Love Camp 7
- Street Date:
- January 31st, 2017
- Reviewed by:
- Bruce Douglas
- Review Date: 1
- March 2nd, 2017
- Movie Release Year:
- Blue Underground
- 96 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
“You do extremely nice work, pig.”
Thanks to boutique Blu-ray labels like Arrow Video, Scream Factory, and Blue Underground the women in prison genre is seeing quite a resurgence. These companies are saving the classics of the genre by restoring films that would otherwise be forgotten or left to reside on outdated formats. Foundational films like ‘Black Mama White Mama’ and ‘99 Women’ can reliably serve a wide fan base and make the product worthwhile to more than a few passing collectors. However it’s the odd fare like ‘Love Camp 7’ and it’s seedy mix of Nazi atrocities and “WIP” sexploitation tropes that attract a narrow slice of that audience. It’s a risky venture to assume enough collectors will gladly pay for a remastered grindhouse roughie. I first saw the film 8 years ago on a ratty VHS I rented from a hole-in-the-wall store in Australia. The “Video Nasties” list was on my radar at the time and I wanted to see what those snobbish UK censors were on about. I popped in the tape and hoped for the best/worst! Ultimately, I found Lee Frost’s 1969 seminal Nazi-exploitation film ‘Love Camp 7’ to be a cheesy softcore exploitation flick that is an entertaining watch given your experience with such trashy films.
The film opens on two men during a boring business meeting in England. An anecdote about WWII turns into a flashback which opens on a meeting of Allied Generals. The Generals are briefed on the death of a Nazi scientist named Dr. Schell who was developing a fighter jet for the Third Reich. Schell’s Jewish assistant Dr. Martha Grossman lost her protection from the Nazis when he died. She was arrested and sent to “work” in an officer’s brothel called Love Camp 7. The Nazi “love camps” were filled with Jewish women forced to satisfy the sadistic sexual desires of German officers and high commanders. Unbeknownst to the Third Reich Grossman had been leaking secrets to the French resistance before her capture. If the Allied forces can rescue Grossman the remaining intelligence could help them win the war! The plan? Two specially trained WAC officers, Linda and Grace, will infiltrate the Nazi brothel posing as prisoners to locate Grossman. The French resistance forces will assist in planting the officers in enemy territory and eventually busting them out. “Sounds far fetched” says one of the Generals. Though the WAC officer’s extensive military training is displayed it isn’t made clear how they’ve prepared themselves for the NAZI SEX CAMP they’re infiltrating! “Both of them are experts in the field of guerilla warfare, hand to hand combat, and karate” doesn’t lend itself to brothel work too well. You’d think the writers would throw in some saucy details about their “love preparations” or something, right?
Once behind enemy lines Grace and Linda are easily arrested and sent directly to Love Camp 7. The slimy Commandant in charge greets the girls with a killer pun. “I can’t guarantee you will love Love Camp 7, but I can guarantee that you will love in Love Camp 7”. The Commandant is played joyously by exploitation icon Bob Cresse utilizing his best “Hogan’s Heroes” German accent. Frankly, if there is any redeeming factor in this film it’s Bob’s performance as the Commandant. After a series of humiliating scenes filled with shameful nudity and sadistic perversion, Linda ends up in the detention room. She identifies an exhausted woman on the floor as Grossman and attempts to earn her trust. Once their stories line up Linda lets Grossman in on the escape plan. Unfortunately a surprise visit from the new Acting Commander causes havoc for their escape plan. When the girls hear the signaling gunfire from the French resistance fighters all hell breaks loose.
Directed by Lee Frost (here as R.L. Frost), written by b-movie legend Bob Cresse, and produced by David F. Friedman ‘Love Camp 7’ has a trifecta of trash exploitation pioneers behind the camera. The three men alone were responsible for not only H.G. Lewis’ early gore flicks but also everything from ‘Mondo Bizarro’ to ‘The Thing With Two Heads’ and ‘The Black Gestapo’. The film looks incredibly cheap and is directed with little regard for anything but naked bodies. That’s the point, right? At least with Jess Franco’s WIP work he had an eye for production design and exotic locations. Roger Corman’s combination of exotic jungles and Pam Grier kept him in business for decades, too! ‘Love Camp 7’ is ostensibly an exploitation roughie due to the subdued nastiness and drawn out pacing to stretch together the degrading scenes. For the seasoned exploitation fan this is pretty tame stuff. Frost’s direction gives us a film that is constantly waiting for the next thrust of momentum to keep it going. Whether it’s the voice-over narration or the tedious intercutting of reaction shots from the officers, Frost is constantly working to cover up the film’s dead zones. Costuming is fairly bleak for the inmates, but the Nazi officer costumes which look phenomenal. Almost too good for this film! Sadly it’s the cheap b-movie sets and poor lighting/camera work that bring the film’s quality way down (outside of all the sleazy sex and humiliation) to almost laughable levels.
As was the staple of 60’s sexploitation the actual sex is completely innocuous. It’s mostly face sucking and breast groping that make it to the screen along with the victim’s miserable expressions during the ordeal. It probably didn’t take much direction for the women to act disgusted on set. Even the physical torture isn’t as extreme as what would follow in subsequent films like ‘SS Experiment Love Camp’, and ‘Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS’. Ironically the Nazis officers are met with the most graphic violence in the film which is still somewhat comically executed. I’ll admit that some of the intense torture scenes are tough to watch on the first viewing. However, most of this distasteful content comes off as downright tacky. The awful accents on the actors and the exaggerated reactions keep them far from believable. Those familiar with exploitation cinema shouldn’t have a problem watching ‘Love Camp 7’ but if you are unschooled in these types of movies I suggest you steer clear. I had a great time rewatching ‘Love Camp 7’ and if Blue Underground, or any other label, wishes to delve further into the Nazisploitation catalog with similar results I’d be happy to see them on my shelves.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
‘Love Camp 7’ whips onto Blu-ray in a two disc Blu-ray and DVD set thanks to Blue Underground. Pressed onto an All Region Blu-ray and DVD the discs are housed in a clear Criterion-style Blu-ray case with reversible artwork and booklet. The disc loads the Blue Underground logo before arriving on the animated Main Menu screen.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Naturally I was expecting the Blu-ray leap for ‘Love Camp 7’ to be an unspectacular DVD transfer from a Something Weird archive disc without much restoration. Frankly, no one expected such an impressive HD debut for this film! Blue Underground’s 1080p 1.66:1 aspect ratio Blu-ray presentation is a brand new 4k restoration from the original camera negative. The transfer is clean with deep black levels throughout the feature. Skin tones are even with tight grain levels and fine detail. Textures are apparent in clothing and skin. Colors pop when the scene provides something outside of the bland palette of grays and browns. Film grain is present with some DNR smoothing apparent at times.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
Nazithon: Decadence and Destruction: (HD 80:00) A feature length Nazisploitation clip show directed by Charles Band and hosted by Michelle “Bombshell” McGee. If you’re unfamiliar with this unique subgenre of film start here.
Theatrical Trailer: (HD 8:00)
Poster & Still Gallery: 118 Images
Reversible Cover Art
DVD Copy of the Film
Collectible Booklet: ‘The History of Nazi-Exploitation’ by Paolo Zelati
The combination of Nazi S&M-style brutality, distasteful sexual imagery, and the pedigree behind the production helped carry the legacy of ‘Love Camp 7’ far beyond the confines of the Video Nasties list. Revisiting the film was an entertaining experience for me and this release from Blue Underground will undoubtedly please other fans of the film. It’s remarkable visual restoration, respectable audio presentation, and special features make this Blu-ray a no-brainer for the cult collector in your life. Recommended for fans only please!
- NAZITHON: DECADENCE AND DESTRUCTION
- Theatrical Trailer
- Poster & Still Gallery
- BONUS Collectable Booklet featuring The History Of Nazi-Exploitation by Paolo Zelati
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