Divine Emanuelle: Love Cult
Germany - Greece / 1981
Directed by Christian Anders

Laura Gemser
Simone Brahmann
Christian Anders
Color / 98 Minutes / Not Rated
Format: DVD / R1 - NTSC
Exploitation Digital
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    5   10 = Highest Rating  
Guest Review by Rod Barnett
It'll take a better man than me to properly explain the long, strange cinematic adventures of Emanuelle. At times I wish I were that man the fellow who could gather all the various Emanuelle (or "Emmanuelle") films together, sift through them collecting the gems and dismissing the dross. I would polish the best moments in these astonishing films to a shiny brightness so that others could appreciate them all the more. But, alas, I am not that man. Perhaps it will one day take a team of scribes willing to dive headlong into the cinematic madness of the various films in this loose series. I can almost hear the debates between the researchers about where each series begins, which actress was best in the central role and whether the many in-name-only sequel films should be relegated to footnotes or be given chapters of their own. On that future day when this hoped-for tome is released, I will be one of the first people in line waving my cash high in the air to purchase it. I will rush home, disconnect all electronic media and settle in to discover the answer to the central mystery of these films... WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT OF THESE THINGS, ANYWAY? I mean, is it just nudity? Hell, porn will get you more of that and includes money shots! Is it the foreign locales linked with nude bodies on almost constant display that draws people in? Or is it the hope for thrills that simply staged sex scenes can't provide? Is it a lust for a particular actress?
    Divine Emanuelle: Love Cult isn't actually an Emanuelle film but one of the dozens of movies re-titled to take advantage of the popularity of the Emanuelle movies. Indeed, the picture's star, Laura Gemser is never referred to by any name other than "The Divine One". It seems that after her first role in an Emanuelle film almost every subsequent film went out somewhere in the world as "Emanuelle"-something. Much like "Django" became the word used to re-title a dozen or more Euro-lensed westerns, "Emanuelle" very nearly became the brand name for exotic softcore sex films in the 1970s and early '80s. Why did I voluntarily watch this thing? With my head hung in shame I must admit it was to see naked women. I have that weakness and it has caught me out before. If there's a 12 Step program for this affliction please let me know because the booze isn't working like it should anymore.
    The movie has very little story but I'll relate it as best I can. Laura Gemser is The Divine One, the head of a hippy-style cult that preaches love and sex and... well, that's all they really seem to preach. The basic idea of this religion is that you should have as much sex as possible with as many people as possible. Dorian (Christian Anders) is the best disciple, as he is both devout and a gifted raiser of financial donations from new converts. While out boring the locals to win new cult members, Dorian flashes his big blue eyes and curly blonde locks at Patricia (Simone Brahmann). She's the daughter of a wealthy American senator with little time for his confused child, and that handsome Dorian fellow seems so nice... So, Patricia jaunts off to the cult's nearby Love Camp with her golden boy, who promptly falls in love with the vacuous wench. Since being 'in love' is verboten by decree of The Divine One he is forced to leave the cult. As he and his beloved exit the compound Dorian learns the horrible truth about those who try to quit this loving religion. Oh, and the camp blows up. And there's an undercover cop gathering evidence to prosecute the Divine One. And
oh come on! This thing is a simple T 'n' A show featuring lots of softcore groping/fondling and a bare-bones plot that sort of links the sequences of fleshly friction together. The sex scenes are fairly dull and overlong, consisting of the standard hetero and lesbian pairings found in most softcore flicks. If you want to see naked women you're in the right place. If you want anything more may I direct your eyes to something else on the rack, sir...
    The movie's real title is Love Camp and that's the one on this print. It's an accurate title as most of the story occurs in a camp and the word love is used constantly. As a matter of fact, I'd venture to say that if you count the lyrics to the various lame songs sprinkled throughout, no other film has ever used the word as many times as this sucker. One particular song contains the L-word at least 100 times
and the song's repeated twice. (Some sick puppy also included this moronic slice of rancid audio cheese on the damned menu screen!) I would provide sample lyrics but it's taken me days to get this crap out of my head and I want to keep it out. To get an idea just imagine a '70s K-Tel record collecting the worst AM Gold romantic pop songs and you're on the right track. Sadly, the movie is littered with these lyrical land mines which explode with no warning at all making getting to the end of this turkey worthy of some kind of Medal of Cinematic Valor. This wretchedness can mostly be laid at the feet of writer/director/star/vocalist Christian Anders, who also penned the music. Obviously attempting to top Orson Wells and Ed Wood, the lunatic also tries to be an action hero at the end of the story. When he breaks out his badass karate moves for the big finale it's one of the funniest things I've seen in years. Yes, Mr. Anders' reach most certainly exceeded his grasp. Of course, just getting something this bad made is quite an accomplishment and I'm sure it was a labor of love. (Get it? I used the word love again. Wasn't that clever? Ah, screw it!) It would appear that Mr. Anders' talents lie in some field other than cinema. Perhaps windsurfing or hair care was his true calling in life. Hey maybe he's the right man to write that overview of the Emanuelle film series!

The DVD of Divine Emanuelle is a good presentation, although a typo on the packaging states the movie is letterboxed at 1.85:1 when in reality it's shown fullframe (1.33:1). The mono sound mix is often flat that seems to be normal. The entire film was dubbed pretty badly in English, making the absence or delays of certain sound effects stand out. I chuckled every time a car door slam was a full beat behind the image. There is only the one audio option and no subtitles are included. Proving that a bad film could have actually been worse is the deleted scenes extra. More than 30 minutes of cut footage does little to add to the thin story but does show that the cult believed in animal sacrifices. Also on the disc are the Love Camp trailer, a photo gallery and trailers for more DVDs from Exploitation Digital. I'm ashamed to admit that I want to see some of the films advertised. (I may never learn.) 12/05/05
UPDATE In April 2008 Media Blasters is re-releasing Divine Emanuelle as part of the 3-disc Emanuelle Collection Triple Pack, which also includes Lady Emanuelle and Yellow Emanuelle.