For fans of Italian Nazi flicks (and who isn’t? OK, so there’s just a depraved handful of us), one company has come to the front of the line for quality swastika sleaze: Media Blasters’ Exploitation Digital. Those of us who rented crummy-looking VHS tapes of this sort back in the era of the “ma and pa” rental shops have come a long way, and now can own Exploitation Digital’s superb looking DVDs of ELSA: FRAULEIN DEVIL, SS HELL CAMP, SS GIRLS and now, Sergio Garrone’s SS EXPERIMENT LOVE CAMP.
Yet another entry from our friends in Italy that borrows from our own grindhouse hit, ILSA: SHE WOLF OF THE SS, its plain and simply irresistible trash if you like this sort of thing. Garrone (who seems to have done more of these than anyone) commences his film with imprisoned women being forced to pledge allegiance to the Fuher (by electrocution) and those who oppose are strolled out nude and burned alive (superimposed flames) in a gas chamber. During the credits, and to no one’s surprise, a shipment of pretty young ladies is driven in and pointed directly to the showers for a scene that you thought was only obligatory in women-in-prison films.
Anyway, the experiments involve a group of carefully selected German soldier studs, who are matched up with the females to have sex (some of them are lucky enough to do it underwater in a glass tank), all in the name of Germany! If that wasn’t enough, these soldiers (who converse in their barracks as if they were in a Brooklyn locker room) go to a nearby bordello to make it with more woman and drink pints and pints of beer. One of the commanders (who is bald and sports a cheek scar that resembles a dash of lipstick) deflowers a feeble blond brothel girl, and she retaliates with a rather large meat fork. She is then hanged upside-down outside the barracks, bleeding to death and made an example for any other prisoner who has any smart-ass ideas. The image of the girl’s bloody body hanging upside-down was used on some of the various video covers around the world.
Some of the torture includes more electrocutions, and a woman being placed in said glass tank and frozen to death, as the Nazis maneuver a control apparatus that looks like it was built by a 2nd grader. There’s a lesbian Fraulein Doctor (her dubbed voice makes her sound like Wilma Flintstone) who forms a kinky relationship with one of the lady prisoners, and there's a sympathetic doctor who is actually a Jewish refugee. The central, underlying plot concerns a young, nice-guy Nazi named Helmut who has a conscious, and he falls madly in love with one of the guinea pig girls. Unfortunately, he is tricked into an experiment that has his “sacks” being transplanted to those of a Colonel (Giorgio Cerioni, and tell me this guy is not a dead ringer for Ron Ely, the 60s TV “Tarzan” and star of DOC SAVAGE MAN OF BRONZE!) who apparently had his bitten off in a village raid years earlier! Ouch! After the poor Helmut tries to make love to his woman to no avail (she responds with, “Sometimes these things happen.”), he runs out screaming to the Colonel, “How ya doing with my balls?!” Some graphic violence (obviously!), the silly lesbian scenes and tons of female nudity highlight this lower-tier Nazi nonsense. The film is also noteworthy for being one of the titles banned by the UK government as a "video nasty."
Anyone (like me) who bought Substance’s barebones DVD (which apparently utilized an old full frame VHS transfer, complete with grain, washed out colors and tape dropouts) can trash that in favor of Exploitation Digital’s excellent official release. No longer viewed in cropped form, it’s presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer with its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The image is sharp and looks very pleasing, with vivid, nicely saturated colors and natural fleshtones. There are only a few visible defects in the source print, mainly in the opening moments. The English dubbed audio track is not the most profound you’ll ever hear, but it gets the job done, with dialog coming out fine, and sound effects and the synth music score never being too overpowering.
Exploitation Digital has supplied this release with a video interview from director Garrone, in Italian with English subtitles. Brief and to the point, Garrone seems really serious about the horrors of Nazi Germany, claiming he did a lot of research for the film. He goes on to tell about the special effects during the transplant scene, that some of the movie was shot at a stable owned by Mussolini, and that some of the more sexually explicit scenes may have been shot by another director and added without his knowing it! There’s also the original trailer (which contains the same music heard in THE DEVIL’S WEDDING NIGHT), a brief photo gallery, and trailers for other Exploitation Digital DVD releases. (George R. Reis)
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