Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Hell Penitentiary (Gianni Siragusa, 1984)

Hell Penitentiary, or Detenute Violente, is an Italian softcore porn film disguised as a women in prison film. It has all the regular features necessary for WIP, but also has that bizarre European belly-kissing faux-sex that is rarely titillating under the best of circumstances, even less so here. Also, there is something weird going on with the cast, or the cinematographer perhaps. There are some seriously ugly people in this one, but then in a later scene they are attractive. I call it the "Two-Face Syndrome" and most everyone here has it.

Two images of Warden Landers. Granted, she's no goddess, but there is a definite difference between the two pictures.

I am tempted to say this terrible, but then I wonder if it is not rather good. The dialogue is atrocious, but that could be a bad translation. The story is simple. There are no sex-slavery side-plots. It is not a fake prison to front some other nefarious purpose. It is just a corrupt prison with a sadistic warden and a perverted governor. That is where the greatness lies, if there is indeed greatness to be had.

The Governor does some light reading.

Ajita Wilson (Macumba Sexual, Sadomania) is billed as the star, but the true lead is Julie Rogers, played by Linda Jones (Hell Behind the Bars and oddly, an uncreditted bit in Star Wars: A New Hope as Chall Bekan according to the IMDb). Eureka (Ajita Wilson) is the HBIC, who rather than tormenting Julia becomes her lover. The sadistic Warden Landers (Rita Silva, also in Hell Behind the Bars) has no agenda, save to have her lesbian playthings, maintain control, and inflict punishment.

Linda Jones as "new meat" Julia Rogers.

The story? Julia's sister is involved with a powerful man, but cheating on him with a gangster. The powerful man gets pissed and has the pair killed. Julia gets a call from the prison, an anonymous trustee tips her off that a witness is there. Unable to find the girl on the prison records, Julia gets herself thrown in jail so she can figure things out from the inside. Those plans always look good on paper. Julia runs afoul of the warden, after becoming the prison doctor's assistant. Her snooping became to obvious, and Landers has to lay the smack down. Of course, the other prisoners are planning a revolt, led by a hesitant Eureka.

Despite its many flaws, and there are many, the film tries hard and is true to the WIP format. If you have a perfectly sensible leg fixation, you will not be disappointed. Besides the typical shirt and panties prison uniform, the inmates wear an array of '80s mini-skirts. Pants, apparently were not introduced to Italian women for some years to come. If you are a fan of clumsy segues, they avoid any attempt by simply transitioning via a less-than enthusiastic sex scene, which are numerous, but thankfully short. Gianni Siragusa is like the Monty Python of Eurosleaze. Don't know how to end a scene? Get naked and kiss each others bellies. It is the softcore equivalent of having a cop come in and say, "what's all this then?"

Some of the cast is remarkably good, particularly Rita Silva, who despite having a few years on her fellow actresses, plays sexy better than the rest. Linda Jones is pretty good for this type film, though she is a tank. She seems insanely tall, and is built like a linebacker. Fortunately, her acting is not bad, though it is always hard to tell with dubbed films.

So, to close, this is a good WIP entry, but likely for genre fans only. Of course, if you are a leg person, by all means...

Netflix / IMDb


Anonymous said...

love it!
keep this up!

Darius Whiteplume said...

Glad you like it.

Ray Rousell said...

Sorry I can't stop laughing at the first photo of Warden Landers, I'm trying to think of some way I can use it........

Darius Whiteplume said...

All I could think of was "evil Howdy Doody" :-)

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