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Frauen im Liebeslager (1977)

Love Camp

They are all taken - Bride - Prostitute - Girl Friends - to the Love Camp.

Starring:

Ada Tauler

Brigitte Meyer

Esther Studer

Ingrid Kehr

Monica Swinn

Monika Kälin

Muriel Montossé

Nanda van Bergen

Wal Davis

Wolfgang Wohlfahrt

Directed by:

Jess Franco

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 74 minutes

UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: Spain

In an unnamed South American country, a rebel army known as the 'Independent Revolutionary Front' kidnaps nubile young women and forces them into sexual service as comfort women to its soldiers. One such woman, Angela (Ada Tauler) is abducted on her wedding night, and quickly attracts the attention of Gino da Guerra (Wal Davis), the rebels' legendary leader, who wishes to keep her for himself and make her the heroine of the revolution. Unfortunately the love camp's commandant (Nanda van Bergen), an ambitious and ruthless lesbian who is partial to the occasional decapitation, has her eyes on both Gino's power and his lover, while Angela is confused as to whether it is her tender husband or the rugged Gino that she desires more.

To judge by its title, 'Love Camp' ought to be another tasteless sexploitation film set in Nazi concentration camps, like 'Love Camp 7' (1969), 'SS Experiment Love Camp' (1976) or 'SS Extermination Love Camp' (1977). Well, it is unquestionably tasteless, but at least its setting is far removed from the understandable sensitivities of Holocaust survivors. 'Love Camp' is the only one of art-sleaze auteur Jess Franco's many women-in-prison films to have been written by exploitation producer Erwin C. Dietrich (regarded as Europe's answer to Roger Corman) rather than by Franco himself, and one cannot help feeling that Franco has been pressed, like the film's female inmates, into service, with Dietrich exploiting Franco's talents to his own ends. For while on the surface, 'Love Camp' looks just like any other Franco women-in-prison film (it is even filmed on the same set, and in the same year, as 'Ilsa, the Wicked Warden'), the brutal powerbrokers in Franco's scripts are always me mbers of rightist regimes, whereas Dietrich's sadists are leftist revolutionaries whose ideals are called into question. And while Franco's scripts have always included their fair share of female nudity and sex, any titillating effect is always undercut by the unpleasant co-presence of depraved cruelty – whereas 'Love Camp' tilts the balance far more in favour of pure tits-and-ass, and underplays any nastiness, even going so far as to have one of its characters complain not because she is being raped, but because, as a virgin, she is having difficulty achieving orgasm. Indeed, Angela's tortured relationship with Gino hinges upon the misogynistic notion – common in 1970s exploitation cinema, but very rare in the films of Franco – that deepdown, women actually enjoy being raped.

In short, 'Love Camp' is one of Franco's campest prison flicks, but also one of his least substantial, and with a reactionary political agenda that seems to have been foisted upon the director by his producer/screenwriter. Still, all this can perhaps be forgiven once you have seen (and heard) the commandant's pet parrot (called Laura), which every so often, like some demented chorus of the film's unconscious, exclaims “All sluts!” or “Damn whores!”.

It's Got: Endless nudity (even the camp guards patrol topless), a parrot that spouts misogyny, a woman masturbating with a cigar, another deflowered with the end of a riding crop, and lines like "the man chapter of my life is over" and "You dont know what its like after all Ive been missing to have a hot mare like you".

It Needs: To get in touch with the 1970s womens lib movement - and (if youll excuse the contradiction here) not to be cut.

DVD Extras Option of English or German (with English subtitles); scene selection; bios and partial filmographies of producer/screenwriter Erwin C. Dietrich and director Jess Franco, and filmographies of actors Ada Tauler (whose collaborations with Franco go back to his first feature film, Tenemos 18 años, from 1959), Monica Swinn, Esther Studer and Wal Davis; 20 production stills; gallery of original posters for 15 of Dietrichs softporn productions; trailer reel of Franco/Dietrich films (Blue Rita, Ilsa, the Wicked Warden, Jack the Ripper, Barbed Wire Dolls, Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun); a 17-minute documentary on the digital transfer and restoration of the films in The Official Jess Franco Collection, focussing on Jack the Ripper. DVD Extras Rating: 4/10

Alternatives:

99 Women, Barbed Wire Dolls, Hellhole Women, Ilsa the Wicked Warden, Island Women, Sadomania, Women in Cellblock 9

Summary

Fleshy female forced fornication flick is hardly Franco's best, but definitely as camp as the title suggests.

Image Gallery

Love Camp - Anchor Bay DVD Cover click for full size image Love Camp - Movie Still click for full size image
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