Released by: Blue Underground
Released on: January 31st, 2017.
Director: Lee Frost
Cast: Bob Cresse, Maria Lease, Kathy Williams, John Alderman
Year: 1969 Purchase From Amazon
Really the first of its kind, Lee Frost’s 1969 Nazisploitation trash epic Love Camp 7, co-produced by none other than the mighty monarch of exploitation David Friedman, may not be high art but it deficiently accomplishes what it sets out to do. And what would that be? Get theater goers into seats to revel in pretty girls engaged in softcore sex and moderate degradation at the hands of a bunch of deviant Nazi officers!
Purported to be based on a true story (it was not), the film is set during the Second World War and takes place in a Nazi ‘Love Camp’ – setup so that high ranking German officers alongside a few lucky grunts can relax and unwind in the company and at the expense of some beautiful Jewish female prisoners of war. Into this world come two female American undercover agents, WAC Lieutenants Linda Harman and Grace Freeman (played by Maria Lease and Kathy Williams respectively). Why? Well, they’ve volunteered for this mission in hope of finding Dr. Martha Grossman, a scientist whose brilliant mind may hold the mysteries of a jet propulsion system that the allies want to finalize in hopes of using it against the Third Reich.
Our two heroines soon question their choice when they come under the iron boot of the camp’s Commandant (Bob Cresse), a sadistic and perverted lecher of a man with a penchant for cruelty and an eye for young female flesh. But of course, the ladies in question don’t intend on staying there too long – but will they escape with their lives before their bodies are broken?
“A Place of Total Despair. All the youthful beauty of Europe enslaved for the pleasure of the 3rd Reich.”
An unapologetic exercise in cinematic bad taste, Love Camp 7 is pretty sleazy stuff even if it doesn’t hold a candle to some of the more extreme entries in the Nazisploitation cannon that Italian filmmakers would offer up in the years to come (or Friedman’s own Ilsa: She-Wolf Of The S.S., directed by Don Edmonds in 1975). It’s interesting to see who pops up in the movie, however. Not only is writer Cresse, a frequent Lee Frost co-conspirator, the main bad guy but Friedman himself pops up, playing a German officer named Colonel Max Kemp. It’s also interesting to see John Alderman (a regular in all manner of West Coast exploitation and porn from the sixties through to the eighties when he passed away), foxy Cathy Adams and pretty Shari Mann (credited as Shelly Martin) poking around the set .Wes Bishop and Lee Frost himself also pop up in small parts – Bishop as a Nazi officer and Frost as a cab driver.
As depraved as all of this gets – and it does get pretty depraved what with all the whipping and beatings and raping that occurs in the movie – it’s tough to take any of it all that seriously simply because it’s so obviously made by a bunch of Americans. No one in the picture can manage a German accent properly, some of them don’t even try, and while the uniforms are accurate enough and look pretty good, the camp itself doesn’t really look much like an actual camp at all. None of this stops Frost and company from trying, however.
Love Camp 7 debuts on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.66.1 widescreen. Taken from a new 4k scan of the ‘recently discovered original 35mm negative,’ the picture quality here is outstanding. Previously released by Something Weird Video on DVD-r (it was to originally have come out through their deal with Image until someone over there pulled the plug on that idea) from a full frame transfer culled from a source that their packaging also indicates was the 35mm negative (but which was actually a tape source), this minty fresh transfer offers massive improvements in pretty much every way you’d hope it would. Color reproduction is excellent, skin tones look lifelike and natural from start to finish. Black levels are spot on and there is nice contrast throughout. Detail and texture are really strong here as well, and there are no noticeable issues with any edge enhancement, noise reduction or compression artifacts.
The only audio option for the disc is an English language DTS-HD Mono track, with optional subtitles provided in English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, Swedish, Russian, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. Clarity of the track is quite good with easily discernable dialogue a constant and properly balanced levels noticeable throughout. There are no noticeable problems with any hiss or distortion and the score sounds quite decent here.
Extras start off with the inclusion of Full Moon Entertainment’s Nazithon: Decadence And Destruction. This is basically an eighty minute trailer/clip compilation hosted by a heavily tattooed ‘sinful sexpot Michelle ‘Bombshell’ McGee who is, for her role as hostess Frau Bombshell, all decked out in a Nazi uniform. There are a lot of great trailers here – Beast In Heat, the Ilsa movies, Mad Foxes, The Black Gestapo, Shock Waves, Zombie Lake and loads more – but the quality of the presentation is pretty dire and McGee isn’t much of an actress here. The dialogue in the bits between the trailers is corny and it’s really haphazardly put together by director Charles Band.
Outside of that the disc also includes the film’s original (and freakishly long at seven and a half minutes in length) theatrical trailer, a generous still gallery, animated menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release, a DVD version of the movie featuring and SD version of the film and the same extras, is also included. Also tucked away inside the clear Blu-ray case is a full color insert booklet containing an essay on the history of Nazisploitation pictures entitled The History Of Nazi-Exploitation written by Paolo Zelati that’s also nicely illustrated with loads of vintage poster art.
The Final Word:
Love Camp 7 is no masterpiece but it does deserve its place in the pantheons of trash cinema for kickstarting one of exploitation filmdom’s dirtiest and nastiest genres. Blue Underground really have polished this one up nicely for its worldwide Blu-ray debut, presenting the film in surprisingly gorgeous shape and with a few choice extras as well.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!