Director: Christian Anders
Exploitation Digital/Media Blasters

On a diplomatic visit to Greece, a United States senator and his blonde nymph daughter Patricia encounter the Children of Light, a strange commune of society outcasts and misfits who worship “The Divine One”, a mysterious sex goddess. Their source of income is having sex with any guy who enters their love temple, whose payments are considered contributions to the cause. Hypnotic blonde stud Dorian is the head recruiter for the love cult, targeting beautiful Patricia as their next inductee. But Patricia doesn’t know that the Divine One has a cruel streak, ruling over her subjects with an iron fist.

German renaissance man Christian Anders gathered a German crew, an Italian sex goddess and her husband, and flew to Greece to shoot this exotic sex-musical exploitation classic! Anders not only produced, wrote, and directed this monster, but also stars as ‘Dorian’ and composed the disco-rific musical score, including the instant classic “Love, Love, Love” title song. I dare you not to get addicted to this tune; somebody please release this soundtrack pronto! Anders rips plot devices from the headline-grabbing Jim Jones scandal; the cult members live in grass huts on the “Camp of Love”, dance endlessly to the theme song, practice karate, play brainwashing mind games and doff their duds as much as possible. In one unbelievable scene, a virgin girl is made into a woman during a violent sex ceremony, and drips blood onto the temple floors in the process!! There is in fact so much rampant nudity, outrageous musical numbers, and pulse-pounding borderline hardcore sex scenes that the film becomes a non-stop smorgasbord of bad taste and trashy brilliance. As with most low-budget ventures of European cinema, the dubbing is atrocious, but adds even more entertainment value with endless cheesy dialogue.

The sex scenes, most of which seem to have been added to the film at a later time or were possibly shot second-unit back in Germany (I recognized one male cast member from German sex comedies, but another was frequently in Greek sex films), are quite hot and very graphic, but thankfully don’t detract too much from the true star, Laura Gemser. Of all her films, LOVE CAMP is probably the best Gemser worship film…literally! Bow down and pay homage to the stunning goddess of love; Gemser’s sharp cheekbones, dazzling smile, and smooth perfect body are at the peak of their beauty in this film, and in a rare move, she gets to play the villainess, and seems to be loving every minute of it. She indulges in love scenes with her muscle bound, well-oiled servant Tanga (who reads bodybuilder magazines) and Veronica, her sadistic corn-rowed companion, rides a horse topless, flogs herself, is given a nude massage, orders deserters killed, almost drowns Dorian during wild beach sex, and plans an explosive surprise finale! Husband Gabriele Tinti appears as a cop posing as a love cult member, and of course gets to star in a sex scene with his lovely wife.

It’s strange that Media Blasters chose to title the disc DIVINE EMANUELLE, no doubt to cash in on their other successful discs with the EMANUELLE name, when the film is better-known on these shores as LOVE CAMP, which remains the onscreen title (fun fact: the original German title translates as THE DEATH GODDESS OF THE LOVE CAMP). But under any title, this DVD is worlds better than the atrocious VHS releases from the 80s. The transfer is clear and bright, with strong reds and greens, gorgeous skintones, and a minimal amount of grain during the opening credits and a few other spots. The Divine One’s garments are especially striking and well rendered. The U.S. tape suffered from an overly bright image, with everything appearing to be awash in white light, but that problem is nowhere to be seen here. Though it says in three places on the packaging that the film is presented in widescreen, the transfer is in fact fullscreen, but according to the disc producers, this seems to have been the original aspect ratio. Matting the film would have blocked off many instances of nudity and sex, and only a few shots (like crowd scenes) seem cropped. The mono English audio is the only option, and sounds fine. Atlas-International probably would have charged a higher price tag for the German language track, but it’s a pity it’s not included.

With Gemser still not granting interviews and Anders not being the easiest chap to get a hold of, the extras are limited, but there is a great selection of almost 30 minutes of deleted scenes to entice those who have heard the rumors of an alternate cut for German audiences. These scenes feature the title “ATLAS INTERNATIONAL sample only” superimposed over them, which is unusual. Presented in German language, this series of scenes includes extensions to the opening airport scene, Patricia seeing Dorian for the first time, and Dorian’s speech to a beach crowd; alternate angles of musical numbers and the final confrontation between Tanga and Dorian; additional dialogue between two gay cult members; a dinner table scene with the Divine One and her subjects; footage of a Greek street market; Dorian and Patricia driving to the Camp of Love; additional snippets of Gabriele Tinti witnessing the murder of a cult member (he is nowhere to be seen in the release version of this scene). The most interesting scene, completely excised out of most versions, is the Divine One’s ritual killing of a goat. In addition to these deleted scenes, an outtake reel without audio mainly consists of alternate takes with more Gemser nudity during her Tinti love scene and a lesbian scene. Capping off this deleted scenes section are outtakes from the promotional trailer (scenes which were meant to be included, but which weren’t, complete with musical soundtrack). A lengthy promotional trailer contains just about every highlight of the film, and makes great use of the incredible musical score, and a lengthy photo gallery includes international artwork, video sleeves, magazine covers and articles, newspaper stories (detailing Anders’ wild life after the film), and promotional stills. The disc is finished off with trailers for more Exploitation Digital releases, PORNO HOLOCAUST, YELLOW EMANUELLE, SS GIRLS, and SS HELL CAMP.
(Casey Scott)