The Film (1/5)
Sometimes I feel like I’m the wrong guy to review certain things – Nazisploitation, for example. This stuff has never worked for me, because whether it’s slimy SS officers and/or Buchenwald bulldykes raping and torturing Jewish women… or icy Teutonic glamazons stabbing Allied prisoners in the peepee – there’s got to be a part of your brain that thinks being a Nazi is cool. That doesn’t work for me. Being a Nazi is never cool.
To review a work like this means I’ve got to code a workaround for all the Schutzstaffel shtuff – so I chose to view this film as a “Women in Prison” romp – which it kind of is, as Nazisploitation’s rules had yet to be defined in the face of this “historic” first attempt. Unfortunately, Love Camp 7 is a failure in this regard, lacking as it does any of the Three Ps – panache, personality, and Pam Grier – so crucial to the form.
The story is pretty simple, if twisted – two WAC officers volunteer to infiltrate a Nazi-run brothel to find a Jewish scientist forced into prostitution by the Reich. They then have five days to learn all they can from the woman and break her out. The “five days” thing seems to exist only to create opportunity for the women to be degraded, which does not happen frequently enough to satisfy the freaks and fetishists that would make up the film’s target audience, only to pad the film out to feature length.
The problems begin immediately, with the deathly serious setup that swears every single thing that happened in the film is actual documented fact (shockingly, it’s not). The screenplay is filled to bursting with dates and geography and analysis of German strategy and research, all conveyed in such a dry and serious fashion as to induce detached retina via eye roll.
Which is not to say you won’t have fun with the film; if you’re a drinking man, you and your friends might take a shot every time Bob Cresse’s commandant character says the words “Love… Camp… Seven.”
Please Note: You will die of alcohol poisoning during the film’s first act should you play this drinking game. Jason Pollock, EuroCultAV, the Chicago Cubs organization, and Major League Baseball are not responsible for injury or death.
And the filmmakers have this unintentionally hilarious penchant for Shaw Brothers-style speed zooms into images of Hitler every time something lurid is about to happen. Every time they did it, I imagined a high-pitched, shrieking Führer asking, “AND VASS DOO YOO, ZEE VIEWER IN ZUHAUSE, ZINK OFF ZISSE?!!” So there’s that, anyway.
There is one genuinely interesting narrative moment in the film, and it comes with the resolution of the picture’s “present-day” wraparound segment. I thought it was a surprisingly graceful touch for a movie as dumb as this one – even if it was telegraphed from six hundred miles away.
You have got to be kidding me.
Blue Underground has undertaken a restoration of this pile that is pretty much jaw-dropping. It doesn’t just look good for an ugly, low budget pile of crap – it looks good by any metric. I’m not going to bother to struggle to find any sort of fault with the film’s restoration – except perhaps to say that the clarity and cleanliness of the transfer serves to underline the film’s low budget shittiness – or did the walls of the camp always look like gray-painted plywood with some black rattle can spray-painted spots haphazardly misted about? And was the blood always red tempura paint?
There’s a remastered trailer, an interactive gallery featuring variations on the film’s poster art, a booklet with a Nazisploitation primer essay, and a really poorly-assembled clipshow (it feels for all the world like an interminable series of dawn-of-the-Internet webisodes, complete with glitched playback and dropped frames) licensed from Charlie Band called “Nazithon,” starring a super-rough looking fetish model-type I realized halfway through was the woman who killed Sandy Bullock’s marriage to that white trash biker dude. She has trouble cue-carding it. It’s painful, but filled with trailers.
Finally, I wonder – can it really be a two-disc special edition when one of those discs is a DVD I’ll never use? The answer there is “no” – but we get one anyway, in case you wanted to put it in your child’s backseat travel DVD player, I guess.
Please Note: Jason Pollock, EuroCultAV, its staff and ownership do not encourage sharing Love Camp 7 with your children. Try Salon Kitty instead. You can always tell people you thought it was about a lovable cartoon cat whose work as a hairstylist makes him the toast of the fashion world.
Overall, there’s not much to recommend in “Love… Camp… Seven.” Though it could be considered a curio, as it was the first film to play in this sandbox, it’s simultaneously tame and off-putting and cheap. Find yourself a copy of Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS instead – it’s insanely over-the-top and the gender politics are not quite as reprehensible – it’s easier to have a good time with a film like this when it’s centered on an icy demoness causing all the havoc.
At the same time, Blue Underground must absolutely be commended for the restoration undertaken here. If you’re into this sort of thing, you’ll never find better.