Part 9 of 13, excerpted from an essay entitled “Disturbo 13: The Most Disturbing Horror Films Ever Made” by Stanley Wiater.
Another obscure import, this very well made movie was produced in Spain, apparently by a group of serious filmmakers. Nevertheless, In A Glass Cage is a truly loathsome love story, dealing with a former Nazi commandant in the early 1950s who, after a fall, is forced to exist in an iron lung (the glass cage of the title). As his wife cannot care for him alone, she advertises for a male nurse, and the young man who gets the job just happens to be one of her husband’s former sexually abused and tortured child victims.
The film has several levels of perversity, not the least of which is the way the Nazi commandant continues to revel in his memories of sexual torture. Meanwhile, the young man at one point becomes so enraptured by the commandant’s fantasies that he brings in a procession of young boys the imprisoned man can watch him torture. There is also the blatantly stated homosexual love/hate relationship between the two men. This aspect is unusually cruel, with one scene depicting the commandant’s iron lung being turned on and off so that, while he is temporarily choking to death, the male nurse can masturbate of his face.
The lush production values, compelling acting, and decidedly unusual plot conspire to keep the viewer from turning away from In A Glass Cage. However, any movie that opens with a man viciously whipping a naked boy hanging from the ceiling cannot be construed as anything but seriously disturbing.