Violence in a Women’s Prison (1982)
Emanuelle (the stunningly beautiful Laura Gemser) gets the absolutely insane idea in her noggin to go undercover to expose the shit heels (basically a distaff Gestapo…but not as nice) running the world’s most horrific women’s prison in the world (although to be fair, there’s a rough n’ tumble men’s wing as well). So just what goes on behind those foreboding concrete walls? Well, you get your lesbian trysts (overseen by the profusely sweating and a high A.F. Warden…well at least one is, you see the furious sex noises™ and janky guitar ruckus inspire others to get it on, and that feverishly masturbating authority figure is only one woman after all), plenty of truncheon beatings (of the obviously rubber variety…and featuring piped in sound effects that have to be heard to be believed), mincing homosexual stereotypes (…the times, the times…), feces related battles (…what the what now?!!), rat attacks, sex having while watching rape (classy), metal tube torture (you’ll just have to see for yourself, but never let it be said that the prison staff in this flick aren’t creative), eleventh hour fucking…you get the picture. Will our heroine escape with her story…not to mention her sanity?
Absolutely packed fat with deplorable sleaze, Violence in a Women’s Prison delivers exactly what fans of the genre could ask for, and with Bruno Mattei and Claudio Fragasso involved how could it not (…and if you don’t know those names shame on you my fiends)? Present are my personal favs: nudity, gross out sequences that would send mainstream audiences heading for the hills (or toilets), and heaps of violence. Is any of it in good taste? Hell no, and it in no way should be…this is Grindhouse material in it’s purest form, and fans of the genre will gulp it down like prison Pruno!
As fantastically wrong as the main event is, those slinky minxes at Severin have included a few bonus features for our entertainment! First up is an interview with co-Director/Co-Writer Fragasso, and co-Writer Rossella Drudi that details their time in the horror/exploitation biz; it’s both fascinating and a bit disheartening…but their pet cat really steals the show! Also included is a brief archival interview with Mattei, and the film’s trailer.
Lewd, crude, and embracing everything that made the Grindhouse what it was; Violence in a Women’s Prison is the trashterpiece your collection deserves!
Perpetually undercover Emanuelle (Laura Gemser once again) is this time creating an expose on a mental health facility in ol’ Manhattan town (with the help of her Super Secret Doll Camera™…I mean who would suspect a thing when that toy’s head lights up like the Fourth of god damned July every time ol’ E-dawg uses the flash…) . It’s isn’t three minutes in when one of the patients (supposedly found deep in the Amazon, and branded with a strange symbol) goes and eats a nurse’s tit clean off…which of course leads our heroine on a quest to the deep, dark jungle to find out just what is going on. Once in that green hell; Emanuelle’s journey takes her to a remote Mission…well it would if it wasn’t destroyed by cannibals…but she does meet a hunter (Donald O’Brien) who likes to talk about hunting, hunting, and hunting (and occasionally hunting) before finally running afoul of those dread flesh eaters… oh, and the task at hand takes her (and nearly every woman she comes within a P.H. of) from one sex session to the next (including my personal fav; the waterfall lesbian bathing overseen by a Marb smoking chimp…I can’t make this shit up folks…).
Loaded with equal parts softcore sex (of commendable variety) and brutal (if charmingly crude…the vaginal disemboweling and bifurcated man gags are particularly entertaining) gore, Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals is a sleazy, sweaty delight! This is everything a Grindhouse flick should be; loaded with copious amounts of female flesh, crammed with ultra-gory effects work, and not giving a single toss if it offends anyone along the way. Also of note is the amazing psychotronic score that plays when the cannibals are nearby…what an eerie electronic masterpiece that tune is (as is the trekking through the jungle theme)! Special mention: this flick is nearly devoid of the animal cruelty (they may have shot a snake…it’s hard to tell) that makes this sub-genre nearly unwatchable for your’s cruelly…so applause there indeed!
Along with the feature, ol’ Severin have included a bonus banquet for you to feast upon! Included on this Blu-ray release are: interviews with Composer Nico Fidenco, Actress Annamaria Clementi, Actor Donal O’ Brien, and Actress Monika Zanchi. All of these are great conversations, and surprisingly enough some present wildly different opinions on Gemser. Speaking of our leading lady, an archival interview with her follows the aforementioned segments. It presents a solid overview of her time in Italian genre cinema over it’s brief run time. Finally we get the film’s theatrical trailer.
Thankfully devoid of the animal cruelty that usually appears in this genre; Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals is an extremely enjoyable foray into pure debauchery, full of flesh both naked and devoured…in other words, your’s cruelly can not recommend this one enough!
Arrow is back with a second volume of Seijun Suzuki’s early films (created while working for Nikkatsu Company). The first volume focused on his youth in revolt films while with the second set, Arrow spotlights Suzuki’s crime films, giving us five films filled with criminals, vigilantes and twisty plots. So, let’s see how this set stacks up to the last one!
First up is Eight Hours of Terror (1957), a stripped-down tale about a group of people taking a rickety bus trip through a dangerous area. When the train to Tokyo is delayed thanks to a mud slide, some of the passengers, desperate to get to Tokyo on time agree to take a beat up bus on a treacherous road. The passengers consist of your usual genre types; there’s a greedy business man, a hooker with a heart of gold, an aspiring starlet, student revolutionaries and a mysterious passenger. Also making things dicey is the fact that there’s two violent bank robbers somewhere in the area. Who will meet their end on this trip, and who will make it in one piece?
Next is The Sleeping Beast Within (1960). When her business man father goes missing, a young woman enlists the help of her journalist boyfriend to find him. Along the way they get involved with drug smugglers and a religious cult. Is her father dead or has be gone Walter White and got involved in some criminal shizz?
The third film, Smashing the 0-Line (1960) plays with similar ideas as those in Sleeping Beast, as a reporter dude investigates a drug smuggling ring. This time around there’s two reporters, one a very moral guy and another who does whatever it takes to get a story.
Our fourth film is Tokyo Knights (1961). Koji returns to Tokyo after spending some time in America after his father falls off a cliff. Having to take over the family’s construction company, he comes to suspect his father’s death wasn’t an accident. At the same time, Koji has to start over at a new high school where he quickly becomes a popular student sought after by various school clubs. Time management will be this dude’s best friend.
Finally, we get The Man with a Shotgun (1961) Ryoji, a wandering hunter, arrives at a remote mountain mill town. There’s something shady going on with the mill owner, and soon our wander is drawn into these dirty dealings.
Well, Arrow has one upped themselves with Volume 2…I really dug the first set, and here even the weakest of the pack (I’m looking at you Tokyo Knights) is an entering ride. Eight Hours, is a tense, fun stage play-esque thriller. Sleeping Beast and O-Line have a similar feel; with O-Line getting the edge for me, and the morally ambiguous reporter could give Louis Bloom from Nightcrawler a run for the slimy asshole badge. As mentioned, Tokyo Knights feels a little off. I think it’s the fact it starts out as a teen comedy and then gets are super cereal with the murder plot. As for Man with a Shotgun, well it’s my favorite of the set. Ryoji is a total bad ass, and not only that, but the western feel here is fantastic. There’s no cowboys or horses, but it feels like there could be…
Also of note, you get a bus load of extras here. Get it? Included are: audio commentaries by critic and author Jasper Sharp on Smashing the 0-Line, a talk with critic Tony Rayns giving background on the film’s at hand, a collection of trailers, and a stills gallery.
If you love Japanese crime cinema of the ‘60’s you need to jump on this wild ride immediately; the presentation of the films is excellent, the bonus material is fantastic, and the movies themselves are vastly entertaining!
Guest review by Shane Migliavacca