by Bowie Ibarra
When I was a kid and went to the matinee showing of the epic "Missing in Action" featuring Chuck Norris at the Forum 4 Theatre in Uvalde, there was a peculiar movie trailer for "Women's Prison Massacre". It was shocking to my tender young eyes. Bloody violence, naked foreign ladies getting abused, and a girl holding a razor. The potential of a woman in a prison holding a razor scared the crap out of a tender young future zombie horror writer. There was only one showing of the movie at midnight, and I was not about to check it out. A cruel introduction to the women's prison genre.
As a grown up with an interest in a broad range of cinema, a Facebook update from the Master of Shu-Izmz, Bryan Schussler, piqued my curiosity. He had bought a movie package with a women's prison theme, including classics of the genre like "Caged Heat". I asked him about "Women's Prison Massacre". And when I learned he hadn't heard about it, I decided to do some investigating.
Fans of the Euro soft porn Emmanuelle series might be familiar with Laura Gemser. Similar to the James Bond series, two women played the titular (pun intended) role. The role was first played by smokin' 70s Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel. Her movies made in France are part of the official 'Emmanuelle' canon. Laura Gemser was cast in the Italian rip-offs of the Emmanuelle series meant to cash in on the sucess of the original, ala Zombie being the 'unofficial' part II of "Dawn of the Dead".
As it turns out, "Women's Prison Massacre" is one of those movies of the unofficial canon of the "Black Emmanuelle". One of its alternate titles was "Emmanuelle Escapes from Hell".
The movie opens with arthouse-style monolgoues by three different ladies representing three different female archetypes: The innocent, the whore, the liberator.
As you might have guessed, Emmanuelle is the liberator.
A wild-haired blonde crazy bitch stands up and talks shit to Emmanuelle and the other actresses. Her name is Albina, and she becomes Emmanuelle's nemesis within the prison.
Albina throws a tomato at Emmanuelle that splats against her face, and we have our first women's prison frakas.
The Warden gives Emmanuelle an earful for her original theatrical work, and calls it "seditious". Emmanuelle is now officially on the warden's shit list.
Albina, as you might imagine, is not done talking her shit. She confronts Emmanuelle and her two friends who were part of her theatrical piece in the lunch room. And then a vicious arm wrestling match takes place!
Watch out, Sylvester Stallone! Emmanuelle's going 'Over the Top'
Emmanuelle wins, and the bad blood between them grows.
Meanwhile, in the showers, Emmanuelle's friends share an intimate moment together, much to the chagrin of Albina, who rats out their naked makeout session to the warden. The two girls are summarily humiliated by the warden and her buddy who looks like "Ms. Vorhees" Adrienne King. They dunk the girls faces in the sinks in front of the other ladies several times.
The aesthetic of the film continues to take on a kind of arthouse sensibility with its shots and framing. Here's a shot of Emmanuelle talking to the warden about the abuse to her friends.
Then, Ms. Vorhees takes a position in the middle, creating a theatrical style picture that works.
The wardens get Albina to beat up Emmanuelle in showers, but it is foiled by Emmanuelle. She even humiliates Albina by taking her blonde wig, revealing her bald head.
The warden's take matters into their own hand and force Emmanuelle to dunk herself face first into the sink until they tell her to get up. When she refuses, she is beat with sticks. When she dunks herself and brings herself back up without their permission, she is beat.
Eventually, the warden's break her, and she slides down the wall in a tragically artsy-fartsy image that I thought was actually pretty cool in its simplicity.
And, naturally, adding to the humiliation theme, the warden's laugh in Emmanuelle's face.
Back in her cell, Emmanuelle sees a special toy from her cellmates. Dolls need love, too, now.
Then, the story veers into a strange angle. A group of nortorious dudes are being shipped to a prison. Crazy Boy and his guido bad dudes. They are being kept in control by an out-of-place Italian cowboy. I guess a remnent of some cancelled spaghetti western.
After a group of their buddies try to free them outside of the vehicle is foiled, they are then sent to the nearest prison to the botched ambush: The Women's Prison.
They are given a room. But when the warden takes off their bonds, she's jumped, and the dudes take over the prison.
An inept security team arrives, but is quickly dismissed with a threat to violence on the wardens. They scarper.
The police arrive along with other officials, and they take on the difficult task of standing around with their thumbs up their ass.
Crazy Boy gets on his Android smart phone and gives his demands.
While the law enforcement officials stand around outside, the men are given the proverbial keys to the kingdom. They go into the prison to find women to take advantage of.
Even the warden is not spared from the lascivious bad guys. She is commanded to undress before one of the baddies and reveal her luxurious underwear sponsored by Arditi. True story, Italian fashion label Arditi provided the stockings for all of the women, which, they say, is why the women never peeled off their stockings. I was alright with that.
Each of the bad guys get off their own way. One just enjoyed walking by the prison bars of the sexually hungry women and have them grope him. Kinky bastard.
Even Albina is not spared. When a bad guy comes into her room looking for medicine, he chooses to ravish her. And though she is fearful at first, she makes the first move and lets the man have her way with her.
Things get rough for the women. Some even try to break out. When one of Emmanuelle's friends is killed in a botched breakout, her lover finds one of the bad guys razor. Knowing she lost her love forever, she is prepared to sacrifice herself to avenge her lost love.
Well, that old legend about Viatnamese hookers maiming our US fighting men is initiated. The forlorn lesbian lover sets the razor in her cooch and prepares to lure one of the bad guys into her snare.
Meanwhile, Emmanuelle and her rival Albina are forced to play the crappiest game ever: Russian Roulette. The bad guys set one bullet in the chamber, spin it, then pass it between the rivals.
In the end, its Albina that runs out of luck. Emmanuelle freaks out as she watches her rival blow her brains out while the bad guys laugh it up.
Meanwhile, the forlorn lover lures one of the pervs into her cell with her naked body laying on her bed. He glady comes in, forces himself on her. It's Italian Sausage vs. Straight Razor.
In spite of his split weiner and blood loss, he chokes out the woman and makes his way back through the prison. The women grab at his bleeding and dying body.
In the end, Emmanuelle discovers that a local political official framed her to put her in jail. He is at the siege, and when she is used as a hostage, he tries to get the cops to kill them all. Instead, Crazy Boy shoots him, and a small chase begins.
It ends with the cowboy, who was wounded from the beginning of the siege, killing Crazy Boy in a very lame chase at the end.
In the end, Emmanuelle returns to prison to serve the rest of her time.
We get the credits, featuring good ol' Claudio Fragasso.
I told you Arditi was one of the films sponsors.
And I don't think I've ever head of upholstery being credited, considering I don't remember seeing any upholstery in the film.
In the end, I thought the movie was alright. It was as strange and badly acted as I expected. But I did appreciate the attempts at an artistic aesthetic. There were moments that I found worked from that standpoint for film.
If you're looking for great acting and amazing story, you've come to the wrong place.
But if you're looking for a little piece of B-movie EuroTrash, then you've come to the right place. This movie ranks high in that genre.
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Bowie V. Ibarra is the author of the "Down the Road" zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuster. His most recent title, "Codename: La Lechusa" is an action/adventure superhero story with a supernatural edge of a single mother who doubles as an assassin.
You can find out more about Bowie, network with him, and find out about his books at
If you love blood and horror, you also need to network with Bryan Schuessler, the mastermind behind
Shu-IZmz at: http://www.shuizmz.com/.
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