With a title like Women's Prison Massacre, you walk in knowing you're dealing with a bad movie, but there's very little to prepare you for a sleazy cinematic poop-bath of this dizzying magnitude. Courtesy of the legendarily prolific Italian schlock-merchant Bruno Mattei (also known as Vincent Dawn or any one of two dozen other pseudonyms), Women's Prison Massacre is also known as Emmanuelle in Prison, Emmanuelle Escapes from Hell, and Blade Violent, but regardless of the name, you're getting 80-some minutes of the goofiest filmmaking under the sun.
The setting, not surprisingly, is a women's prison. For about a half hour we get a lot of poorly dubbed bickering between the lady inmates of the titular facility. The wardens are nasty hardasses, the prisoners are stone-cold wenches, the showers are frequently used and probably more than a little grungy. You know the drill.
But then, from out of left field, comes something resembling a subplot! Here we have a quartet of outrageously bloodthirsty criminals who are being transported to the prison. Why four men are being transferred to a women's prison is a great question that's stupidly answered. Anyway, the four freaks break free, kill a bunch of people, announce their ransom demands to the local authorities, and begin molesting as many female inmates as possible. Some get the Russian Roulette treatment, others are just groped and manhandled in some unsavory fashion.
Eventually everything works out just fine, and by "just fine," what I mean is that one of the psychos rapes a woman who has a razor blade hidden in her special place, and that just about everyone else gets shot in the chest before leaking something that looks like pink house paint.
Basically, everything about Women's Prison Massacre is bad, bad, hilariously bad. If the clumsy dub track doesn't have you chuckling uncontrollably, just wait till the actual dialogue hits your ears. The prison looks more like a gated warehouse than a penitentiary, the actors are asked to make the most uproariously goofy faces into the camera, the sound effects sound like clumsy outtakes from a 1972 kung fu movie, and the flick as a whole just reeks of Z-grade exploitation cheese. And the entire dingy expanse of this greasy flick is coated with an omnipresent soundtrack of early 80s wakka-wikky muzak noise that's just hilarious.
Which means the flick's got its share of fans, most of whom will be thrilled with the DVD release, if only so they can point and laugh at Mattei's patented brand of garish artlessness.
Video: The DVD case informs me that this is an anamorphic widescreen transfer, and it does look pretty clean, all things considered. Expect to find lots of source glitches, though. Let's just say Women's Prison Massacre isn't about to find itself inside one of AFI's vaults.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0, which is suitably tinny and aggressive.
Extras: Just a trailer vault filled with promos for Retro Shock-O-Rama titles Women's Prison Massacre, Slime City, Satan's Black Wedding, and Criminally Insane.
If you're the sort who likes to dig around in the bottoms of barrels, here's a grungy little exploitationer that may wring a few chuckles out of you. Don't even think of expecting anything aside from outlandishly bad filmmaking, and don't dare pop it on when the kiddies are around.