Women's Prison Massacre (1983)
By Kurly Tlapoyawa
Emanuelle Fuga Dall'Inferno
Directed by Bruno Mattei
Cast: Laura Gemser, Lorraine De Selle, Gabriele Tinti
When I was but a young lad, I had the good fortune to see The Big Bird Cage at a friend's house. Written and directed by the legendary Jack Hill (Spider Baby) the film resulted in both my lifelong desire to nail Pam Grier, and my enduring affinity for women in prison films. And when it comes to the women in prison genre, few flicks get it done better than Women's Prison Massacre, directed by sleazemaster Bruno Mattei.
In the pantheon of euro-trash cinema, Italian director Bruno Mattei truly stands as a god among men. Having knocked out over 40 films under 18 different pseudonyms, Mattei is to European trash cinema what Herschell Gordon Lewis is to gore--and that's a good thing. In fact, Women's Prison Massacre is a movie so unapologetically sleazy and despicable that when you finish watching it, you feel like licking the floor of a taxi cab just to clean out your system.
Laura Gemser (Black Emanuelle, Emanuelle in Bangkok) once again plays a character named Emanuelle (in a last-ditch attempt to cash in on the other Emanuelle films). This time, Emanuelle is a reporter who was unjustly sent to prison after coming too close to exposing the corrupt district attorney (Jacques Stany, After the Fall of New York). While serving her time in the women's prison, the incredibly hot Emanuelle makes enemies with the incredibly non-hot Albina (Ursula Flores, who spends most of her time onscreen gritting her teeth and trying to stab people). While Emanuelle has positioned herself as a defender of the other prisoners, Albina serves as a lapdog for the prison guards, who use her to keep the other prisoners in line.
After Emanuelle witnesses two prisoners being punished for getting it on in the shower, she makes a complaint to the hard-assed Warden (Lorraine De Selle from Make Them Die Slowly). This of course, gets her nowhere, and the guards quickly sick Albina on Emanuelle, culminating in a knife fight between the two in the courtyard. Now, the fight choreography may look like it was put together by two 5 year olds wrestling over a cookie, but it provides ample opportunity for exposed panties--and that's fine by me.
While the first half of Women's Prison Massacre would have us believe that we are going to see a tragic, suspense-filled story of an unjustly imprisoned woman fighting the system and eventually exposing the district attorney, the second half of the film switches gears on us entirely. While Emanuelle and company are busy avoiding getting the crap beaten out of them by the guards, a foursome of incredibly dangerous male convicts are being rerouted to the women's prison (of course) to await confirmation of their sentences.
The four madmen are led by a brutal murderer named “Crazy Boy” Henderson (Gabriele Tinti) and they waste no time in overpowering the guards, taking some hostages and demanding five million bucks and an escape vehicle. This is where the “massacre” part of the movie kicks in. The four madmen entertain themselves by raping and molesting the warden and the prisoners, but these chicks don't take this shit lying down.
The debauchery comes to an end when the most poorly trained assault team imaginable is sent into the prison to rescue the hostages. In a particularly stupid lack of strategy, one of them is armed with nothing other than a big-ass video camera. This clown is so dedicated to filming the “rescue” that he continues to roll tape while his buddies are gunned down around him.
With their only rescue attempt thwarted, the cops cave in and deliver an escape vehicle and a single suitcase carrying $5 million in $10 bills! Now that's one magical suitcase! It looks like escape is imminent for the bad guys, but justice is served and the entire plotline involving the framing of Emanuelle manages to get resolved in about 30 seconds. While the print gets a little rough in spots, major props go out to EI Cinema for keeping classic sleaze like this alive and kicking for future generations to enjoy. Not much on the disc in terms of extras, but we get plenty of violence and nudity--and that's the kind of time you need to serve. (EI Cinema's Retro Shock-O-Rama)
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