Mar 2, 2013

The Island of the Bloody Plantation

While many fans of German New Cinema master auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder's cinematic oeuvre find it quite baffling that Ulli Lommel – the star of the filmmaker’s first film Love is Colder than Death (1969) aka Liebe ist kälter als der Tod and director of the Fassbinder-produced homo-cidal serial killer flick The Tenderness of the Wolves (1973) aka Die Zärtlichkeit der Wölfe – would go on to haphazardly and half-assedly direct some of the worst digital diarrhea works, including Daniel - Der Zauberer (2004), which was once voted the worst film ever made on, as well as countless sub-schlock and similarly titled direct-to-dvd serial killers flicks like Zodiac Killer (2005), B.T.K. Killer (2005), and Green River Killer (2005), the most embarrassing Fass-bande-related work is indubitably The Island of the Bloody Plantation (1983) aka Die Insel der blutigen Plantage aka Escape from Blood Plantation aka Prison Camp Girls, Jailed for Love directed by Kurt Raab (although it is often contended that Peter Kern was either the director or co-directed) and produced by Peter Kern. Although the star of such Fassbinder classics as Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? (1971) aka Warum läuft Herr R. Amok?, Satan's Brew (1976) aka Satansbraten, and The Stationmaster's Wife (1977) aka Bolwieser, as well as the star/writer of The Tenderness of the Wolves and production designer for virtually every single Fassbinder film leading up to 1977, Kurt Raab, for whatever reason (but most likely a tasteless attempt at hoping to earn a relatively hefty monetary return on a shallowly contrived cinematic work that relies on its exotic location and people as its sole appeal), decided to direct a Women in Prison (or WiP) film; a totally trashy and thoroughly tacky subgenre of exploitation cinema oftentimes containing lurid and crudely contrived lesbian action between braindead scream queens and scenes of softcore quasi-pornography and intrinsically idiotic gore scenes. Not unsurprisingly, Kurt Raab – a flamboyant homosexual who inevitably died of AIDS and whose death was chronicled in the documentary Yearning for Sodom (TV 1989) aka Sehnsucht nach Sodom, which he also co-directed – did not feel the need to include too many bare-skinned buxom blonde and brown beauties in his WiP flick The Island of the Bloody Plantation, but instead, countless scenes of homo-hustler-turned-actor Udo Kier in compromised, unclad and oftentimes shirtless situations and a couple shots of small yet perky Filipino tits. An absurdly asinine celluloid abortion from whatever angle you look at it, even as a work from the innately idiotic and aesthetically competent subgenre of WiP, The Island of the Bloody Plantation – a would-be-wild-and-wanton work that also features Fass Superstar and blonde beastess Barbara Valentin in a radically ridiculous role as a comrade-raping neo-nazi she-bitch who has packed on a couple pounds since her days as an astute attendant at Auschwitz; a place with a great starvation diet – is not only fuming filmic feces on Fassbinder’s grave, but also further proof that without the fallen filmmaker as their all-powerful Führer and father-figure, his incestuous film family, aside from a couple exceptions, was nothing more than a group of misguided moneymakers. 

 Like Island of Lost Souls (1932) meets Apocalypse Now (1979) meets Iron Sky (2012) as if directed by Jess Franco’s half-retarded, gay kraut bastard brother, The Island of the Bloody Plantation is set on a secluded yet heavily guarded tropical island (like many cheap exploitation films of its time, it was shot in the Philippines) ruled by a terribly debauched nazi doctor named Otto Globocnik (played by boxer-turned-actor Karl-Otto Alberty and clearly named after Slovenian-Austrian SS leader Odilo Globocnik) in what is a maniac neo-nazi microcosm that includes countless Filipino islander slaves, especially of the female persuasion but also some mutant man-loving 'house Fligga' midgets, and a handful of traitorous Flip men, including Hartman (Udio Kier); a race traitor who has fallen with a wilily eye half-caste native named Cora (Karen Lopez). On top of committing the unholy sin of racial treason, Hartman – a heartfelt hero with a bleeding heart for exotic primitives – is loved by the queen nazi bitch of the island, Olga (Barbara Valentin) aka “Bloody Olga” (her nickname during his early days as a concentration camp guard). Naturally things are not as glorious as during the golden age of the Third Reich, as the fallen Führer, who used to be called “white stallion” during his illustrious and murderous years as a super suave SS officer, likes to have sex with his brown slaves, which enrages Olga as demonstrated by her rather brazen rhetorical question to him, “What kind of example are you setting for your men…messing around with subhumans?”  Of course, good ol’ Globocnik is not the only one with a feverish fetish as Olga is in love with handsome Hartman, so much so that she rapes him at gunpoint and makes his naked native girlfriend Cora watch. A bodacious butch yet clearly once-beauteous blonde and salacious sadomasochist who is quite proud of her old moniker “Bloody Olga” from her old Jew-gassing days, Olga states to Hartman, “I love it when you hate puts fire in me,” while he reluctantly ravages her puss. Needless to say, the unhinged and fetishistic fascists of The Island of the Bloody Plantation are so extreme that they are a virtual parody of the "Authoritarian Personality" as described by Jewish Marxists of the Frankfurt school like Erich Fromm and Theodor W. Adorno.  Some of the Nazi guards, including Bevney (director Kurt Raab somewhat playing himself as a perverted pederast who loves quoting bible verses) and some fat kraut, force some of the natives to fornicate in front of them so as to obtain optimum scopiphiliac pleasure. Naturally, things go awry for the island of aberrant authoritarian Aryans when Hartman helps the islanders to run an untermensch revolt in the spirit of the Haitian Revolution where the Asiatic islanders exterminate the white leaders (minus Hartman and Olga's 'secret' and innocent daughter). With a little help from primitive magic from one of the flip girls and a poisonous spider, the Filipinos prove that the Germans are not the only masters of genocide, but, of course, they need race traitor Hartman to help them pull it off. 

 With its particularly poorly dubbed English dialogue, curiously corny and poorly aged theme song, mindless worship of the nubile “noble savage,” lackluster direction and use of generic genre conventions, farcical treatment of Fassbinder Superstars, lunatic left-wing social message, crude low-camp comedy, and cheap softcore sensuality, The Island of the Bloody Plantation is, at best, a dedicatedly disgraceful but surely symbolic celluloid artifact for the forsaken future of German cinema after Fassbinder’s death (it should be noted that the film was released only a year after R.W. overdosed on cocaine) that features a handful of entrancing scenic beach shots and, at worst, something that borders on the equivalent of a celluloid lobotomy. Featuring a boorish brigade of blond and debauched nazi nihilists who seem to openly welcome their own demise, especially Olga (who inexplicably allows the natives to run their revolution due to her hard-on for Hartman), The Island of the Bloody Plantation also makes for a vaguely eccentric yet rarely entertaining work of erratic ethno-masochistic exploitation cinema.  On a personal level, I did enjoy Barbara Valentin's particularly peculiar and rather against-type performance as Olga to some degree because instead of playing her typical role as a blonde bimbo, she plays a passionate psychopath who will do anything for her man and daughter, even if it results in her inevitable self-destruction, despite being a genocidal cunt and whatnot. Of course, unlike The Tenderness of the Wolves, The Island of the Bloody Plantation offers no psychological insight for the self-loathing of its oftentimes vainglorious villains aside from their nostalgia for Nazism under Hitler, thus backing Wagnerian-Brechtian auteur Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s argument that modern German art is, "filthy and sick... in praise of cowardice and treason, of criminals, whores, of hate, ugliness, of lies and crimes and all that is unnatural." Indeed, while The Island of the Bloody Plantation tries to play off its overwhelming hatefulness and degeneracy as merely sardonic like the typical Hollywood quasi-commie comedy, it is quite obvious that the film wallows in wantonness and was made to make a quick buck under Fassbinder’s legacy and as a way for the ex-Fass-bande actors to spend a nice tropical vacation. If Kurt Raab is in hell, which some more superstitious individuals might believe since he was denied Christian burial at the Catholic cemetery near where he grew up in Bavaria due to prejudices against his perverse passing via gay cancer, I am sure Fassbinder has penetrated his poofer poop-chute with a pitchfork for directing The Island of the Bloody Plantation, but, for some reason, I am sure he likes it hot in his marvelously mangled man-hole. 

-Ty E

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