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During the darkest days of World War II, two young American WAC officers volunteer to infiltrate a depraved Nazi Love Camp on a desperate rescue mission. Once inside, they are subjected to unspeakable indignities and horrifying humiliations at the hands of their sadistic captors. Can they survive these sick degradations and perverted orgies long enough to complete their objective and escape with their lives – and bodies – intact? (From Blue Underground’s official synopsis)

 Love Camp 7
Few things in this world are as patently offensive as the Third Reich’s “final solution” and the concentration camps Hitler’s goons had concocted in order to systematically murder millions of people. As such, it’s not surprising that there’d be a grindhouse subgenre devoted to these particular historical atrocities. ‘Popular’ Nazisploitation sprung from reputable movies, like Liliana Cavani’s The Night Porter (1974), but, before that, there were the disreputable roots of Joseph P. Mawra’s S&M-centered Olga trilogy – Olga’s Girls (1964), White Slaves of Chinatown (1964), and Olga’s House of Shame (1964) – as well as the more generalized Women-In-Prison (aka: WIP) movies. As is often the case, the most distasteful entries tended to be helmed by Italian filmmakers, such as Luigi Batzella’s SS Hell Camp (aka: The Beast in Heat, 1977), in which a toothy and hairy Salvatore Baccaro played a pubic-hair-eating mutant under the control of SS scientists, as well as Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1970) and Cesare Canevari’s The Gestapo’s Last Orgy (1977), which were famously controversial arthouse fare (this Italian genre collection is sometimes referred to as the sadiconazista, or the “Nazi sadisti” cycle). Meanwhile, Don Edmonds’ Canadian-made Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1975) and its sequels/rip-offs defined the genre for most audiences world-wide.

Before the genre had an official moniker, Ilsa producer David F. Friedman (a one-time US Army Signal Corps member who was tasked with shooting footage of Nazi war crimes) and director Lee Frost first connected Nazi concentration camps with WIP movies. That film, Love Camp 7 (not to be confused with Sergio Garrone’s SS Experiment Love Camp, 1976; Mario Caiano’s Nazi Love Camp 27, 1977; or Jess Franco’s Love Camp, 1977) became, arguably, the prototypical Naziploitation film. Like the Olga films, Love Camp 7 is a kinky, post-’nudie cutie’ sexploitation movie first and a disturbing spectacle second, which means it rarely touches the grotesque extremes of the films that followed (the late ‘60s release also ensures that the film adhered to certain censorship standards). The context is patently offensive, but the Nazi threat is secondary to frivolous titillation – itself a vestige of the ‘50s ‘Varietease’ and bondage burlesque shows. Most of these scenes are actually pretty quaint in their lack of atrocity. Women are sprayed with a low-pressure garden hose, tied up into compromising positions, and playfully whipped. It’s not all fun and games, though. the ‘seat of honor’ sequence, in which a woman is hung by her arms above a plywood wedge in front of the other prisoners, implies a disturbing idea without really portraying it and there are a number of icky, elongated, dry-hump sessions that stand in for rape scenes.

 Love Camp 7
Frost (aka: R.L. Frost, Elov Peterssons, Leoni Valentino, Carl Borch, Robert Lee, and many more) spent most of his career specializing in softcore sex movies of various genre designations. Besides setting the Nazisploitation precedent, he made the hixploitation sex slave movie The Defilers (1965), two faux travelogue mockumentaries ( Mondo Bizarro and   Mondo Freudo, both 1966), a crueler W.I.P. movie in Chain Gang Women (1971), and even lent his Third Reich-isms to the blaxploitation for his magnum opus, The Black Gestapo (1975). Love Camp 7 is not one of his better technical achievements. His compositions are lifeless and flat, his camera clumsily dips and jerks off-center, as if slipping off of the tripod, and his strictly utilitarian framing and editing techniques sort of make the whole movie feel like a mid-’60s sitcom. Some of this is clearly a budgetary issue, as the same three or four sets appear to have been redressed and reused for literally every interior shot, but plenty of it is good, old-fashioned laziness, coupled with the fact that the filmmakers had to extend about 45 minutes of movie into 96 minutes. In the end, these Herschell Gordon Lewis-like aesthetics, alongside a legion of delightfully stilted performances and relative lack of grotesque content, eases the bitter pill of Love Camp 7’s Nazisploitation themes, making it a worthy addition to any ‘party movie’ catalogue and a gateway drug to more excessive and sometimes elegant delights.

 Love Camp 7

Video


Before this Blu-ray debut, Love Camp 7 was hard to find on home video. Video Nasty completists had the option to unload hundreds of dollars for a copy of Market Video’s clamshell PAL VHS or somewhat less for Abbey Video’s similarly rare NTSC tape. As far as I can tell, there was never a US DVD version – only OOP, non-anamorphic (1.33:1) discs from DVD Classics in the UK and Something Weird in Australia (there seems to have been a SW VHS in the US, but I’m not sure if it was ‘official’). Blue Underground’s 1080p, 1.66:1 Blu-ray Combo Pack (including DVD) is the first stateside release of its kind and remastered in 4K from rediscovered negative sources, to boot. The results are impressive, considering the film’s age and its scarcity. The print is relatively clean, aside from inherent grain, which is pretty well-maintained, and the occasional white dot. There are hints of DNR waxing and scanner machine noise, but also plenty of texture and naturally roughened gradients. Details are consistently as tight as the material will allow, especially in terms of elemental separation. The palette is mostly made up of neutral skin tones, gray walls, and brown uniforms – all artefacts of the low-budget and period setting – and these remain consistent throughout the entire film. The one exception is, of course, the vivid reds of omnipresent Nazi flags and blood, which are punchy without being artificially bright. Compression artefacts, such as low-level blocking, are present, but not prevalent.

Audio


The original mono audio is presented in uncompressed DTS-HD Master Audio sound. The mix is problematic, but all of the issues seem to be inherent in the material. Besides the obvious cramping and flattening from the sound being confined by a single channel, the production seems to have had trouble with their recording equipment as well, leading to inconsistent dialogue levels and awkward DNR insertions. Blue Underground has done its best to create a clear and even track, and the lack of compression certainly helps by mitigating compression. There is no credited composer, but loads of soundtrack music, so I assume Frost employed pre-composed library tunes. This score is mixed low compared to the dialogue and has a pleasantly warmth, despite its condensed sound quality.

 Love Camp 7

Extras


  • Nazithon: Decadence and Destruction (1:19:55, SD, 2013) – This feature-length Nazisploitation “documentary” is directed by Full Moon head honcho, Charles Band, and hosted by Michelle "Bombshell" McGee. Unfortunately, it's not a historical exploration of the genre, rather, it’s a trailer clip show that includes footage from Love Camp 7, Sergio Garrone’s SS Camp 5: Women’s Hell (1977), Rino Di Silvestro’s Deported Women of the SS Special Section (1976), Bruno Mattei’s Private House of the SS Girls (1977), Tinto Brass’ Salon Kitty (1976), Luchino Visconti’s The Damned (1969), Erwin C. Dietrich’s She Devils of the SS (1973), David L. Hewitt’s The Tormentors (1971), Paul Grau’s Mad Foxes (1981), Al Adamson’s Hell's Bloody Devils (1970), Ken Wiederhorn’s Shock Waves (1977), Richard E. Cunha’s She Demons (1958), Jean Rollin’s Zombie Lake (1981), Jess Franco’s Oasis of the Zombies (1982), Joel M. Reed’s Night of the Zombies (1981), Joel M. Reed’s Death Ship (1980), and the aforementioned Black Gestapo, SS Hell Camp, SS Experiment Love Camp, Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS and its sequels/rip-offs – Edmonds’ Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976), Jess Franco’s Wanda, the Wicked Warden (1977), Patrice Rhomm’s Fraulein Devil (1977), and Jean LaFleur’s Ilsa the Tigress of Siberia (1977). For some reason, the frame rate is quite jittery.
  • Trailer
  • Poster and still gallery


 Love Camp 7

Overall


Love Camp 7 wasn’t quite the first Nazisploitation movie, but it was a vital stepping stone on the road to more blatantly offensive productions. Its cheap, cheezy, and ultimate pretty innocuous softcore aesthetic might even endear it to non-genre enthusiasts. Stoll, there is an awful lot of filler to contend with, as often happens with low budget exploitation. At the very least, the climax is incredibly satisfying. Blue Underground’s new Blu-ray isn’t perfect, but is a big upgrade over the OOP DVDs. I’m disappointed that the key extra, Nazithon: Decadence and Destruction, isn’t actually a documentary on the genre, but it’s still nice to have a trailer compilation.

 Love Camp 7

 Love Camp 7
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.


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