Friday, March 28, 2014

Women in Cellblock 9 (1978)

Original title: Frauen fur Zellenblock 9

AKA: Tropical Inferno

Director: Jesus Franco

Writer: Jesus Franco

Composer: Walter Baumgartner

Starring: Karine Gambier, Howard Vernon, Susan Hemingway, Aida Gouveia, Esther Studer

Plot: A group of female freedom-fighters led by Karine (Gambier) is caught by the war-den of a women’s prison, located some-where in the South American jungle. None of them will reveal the secrets of their organization or the names of their collaborators in the cities, so they are handed over to Dr. Costa (Vernon) who, after four years inactivity in Europe, is delighted to be able to practice his torture techniques once more.  Karine fails to resist the inhuman treatments and reveals all. The only hope of saving the organization is for the girls to warn the city cell before it’s too late. They trick the prison guard into having sex with them, knock him out and break out of prison. The warden and Dr. Costa must prevent them from revealing the practices inside the prison. The hunt is on and it’s shoot to kill.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Probably.

Women In Prison (WIP) films are usually pretty boring but they generally offer LOTS of eye candy and, if you're lucky, some blood and guts.  They're usually done on the cheap and are loaded with filler (hence the boring). The same can be said about an awful lot of Jess Franco's pictures, too. But then the dude directed 201 pictures and worked until he died at the age of 82 (one year ago next week).  That's fucking impressive.  If I started now I'd have to crank out a little more than 5 pictures a year for the rest of my life.  I'm getting side tracked when it should be this that tests my ability to stay focused...

Starring Ricky Gervais' sister as The Warden!

Oh, NO!  Not the Gere Run!!!

Don't mind us gals.  We're just hanging around...


Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom never had anything like this.

Look out, girls, GATORS!!!

HURRY!  HURRY!!!!!  We need you to last until the end of the picture...and not find clothes.

WHEW! That was close!


How about that product placement?

It's a surprisingly good picture and not just because of the gratuitous amount of nudity.  These gals spend 96% of the picture completely nude.  I honestly commend them for having to run around the jungle and in the river like that.  Honorary Oscars, anyone?  The picture's only 78 minutes long but it feels shorter.  Really.  Usually these kinds of films drag on forever no matter how short they are but this one manages to move the action (there's very little story to tell) at a nice, brisk pace. Within the first 15 minutes the girls are captured, sent to the prison and prepared for torture.  We meet all of the characters we need to know by then.  The next 15 gives us more detail about how sadistic and perverted the warden and the doctor are...

which sets us up for the torture.  That's another 15 minutes.  10 minutes after that the girls have seduced the guard and have escaped.  All that's left is 20 minutes of surviving and being chased through the jungle.  It's a very economic picture.  I'm impressed with that aspect alone.  Then you consider the fun torture scenes, evil bad gal and guy and a wonderfully abundant amount of gorgeous nudity.  That's entertainment.  And what's more, it's a good looking, nicely shot film.  Not bad for total exploitation.  This genre needs more quality pictures like this and it gives me hope for watching more of them even though I know I'm in for a world of shit...but with boobs and paper thin plots.

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