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Film Review: SS Experiment Love Camp (1976)

SYNOPSIS:

Near the end of WW2, prisoners of war are used in experiments to perfect the Arian race.

REVIEW:

Just because a movie is labeled “exploitation” or put on the Video Nasties list doesn’t necessarily mean it will blow your mind or offend you or even hold your interest. Case in point, Sergio Garrone’s 1976 entry to the Nazisploitation canon, SS Experiment Love Camp. Here’s a movie by the same people who released SS Camp 5: Women’s Hell, a particularly nasty entry to the women in prison/Nazisploitation list less than a year later, a movie full of gratuitous nudity and sex and torture and violence of all kinds. You’d expect some of the same, but somehow it comes across as one of the more bland films of the subgenre. Maybe I’ve simply seen too many of these, or have my expectations set too high, but I found myself wishing this movie was over somewhere around the halfway point.

SS Experiment Love Camp is directed by Sergio Garrone (Italian director of the afore- mentioned SS Camp 5 as well as a couple of the Django installments) and written by Garrone, Sergio Chiusi (writer of a handful of women in prison films), and Vinicio Marinucci (writer of many Italian comedies and musicals). In this particular story, we find the Nazis performing sexual experiments on men and women, allegedly for the advancement of the “master race,” although nothing is made all that clear. We open with the usual, women being brought to the camp, stripped, showered, examined. Once they are all checked out, they are sent to the barracks to await their assignments, which pretty much involve having sex with some of the enlisted men, a group of Nazi soldiers who lay around their barracks shirtless in short shorts and brag about their sexual exploits. And that’s pretty much the plot, aside from the typical “final battle” found in the subgenre, where the prisoners face off against the Nazis in their escape attempt.

There are a handful of torture scenes here that might upset the squeamish and easily offended. When a prisoner refuses to participate in the sexual “experiments” (what info the doctors are recording during these trials is never explained), she is put into boiling water, then freezing water, icing her and killing her. Another woman realizes she has been raped and stabs her attacker repeatedly with a fork. Then there are the others.

A woman is tortured and killed by having air blown into her ear, another is simply injected with something and disappears, no explanation given. So, as far as gore and brutality are concerned, of course there are torture scenes and deaths in SS Experiment Love Camp, but they are among the weaker of the subgenre. However, this film does show the Nazis throwing the corpses of their victims into an oven and burning them, something that is closer to the reality of Nazi atrocities in the camps than most of these movies show.

As I mentioned before, there are tortures that are a bit confusing and make little sense, but that’s nothing compared to the even bigger plot points that make even less sense. These sexual experiments – we have women brought in and ordered to have sex with the men, some on beds, some in a tub of water. What are we learning here? Then there’s the prisoner (Mirelle, Paola Corazzi) who immediately falls in love with one of the Nazis (Helmut, Mircha Carven), and he falls for her as well.

And then there’s the bizarre subplot that becomes a catalyst for something bigger in the end: Colonel Von Kleiben (Giorgio Cerioni) is the big bad boss in charge of the camp, but he keeps having flashbacks/nightmares of a time when he tried to rape a woman and she apparently bit his balls off. So he forces the camp doctors to perform a transplant, removing Helmut’s balls (he does not volunteer) and putting them on the colonel. This, of course, leads to Helmut going to have sex with Mirelle, then checking himself, seeing he is missing something, and storming out. How he didn’t notice before, I don’t know, but that is a very real part of this film.

SS Experiment Love Camp is one of the weaker of the Nazisploitation films. Sure, there’s some blood, some torture, and a ton of nude women on screen almost constantly, like one might expect from one of these films. But it just feels weird, somewhat uninspired, like a movie that was made to cash in on the trend without really trying to do anything new. At best, it is a bizarre story that happens to be set at a Nazi female prison camp. At worst, of course, it is tedious and dull, nothing special, and hard to recommend when there are so many other, much better films to choose from. For completionists only; you can give it your 90 minutes, but don’t expect anything ground breaking.

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