s like pointing out the anachronisms of a WWII video game: The Nazi’s never had zombies, double-D bikini-clad devil worshippers or (my personal favorite) transforming mecha vehicles equipped with homing missiles and lasers, but it doesn’t matter so long as it’s an entertaining experience. So what happens when you get a Nazisploitation movie that has a heavy dose of historical straightness? You get Red Nights of the Gestapo… what could be the least entertaining Nazisplotation movie I’ve seen so far.
My problem with this movie is that it’s boring. Out right, unentertaining, occasionally funny, barely brutal and straight-up dull. This isn’t Women’s Camp 119 where it’s nothing but mean-spirited, uncomfortable sleaze with a hint of campiness, it’s not SS Hell Camp’s brutal, but hilariously bad and over-the-top bloody. It’s almost like SS Girls without the groovy soundtrack and 85% of the sexiness and humor completely removed.
The cinematography to this movie is actually very good. The film stock is clear, there are some impressive shots, close-ups and the art direction is great. from the Head Gestapo’s office to most of the architecture we get several well shot-close-ups of the different objects of art surrounding the actors including several stone statues, wood carvings, metallic figures and what appears to be a preserved heart wrapped in barbed wire. Really, from a technical and artistic aspect the movie is good and the props are unique… I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the money was spent on the seemingly Caligula-like sets and antique props. After watching the Nazisploitation movies of Bruno Mattei, it’s easy getting used to seeing Nazi characters who look 100% Italian, but the Italian actors of Red Nights were actually made-up to look more German with bleach-blonde hair and pale faces. That aside, the rest of the cast could’ve come from anywhere.
So with all this on our table, you’d think that for once you’d have dirty Nazisploitation with a hint of class. Sadly, there’s very little room for the dirty Nazisploitation factor. The first half of the movie consists of Uhland doing the Gestapo’s dirty work, rounding up insane women to be a particular traitor’s love slave from a very fake-looking asylum. All fine and well, but the second half of the movie mostly consists of Uhland talking to the traitors, the traitors talking to each other and then sometimes screwing the women. All of which sounds like it might be fun, but it isn’t. The nudity and sexual antics just aren’t as well shot as the rest of the movie. There are some decent close-ups (a few of which actually show some labia), but its not unique or angled enough to be memorable. Part of the problem may be due to the fact that the movie is actually based on a novel by Bertha Uhland so maybe the film is just playing out page for page.
I’ve never seen a movie make sex and nudity so tedious before and that includes Orgy of the Dead. There’s a scene where two characters are having sex on the back of an old butler and another character is playing a repetitive melody on a squeaky violin to it for four minutes; instead of coming off as erotic, or interesting it only serves as obnoxious and poorly shot. The only good close-up of the event is of the butler’s face as he’s walking the nympho over his back and stroking her hair. There’s even an odd amount of scenes where a little girl is recruited to tug at the heart strings of a conspirator who is a father. I guess it’s supposed to be subtly disturbing having a little kid hanging around these people, but it really just amounts to another talking scene. I don’t even want to talk about the soundtrack to this movie. I get what they were going for: the whole score consists of violin stringing and plucking that try to accentuate a sense of insanity, but it just comes across as annoying. The movie even has its own theme song like the Gestapo’s Last Orgy, only not sung too well; it’s like listening to Edith Piaf singing Haikus in Dutch… it just doesn’t go well together.
There are moments where the movie does get a little sleazy and its in these brief moments that the movie starts to get entertaining. There’s a scene where a group of spying Nazi Officers take a break by having a foursome with a female officer and even better is a scene where two ladies entertain the conspirators with an erotic and goofy strip show in a theater. Hell, there’s even a ping-pong ball trick show! It’s pretty glorious, but there’s just not enough of it; there are too many moments where the Intelligentsia are sitting around and talking about their situation or sitting down at dinner and talking, none of which gets them anywhere in the plot.
Col. von Uhland does come across as a capable and clever bad-ass, but the movie doesn’t give him enough to do. After a surprisingly harsh but brief scene where he guns down three male Nazi officers and assaults the female officer (to make it look like someone else did it), he spends the rest of the movie either sitting or standing around talking or eavesdropping. He doesn’t even pick-up a gun again until the end of the movie! Fred Williams from a Bridge Too Far shows up as a perverted aristocrat housing a French exhibitionist and a lesbian, and he’s pretty good but they don’t give the man enough to do here.
I will admit some of the characters are fairly likable: some of the crazy women recruited for prostitution get excited at either bondage, clothes-tearing or just plain getting nude and they’re fairly entertaining. Unfortunately, the movie just doesn’t do enough with these characters. The nympho girl is about the only fun one; she did remind me of a blonde Allyson King from Don’t look in the Basement only more nude. There is some bondage thrown in near the end where the clothes’ tearing girl tortures the sadomasochist woman, but there’s nothing brutal or erotic about it.
There’s very little brutality in the movie. Most of its disturbing factors come from the fact that there’s a war going on, there are Nazis and the traitors to the SS are mostly perverts. The scene where Col. von Uhland assaults the female officer was only a sample of rawness and the remaining brutality comes at the film’s climax when the beautiful unarmed women are gunned down by sub-machine gun fire. I seem to remember an episode of Cowboy Bebop doing something similar in a restaurant scene and it was stupid, as it was annoying, so it’s really more annoying than it is brutal here.
Speaking of death, there aren’t any uncomfortable death scenes in this movie. One woman gets stuffed in a box before being thrown out a window and one character suddenly dies from a heart attack after screaming and farting into a microphone. That’s about as memorable as the death scenes are. Funny enough, after this happened, the nymphomaniac character got so upset at the man’s sudden death that she started masturbating to which I sympathized saying ‘You know what? That’s not a bad plan! Now to find something sleazier..!’
The DVD transfer is pretty good and the menus are very well put together… but that’s it. Much like the movie, the DVD is very minimalist. The most Extra Features it has include deleted scenes that are pointless because it’s just more dialogue leading from other scenes, most of which are muted and don’t include original audio. Huh, something tells me even the transfer team was a little bored by this flick.
Considering the reputation of the Nazisploitation genre, Red Nights comes off as extremely tame. Even if it weren’t, it’s still a dull descent into World War II history facts; in the end, it’s a movie that tries to be smarter than it really is. It is very well shot and decorated, I can’t deny that, but if you’re looking for dark, brutal, sleazy exploitation or even crazy, zany sexual perversion or overall entertainment, don’t look for it here.