Thursday, January 26, 2017

LOVE CAMP 7 (Blu-Ray Review) - Blue Underground

Directed By: Lee Frost
Written By: Bob Cresse
Starring: Bob Cresse, Maria Lease, Kathy Williams
Color/96 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Limited Edition

The Film
During WWII two officers of the Women's Army Corps volunteer to go undercover as Jewish prisoners of the SS to infiltrate a Nazi love camp on a rescue mission. Once they arrive they're subjected to beatings, degradations, forced sexual encounters among other tortures that they must try to endure long enough for the Allied Forces to set up their attack on the camp and allow the women to complete their objective and escape with their lives.

Director Lee Frost helps kickstart the Nazisploitation genre that would explode in the 70s with what is perhaps the first sexploitation driven film of the genre. LOVE CAMP 7 is a good example of what to expect from the genre; despicable Nazis, nude women, and various forms of torture. Later films would get sleazier and weirder adding in nastier rape scenes, bestiality and twisted medical experiments as each film tried to outdo the last. Don't sell LOVE CAMP 7 short because it is quite a brutal film that will leave an impression on you and get your blood boiling and ready for the Nazis to get their comeuppance. And that is the driving factor behind these films. We endure, perhaps not completely out of disgust because exploitation films remain entertaining even when they're not the prettiest thing in the world, but we can justify the horrors and atrocities our victims go through to watch them get their revenge.

Similar to the films that would follow, LOVE CAMP 7 has a thin plot that is little more than a silver platter to serve up scenes of torture, nudity and violence. The difference with LOVE CAMP 7 is that it really is a quality production. Lee Frost's direction is solid and at times stylishly gritty, getting right into the face of the brutality. The film largely takes place in only the Commandant's office and the girl's dorm room but Frost makes the film feel bigger than it really is by constantly moving around these two areas and using different angles on them for different scenes. The finale in the Commandant's office is especially well done and makes that particular room feel doubled in size. Frost also benefits from a more than capable cast that bravely puts themselves through embarrassing scenes and moments while giving performances that I never once questioned the validity of. Maria Lease and Kathy Williams are both gold as the undercover officers and get my utmost respect and praise.

If there's a fault in the film it's that the attack on the camp and the escape are low rent and obviously hampered by a small budget. The attack is little more than a few soliders hiding in bushes and firing towards the camera through some barbed wire. We never see anything approaching a big or grandiose battle which would have not only added that extra level of excitement but would have also been another way that Lee Frost made the film look and feel bigger than it really is. Does it hurt the film? Perhaps, but it certainly doesn't make it a failure. Not even close. LOVE CAMP 7 is a really good exploitation film and it's easy to see why other producers and directors took this film and ran with the concept in creating what we think of today when talking about the nazisploitation genre.

The Audio & Video
Blue Underground has given LOVE CAMP 7 a new 4K restoration from the original camera negatives which looks stunning. The 1.66:1 aspect ratio maintains the films original aspect ratio and has incredible detail, highly noticeable in the fabrics of the Nazi uniforms and in other surfaces and textures such as a wooden torture device. Colors are vivid but natural and match the dreary and overcast look and feel to the film. Skin tones are healthy and fleshy which look so good you almost think you can reach out and touch them. The picture has a light film like grain structure that makes it look like a pristine 35mm presentation.

The English audio is presented in a DTS-HD Mono track that is wonderfully crisp and clear with no background noise, distortions, hiccups or other imperfections. It's a simple mix but of the highest quality. There are optional English SDH subtitles and a slew of other language subs as well.

Please note: Screen grabs taken from DVD version of the film and do not represent the Blu-ray quality.

The Extras
-NAZITHON: DECADENCE AND DESTRUCTION - An 80 minute clip show/highlight reel of the nazisploitation genre previously released on DVD by Full Moon.
-Theatrical trailer
-Poster and still gallery
-Booklet featuring "The History of Nazi-Exploitation" by Paolo Zelati

The Bottom Line
Nazisploitation isn't a genre for everyone but LOVE CAMP 7 is exactly how these films should be presented on Blu-ray. I wholeheartedly recommend this release for anyone with even the slightest interest in the film or genre.

LOVE CAMP 7 is available HERE

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