Wednesday, July 11, 2018

VIOLENCE IN A WOMEN'S PRISON (1982) (Severin Blu-ray Review)


Label: Severin Films
Duration: 99 Minutes
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: Unrated

Audio: English DTS-HD MAMono 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1)
Director: Bruno Mattei
Cast: Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti, Lorraine De Selle, Franca Stoppi,
Ursula Flores, Antonella Giacomini, Leila Durante,  Franco Caracciolo

Italian schlock-maker Bruno Mattei filmed this WIP flick back-to-back with Women's Prison Massacre (1983) (available on Blu-ray from Scream Factory) with both films starring Indonesian sex-kitten Laura Gemser of the Black Emanuelle series, these WIP flicks came a few years after the legit Emanuelle series had ended but when Mattei saw an opportunity to exploit the series with a double-dose of sleazy WIP wickedness starring sexy Laura Gemser he just couldn't pass it up. Much like Women's Prison Massacre this one stars the captivating Gemser as a reporter named Emanuelle, this time going undercover as a whore to uncover the prison's human rights abuses for Amnesty International, you have to admire the lengths to which she will go for a story! Also appearing in both films are Lorraine De Selle (House On The Edge of the Park) as the thoroughly wicked warden and Franca Stoppi (Beyond The Darkness) as her wonderfully sadistic lesbian guard, both of who get their rocks off while watching lady inmates get it on with each other. Gemser's husband Gabriele Tinti (Cut and Run) also appears in both films and gets the most dramatic role-reversal of the bunch, in Women's Prison Massacre he was an over-the-top rape-y death row inmate, but here he's a sympathetic prison doctor, and he does decent in the toned down role, even though I kept waiting for him to turn bad at some point, and whle that doesn't happen his character does have a dark wife-murdering past. Also making appearances in both films are are Ursula Flores and Antonella Giacomini as female inmates, plus we get notable newbies by way of Leila Durante as Pilar, an older female inmate with a pet cockroach, and Franco Caracciolo as effeminate male prisoner named Leander who is imprisoned at the adjoining male prison, a character who seems to only be there as an on-going male-on-male rape joke, the character sounding a bit like Ed Wynn (the voice of the Mad Hatter from Disney's Alice In Wonderland).

The film has the requisite amount of brutality and sleazy WIP tropes, but the graphic rape stuff is absent for the most part, but notably Gemser appears nude in this film while she did not do so in Women's Prison Massacre for whatever reason, and a nude Gemser is always welcome, she was a lovely lady to look at. Once it is revealed that she's an undercover reporter she suffers tortures such as red-eyed rodents, a bell-ringing, drugging, and the unwanted molestation at the hands of a corrupt prison official (Jacques Stany, Four Flies On Grey Velvet). All the while though she's been plotting with the sympathetic prison doc to make a daring escape, which allows for her to have sex with him several times throughout the film, of course. Fans of prison exploitation should find plenty to delight in, there's loads of girl-on-girl brawling and sex, plus some a surprising turd-wrestling scene, Emanuelle and two guards fall onto the floor during a scuffle and end up wresting in some human feces, so it's got that going for it.  

Audio/Video: Bruno Mattei's WIP sleazefest Violence In A Women's Prison (1982) arrives on Blu-ray from Severin Films sourced from a "2K scan from an uncensored inter-positive" in 1080p HD framed in 1.78:1 widescreen, looking very nice overall with some peripheral roughness by way of some minor speckling and small scratches, but nothing too awful. Colors look reasonably strong and grain looks natural if a bit course during the darker scenes, fine detail could be generously called modest, but having never watched this one before on any format I found the HD presentation very pleasing all shortcomings considered. 

The English-dubbed audio is more problematic than the image, though not ruinous to the whole experience either, it's a noisy track with plenty of hiss, crackling and pops, sounding at moments like there's someone eating a bowl of rice krispies in the room, but dialogue is never hard to discern and the Luigi Ceccarelli (Rats: Nights of Terror) score sounds good, optional English subtitles are provided.

Onto the extra we get a few beginning with the Freak-O-Rama produced 'Brawl in Women's Block', an interview with co-director/co-writers Claudio Fragasso (Troll 2) and Rossella Drudi - each discussing how they came to be in the movie business, working with Bruno Mattei and shooting this film and Women's Prison Massacre back-to-back over a five week period and the challenges that provided. We also get an archival interview from director Bruno Mattei from a previous DVD release from Media Blasters, plus a radio spot for the film.

The single-disc release comes housed in a spiffy black Blu-ray keepcase with a sleeve of reversible artwork - the b-side is pictured below - the disc artwork is an excerpt of the a-side artwork. It's a good looking release with an handsome looking spine. 

B-Side Reversible Artwork 

Special Features: 

- Brawl in Women's Block - Interview with co-director/co-writers Claudio Fragasso and Rossella Drudi (29 min)
- Archive interview with director Bruno Mattei (3 min)
- Radio Spot (31 sec)

It's always great to see another Bruno Mattei schlocker get an HD release with some extras and good A/V, as 80's women-in-prison films go this is an entertaining slice of Euro-sleaze, the nudity from Gemser is appreciated but I think I like Women's Prison Massacre (1983) just a tiny bit more, that one's just a bit more gonzo and creative when to comes to the violence and crazy dialogue.  

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