Dyanne Thorne, Star of 'Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS,' Dies at 83

Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS - Photofest - H 2020
Cambist Films/Photofest

She also appeared in sequels, an X-rated 'Pinocchio' and 'Blood Sabbath' before officiating weddings with her husband in Las Vegas.

Dyanne Thorne, who starred as a wicked soldier of fortune in the Naziploitation film Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS and a pair of sequels, has died. She was 83.

Thorne died Jan. 28 of pancreatic cancer while in hospice care in Las Vegas, Howard Maurer, her husband of 44 years and frequent co-star, told The Hollywood Reporter.

After a turn as the Fairy Godmother in the X-rated Pinocchio (1971), Thorne portrayed a warden in a Nazi concentration camp in the waning days of World War II in the lurid She Wolf of the SS (1975), directed by Don Edmonds.

Ilsa subjects her female prisoners to torturous medical experiments to prove they can withstand pain as well as men and thus be able to serve in combat. She also has lots of sex with her male prisoners, and those who don't satisfy her are castrated.

According to the 2008 book The Porning of America, the movie was made on the Culver City set of the CBS series Hogan's Heroes, which had recently been canceled.

"The initial torture scene was not in the original script. Not until we showed up on set that day. So I didn't know they were going to do that scene and [I thought the] little bit that was in the opening of the scene would not be so graphic," Thorne recalled in a 2011 interview.

"When I did it, they poured the red into the water for the blood and they had me walk around. This was the sweetest actor in the world that they castrated. I must tell you that was probably the most shocking scene in my entire life. And from there it just got one shocking torture right after the other."

In his review, Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune called Ilsa "the most degenerate picture I have seen to play downtown" and "80 minutes of sado-masochism … [it] plays like a textbook for rapists and mutilation freaks." He also noted that the movie "is doing terrific business."

Thorne then starred in the Middle East-set Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976), also directed by Edmonds; Ilsa the Tigress of Siberia (1977), helmed by Jean LaFleur; and Wanda, the Wicked Warden (1977), an unofficial sequel of sorts from Jess Franco.

A native of Greenwich, Connecticut, Thorne sang and appeared on the stage; the theater was her first love, her husband said.

She had walk-ons in the studio films Who Was That Lady? (1960), Love With the Proper Stranger (1963) and The President's Analyst (1967) and appeared with Robert De Niro in the 1965 short film Encounter and on the second-season Star Trek episode "A Piece of the Action."

The 1970s also saw Thorne play a wealthy villainess in Point of Terror (1971), star with Anthony Geary in Blood Sabbath (1972) and show up in The Swinging Barmaids (1975), Wam Bam Thank You Spaceman (1975) and Chesty Anderson U.S. Navy (1976).

More recently, she was in the 2013 films House of Forbidden Secrets and House of the Witchdoctor — her husband was in those, too — and Exploitation (2018).

Thorne and Maurer for years ran a business in Las Vegas in which they served as non-denominational reverends to officiate weddings. She wrote scripts and he sang and played keyboards for the ceremonies.

Some clients would ask for an "Ilsa Wedding" — "Ilsa is an icon all over the world," Maurer pointed out — and she would preside dressed in a military-style costume, with the swastika replaced by an American flag. Occasionally, Thorne and Maurer were flown out of state and even out of the country to perform the marriages, he said.