Ah, Lee Frost. Where would we aficionados of exploitation cinema be without you? These pages are a veritable tribute to Frost's output, from The Thing with Two Heads to A climax of Blue Power. From House on Bare Mountain to The Black Gestapo. Was this man some sort of twisted genius? Well, when you include the proto-Ilsa Nazi sexploitation film Love Camp Seven to the list, things are getting a little problematic and intense. While Love Camp doesn't reach the limits of sickness and vileness Ilsa does, it does boldly draw a line in the sand that didn't exist before, and say go over this one, I dare you. In addition, I haven't mentioned the presence of that actor's actor, Bob Cresse. The man is a formidable presence in any film, and put him in a Nazi uniform and you have a memorable view on your hands. Cresse contributed writing and producing credits to this one, so it must be a labour of love to some degree.
After some fake blood spilled over the opening credits of stills of women suffering, we start our proceedings in London, the present day (of 1969). An elderly London businessman is about to seal a deal with a boorish Texan when the American spots a war map in the Englishman's office. After some cajoling, the old Londoner agrees to tell the fascinating story behind the map. During the second world war, a German scientist had developed a new style of jet airplane. As the Nazis began to take over Europe and bombard England continually, the allies made contact with the scientist's assistant, Martha Grossman, who was sympathetic to the allied cause. Martha was sending information to allied spies when the old scientist died. As Martha was a Jew, her protection was removed and she was thrown into a concentration camp.
The allies now knew that Martha was trapped in a particular camp called Love Camp Seven, basically a brothel for high ranking Nazi officials. Ms. Grossman had essential information about the amazing new jet airplane that may win the war for the Nazis. The plan was to send two American Women's Army Corps officers in as undercover spies, make contact with Martha, memorise as much information about the jet as possible and hopefully bust them all out. The two beautiful WACs, Linda Harmon and Grace Freeman, appear and accept the insane task. Later, they meet up with resistance forces (one of whom is played by John Alderman of Erotic Adventures of Zorro fame) strip naked, dress in their peasant outfits and receive their fake Jewish identities. They're dropped into the enemy's area and soon captured as Jews.
Soon the two frightened women meet their Nazi captors, the hissingly evil Camp Commandant played with relish by Bob Cresse. After a fitting evil speech about the horrors of Love Camp Seven, during which one pregnant woman is dragged away from their ranks and beaten as not suitable, the women, of course, receive a power-hosing from the brutish guards, one of whom is played by Bruce Kimball from The Tormentors. This fellow's acting career must have been made on playing pudgy Nazis. Soon the slimy Commandant has them all dragged back to their quarters and the two new women are given a rough nude internal examination by a very butch-looking female doctor, with the required facial scar just to make her look even more nasty. Later, after this first ordeal, one of the prisoners tells - and shows - them the scars she received all over her body after refusing one of the officer's sexual requests.
Suddenly the guards bring in a disobedient prisoner and hang her by her hands over a sharp board as an example to the others. The Commandant bellows that if anyone helps, there will be a severe punishment for them. Linda gives her water but the Commandant has seen it through a window and brings the guards back in. They force all the women to strip nude, holding their buckets in the air in a mock Nazi salute. The Commandant whips Linda with his ever-present riding crop. The suspended women begs to be freed but the sadist won't let her off her trap. Later, the pudgy Bruce Kimball guard takes a shine to Linda while a more honourable-looking guard looks on disapprovingly at his animalistic advances. Later he makes love to Grace gently and humanely while Linda is brutishly raped by the Kimball-guard. All the sex scenes in this film are done with the men with their pants on, the women resolutely nude.
The "nice" guard requests a transfer, stating he wants to return to the real war and that the operations of the Camp are inhumane and unnecessary. The arrogant Commandant refuses, forcing him to work with the female scientist who is killing scores of women with unethical experiments, which we never see. The hung woman is cut down and made to lick the evil tyrant's boots. Grace finds out that Martha has been removed to a detention chamber elsewhere in the camp for disobedience. Women there are tortured and eventually sent back or to the gas chambers. Still, Linda has a plan to make contact with Martha.
When some high-ranking officals are sent in to use the girl's services, Linda rejects and slaps one of the slobbering old men, who are are all equally portrayed as animalistic, snarling brutes in the group sex scene. Of course she's given a nude, anaemic-looking flogging by the Kimball guard and thrown in with Martha Grossman. As both tied-up women try to help each other out, Linda eventually wins Martha's trust and explains who she really is. They form a plan to escape as well as exchange information. At the same time, a new area commander, General Erich Von Heinemann, (played by David F. Friedman himself) enters the camp and forces Cresse to pick up the camp's game. The women will wear lingerie and makeup. The rooms will be improved and an orgy will be held. The girls are made to stage a nude lesbian love-fest for the general. Martha and Linda are returned to the main group, and Linda is raped again by the Kimball guard as the nice guard and Grace look on. The nice guard attempts to defend Linda and attacks Kimball but is ineffective. Grace later tells him he should help them, but he claims he is firstly a soldier and must follow orders.
As Cresse and the General stage a drunken orgy, the signal comes in from resistance that the escape is about to be sprung. Grace confronts the soldier she's been trying to turn to the side of good. The General is shot through the head, Kimball stabbed through the neck and the Cresse-Commandant has a superb death-scene as he's blinded by a broken glass, staggering and sobbing over his shattered kingdom. As Cresse fires blindly, who will survive the hail of random bullets and escape to freedom, and who will meet their demise in Love Camp Seven?
First off, is the film an enjoyable example of cult cinema from a bygone era, or a detestable piece of offensive trash? Perhaps a bit of both. If you've seen Ilsa, for sheer violence and gore this one's a walk in the park in comparison. Still, it's nasty and surprisingly serious, except for Cresse's over-the-top performance. The beatings and whippings are fairly brief but we do get the point. The sex scenes are mainly rapes but as mentioned before, made almost demure by the clothed men. Again, we get the point though as the characters are obviously suffering. Technically the film's quite crude, with no real location shooting, just a few indoor sets and the odd outside wall or gate. Nonetheless, the tanks and uniforms do look real. The women are all quite beautiful, with poor Linda - no cast list folks, so I have no idea about actor/actress names - suffering the most of any of the prisoners. Grace certainly gets off easier, but you'll have see the end to see exactly what happens. Despire the fact that they spend most of the film naked, the actresses playing Grace and Linda and even the extras, put all they can into it, and are dead serious all through.
For sheer sleaze, nastiness and depravity, you don't need to go much further than Love Camp Seven. While not a hugely-populated genre, the Nazi sexploitation pantheon has this as one of its grandfathers, a true roughie in the Lee Frost/David Friedman tradition. Certainly not for the easily offended, though.
© Boris "I Know Nothing!" Lugosi, 2006.
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Review written: 05/29/2006 23:11:35