- A good girl, Jenny (Linda Carrol), who is imprisoned because of her neer-do-well boyfriend's crime.
- A HBIC, Charlie (Wendy O. Williams), who takes an immediate disliking to the good girl.
- A sadistic head matron, Edna (Pat Ast), who favors the HBIC.
- An evil warden, Sutter (Sybil Danning), who is covering up her institution's less-than-legal procedures. Also is always in fascist-styled attire.
- A doctor who has taken up the cause of the good girl, and falls afoul of the warden.
- Rival gangs.
- Shower room fights.
- Negligible clothing.
- Man from outside who sells out the good girl for a piece of ass.
- The big break out scene.
- HBIC joins the good girl in bringing down the warden.
Now, in truth, Reform School Girls is often called a parody of the genre. There is some truth to that. It has some humorous elements. Pat Ast and Wendy O. Williams are so over-the-top that even at their most serious they inspire laughter. Pat Ast is like a rhinoceros in drag, barreling through scenes and behaving like Divine. Wendy O. Williams' Charlie is malevolent in a near-cartoonish fashion. The acting, in general, recalls your typical Russ Meyer film. The tag-line "So young. So bad. So what?" screams parody. DeSimone is also an odd writer/director for the film. His previous work includes such titles as Bi-Coastal, Bi Bi Love, Gay Guide to Hawaii, and Heavy Truckin'. I think we can tell where his normal interests lay (of course, John Waters might say that exploitation and gay-porn are typically of the same basic style**). The women typically wear garish lingerie throughout (the best kind), and there is a high-camp element to the proceedings that hints at parody.
If you are a WIP newbie, and want a good safe starting point that covers all the bases, Reform School Girls is your film. It is most everything a WIP should be, but without the gross-out pandering of its progenitors.
* In discussing Death Proof as a slasher film, Quentin Tarantino says the only genre more formulaic than the Slasher is the WIP.
** I do not know where to attribute Waters' remark, but he did say in a television show (I Love the '70s perhaps) that Angel (Alaina Capri) in Russ Meyers' Good Morning... and Good Bye! displays many gay porn qualities. Particularly when she goes to the construction site, honks her horn, and waits for her stud to come running.