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Love Camp – Frauen im Liebeslager (German Blu-Ray Review)

NOTE: Due to German censorship laws, the FSK has placed this blu-ray release on its index. That means that Ascot Elite is not permitted to advertise or sell it anywhere in Germany, including Amazon.de.

Readers who want to purchase this blu-ray and other German blu-rays that have been placed on the FSK index, can go to https://www.best-trade.de. You will have to register an account to verify your age.

Specs

Specs

Details

Director: Jess Franco
Cast: Nanda Van Bergen, Ada Tauler, Monica Swinn, Esther Studer, Brigitte Meyer
Year: 1977
Length: 79 min
Rating: FSK 18
Region: Free
Disks: 1
Label: Ascot Elite Home Entertainment
Release Date: Feb 25, 2014

Video

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Type: Color

Audio

Audio: German, English: DTS HD 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English, Japanese

Extras
  • German Trailer Collection
  • Image Gallery
  • Jess Franco Audio Interview

0m63Not to be confused with the Lee Frost Nazisploitation forerunner Love Camp 7 (1969), director Jess Franco added another title to his W.I.P cannon with this 1977 effort similarly titled, Love Camp. This was released the same year as some of Franco’s other Women in Prison features—Ilsa the Wicked Warden and Women in Cell Block 9. The film is now out on blu-ray as part of the Ascot Elite’s Jess Franco Golden Goya Collection.

The Film

Women in prison films were the perfect fit for director Jess Franco—the play on Sadian themes they offer, slotting ever so nicely in with the director’s penchant for stories based on power play and his obvious love of nudity. Franco would embark on a cycle of such films—kicking off with the memorable 99 Women (1969)—incidentally a title widely credited as one of the first W.I.P styled exploitation films—he would continue this trend with a number of similarly themed films that spanned the seventies. Although the director was well-known for his regular re-imagining of the same stories, over and over, if we consider Franco’s Women in Prison films as a whole—though they do carry the same central story arcs to some degree—each one has its own distinct personality. With Love Camp, the director delivers the ‘love’ aspect with a capital ‘L.’ Franco, choosing to move away from traditional W.I.P elements such as torture and graphic violence, instead delivers something that could be considered a fairly conventional sexploitation piece—one that just so happens to be set in a women’s jail.

Jess Franco's Love Camp - Frauen im Liebeslager (1977) [click to enlarge]

Jess Franco’s Love Camp – Frauen im Liebeslager (1977) [click to enlarge]

Referring back to Frost’s Love Camp 7 (1969), the fact that the films share similar titles is not the only common thread. What Franco has constructed here is a film that does appear to borrow some of the central facets of Love Camp 7. The original 1969 film—one of the first Nazisploitation films—features a set of women confined to a prison to sexually serve German officers. With Love Camp, Franco ditches the Nazi subtext and places his prisoners in a camp designed as a forced brothel for soldiers serving a revolution in South America. Love Camp 7 offers a small glimpse of ‘romance’ with a German soldier apparently having feelings for one of the girls—Franco takes that aspect and goes full on out to deliver his story with a somewhat bewildering love triangle plot. This is where the similarity ends, with the 1969 forerunner being much more mean spirited in its approach of delivering gritty and nasty themes. In contrast, Franco dampens down his piece into something much more erotically charged, above all else. Those seeking more conventional W.I.P films may find themselves disappointed, as Love Camp lacks graphic violence on screen.

Jess Franco's Love Camp - Frauen im Liebeslager (1977) [click to enlarge]

Jess Franco’s Love Camp – Frauen im Liebeslager (1977) [click to enlarge]

Love Camp 7 does not to appear to be the only inspiration for this 1977 feature, as there is also a similarity with the Ilsa series of films—of which Franco directed Ilsa The Wicked Warden in the same year as this effort. The commonality being that the main warden of Love Camp is named Isla—a ravenous and power hungry lesbian figure who attempts to seduce the inmates and has obviously been fashioned in some part on the Ilsa character. Again, the sex-fueled plot line here interrupts any concerted effort to make this film too similar to anything in the Ilsa series, and therefore provides more of a flavor of those pieces than a fully-fledged copy.

Jess Franco's Love Camp - Frauen im Liebeslager (1977) [click to enlarge]

Jess Franco’s Love Camp – Frauen im Liebeslager (1977) [click to enlarge]

Ada Tauler, as Angela Delaine, takes center stage in a role that sees her donned only in a bridal petticoat and little else, when she is snatched on her wedding night by guards wanting candidates for the revolutionary brothel. Angela is marched off through the forest, topless, and placed in a holding cell with a group of girls who are informed they must serve the sexual needs of the soldiers fighting for the cause. Head warden Isla (Nanda Van Bergen) is explicit in what will happen to those who do not conform—which involves an off camera decapitation—although most of the girls seem to need little encouragement. In what appears to be an extreme form of Stockholm Syndrome many of the female inmates are only too happy to serve. Monica Swinn appears as a lustful lesbian inmate Maria—an actress who was on the other side of the bars, but no less lustful, in Franco’s Barbed Wire Dolls; seen here without the monocle she got to wear in the aforementioned flick, and also little in the way of clothes. Nanda Van Bergen as Isla hams it up with a steely eyed glare, but is little match for her namesake Ilsa—coming off as a slightly weaker rendition of the power crazed governess portrayed by Dyanne Thorne in the notorious original series. The most curious aspect of the plot is delivered in the warped love story between Angela and high commanding soldier Chino Da Guerra (Wal Davis). The two develop feelings for each other, over a number of sexual encounters, as Chino is unable to resist the charms of the enigmatic Angela, while Angela is swayed by Chino’s talents in the bedroom/hammock/ floor.

Jess Franco's Love Camp - Frauen im Liebeslager (1977) [click to enlarge]

Jess Franco’s Love Camp – Frauen im Liebeslager (1977) [click to enlarge]

Video

This seems to be a common statement with most of the titles in the Golden Goya Collection, but yet again this is a flawless release, providing a slick, high definition upgrade onto Blu-Ray without overly digitizing the result. Colors are natural; detail is bold. The cinematic feel of celluloid is retained—this is a film that does not present as heavy of grain, but it definitely is there. All in all, this is another fantastic transfer of an Ascot Elite Franco film onto Blu-Ray and one which is sure to delight fans of the director.

Audio

Again as with the print, care has been taken to retain the original quality of the elements, and the sound is presented as faithfully as possibly to the original feature. On offer are the following audio tracks: German Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 2.0. There are English and Japanese subtitles. There do not appear to be any age related issues with the sound or any other noteworthy flaws.

Jess Franco's Love Camp - Frauen im Liebeslager (1977) [click to enlarge]

Jess Franco’s Love Camp – Frauen im Liebeslager (1977) [click to enlarge]

Extras

Limited on extras, this release includes a set of German trailers to the other films available in the Jess Franco Golden Goya Collection, a French language audio interview with director Franco, a gallery of Love Camp stills, and an original theatrical trailer for the main feature.

Bottom Line

For those hankering for the more explicit violence that some W.I.P films have to offer, it will not be found here. However, Love Camp is a film that leaves little to the imagination in other ways, and one has to admire the brazen approach of director Franco in delivering the sleaze. The film may not hit the gratuitous highs of Franco’s other effort made the same year, (Women in Cell Block 9 (1977), a film still banned in the UK), but for a straight up piece of Euro styled sexploitation—with a nudity count of about 90% of the running time—if that is what you are looking for, you could do a lot worse than Love Camp. Ascot Elite again delivers a fantastic transfer to blu-ray, for fans of the director this is surely good news.

NOTE: Due to German censorship laws, the FSK has placed this blu-ray release on its index. That means that Ascot Elite is not permitted to advertise or sell it anywhere in Germany, including Amazon.de.

Readers who want to purchase this blu-ray and other German blu-rays that have been placed on the FSK index, can go to https://www.best-trade.de. You will have to register an account to verify your age.

Details Director: Jess Franco Cast: Nanda Van Bergen, Ada Tauler, Monica Swinn, Esther Studer, Brigitte Meyer Year: 1977 Length: 79 min Rating: FSK 18 Region:…

Review Overview

Film
Video
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Bottom Line

User Rating: 2.95 ( 1 votes)

About Kat Ellinger

Kat Ellinger is the Editor-in-Chief at Diabolique Magazine, and the co-host of their Daughters of Darkness and Hell's Belles podcasts. She has also written for BFI, Senses of Cinema, Fangoria and Scream Magazine, and provided various home video supplements, commentary, liner notes, on camera interviews and audio essays, for a number of companies including Arrow Films, Kino Lorber, Indicator, Second Run and Cult Films. Kat is the author of Daughters of Darkness (Devil's Advocates, Auteur), and All the Colours of Sergio Martino (Arrow Films).

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