Emanuelle, a reporter, comes just a little too close to exposing a corrupt official, and is sent to prison on trumped-up charges. In the prison, the inmates are constantly humiliated and tortured by the prison staff. Overly affectionate prisoners are forced underwater, while others are obliged to look on. Emanuelle finds an enemy in the deranged Albina, who "runs the prison." For the pleasure of the warden, Emanuelle and Albina are forced to fight each other with knives. Bad becomes worse when four men awaiting execution escape and take over the prison. Gore flows like water.
Grindhouse cinema is along lost art form. Sure, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, and Rob Zombie do their best to pay homage to this genre from time to time, but the days of Grindhouse cinema are mostly over. There was a time in recent history where Grindhouse Cinema was a big money maker. It was so big that there were many theaters dedicated to showing only Grindhouse movies, whether it focus on torture, nuns, werewolves, kung-fu, naked women, or in this case, women in prison or as it's titled 'Women's Prison Massacre'.
That's not the only title this movie has. This is also known as 'Emanuelle Escapes From Hell', and yes, it's that "Emanuelle" of the 'Black Emanuelle' series. Director Bruno Mattei never misses a chance to show someone naked, being tortured, or gore here, like he has done in most of his films, as he's one of the Godfathers of Grindhouse cinema, and this movie is no different. There really isn't much to his movie in the form of any real story, character, or symbolism really.
Instead, it's straight to the point on revenge, blood, guts, and violence, which is pretty much how most of Grindhouse cinema goes. Like in most of the 'Emanuelle' movies, the central character is a committed journalist, looking to expose great injustices and tragedies in her writing, and this one doesn't really stray from the storyline. Emanuelle is sent to prison for interfering in some shady prison business with her reporting and gets a first hand look at being an actual prisoner. She crosses paths with the most dangerous prisoner there that involves some fights, weapons, and blood.
Soon enough though, four male prisoners take over the women's ward and start to do more than just harass them. So it's up to Emanuelle, law enforcement and other female prisoners to take control of their barred up home. Not all goes to plan for sure and there is enough blood shed for three whole movies. If you're a fan of nudity, torture, women in prison, and revenge, then this movie should appeal to you, if you're into the whole Grindhouse aspect of things. Other than that, there isn't much more to this movie.
The performances are sub-standard, the dialogue is cheesy, and the story is ridiculous and never makes any real sense, other than to just show more exploitation on screen, no matter what the variety it make take. 'Women's Prison Massacre' is indeed a massacre, but that's not necessarily always a good thing.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Women's Prison Massacre' comes from Scream Factory with a 25GB Blu-ray disc and is Region A locked. The disc itself is housed in a hard plastic blue case with no insert. The box art has images of the film on the inside.
'Women's Prison Massacre' comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This release comes from Scream Factory, which usually consists of very good to excellent video and audio presentations. That's not the case here. It's as if this was a rush job of sorts and this film was given the "once over" treatment into mass production. Yes, this is a Grindhouse film from 1983 and probably didn't have good equipment or expensive sources to have a tip-top picture.
That being said, there are plenty of avenues you can go down today, to sharpen and clean up film. Don't get me wrong, this is a definite improvement and upgrade from prior releases, but there is still a ton of work to be done here. Detail is never really sharp or vivid in any scene. Even the closeups are soft with almost zero depth. In the lower lit scenes, the image looks murky and fuzzy. There is slight improvement on some of the detail in the very well lit scenes, but you will not be able to make out individual hairs or intense makeup effects.
Colors are dull and never striking either. Most of them look pale throughout the movie. Black levels are never that deep and the flesh tones are not well-balanced. The grain was cleaned up quite a bit, giving this move a more digital look. Lastly , there are still many instances of dirt, debris, warps, and noise here. I get that this is a Grindhouse movie and some of these elements should be there to give that old school filmic feeling, but that's not really the case with this video presentation.
This release comes with a fairly good DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono track and does its job the best it can. Off the bat, this is an Italian movie that has been dubbed completely. Even the people who speak English here have been dubbed as well, so expect synch issues from start to finish with the dialogue. The sound effects are lively for the most part, but never pack a huge punch.
The score sounds good as well and never drowns out any dialogue or sound effects. The LFE is fairly good here and the dynamic range is wide. There were no pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills here either. This isn't the best audio mix you'll hear this year, but it isn't the worst, considering the source.
Zero extras. Is this the first release from Scream Factory with zero extras? Shocking.
'Women's Prison Massacre' is for the big fans of Grindhouse, particularly of the Women in Prison sub-genre. The movie wants to take itself seriously, but it never rises to that occasion. For being a Scream Factory release, I really expected more in the way of better audio and video presentations and at least one or more extras, but sadly that isn't the case here. That being said, this is more than likely the best this movie will ever look, so if you're a die hard fan of these types of movies, then by all means, add this to your collection. The rest of us can skip this one.