Detenute violente (1984)

I don’t think that any exploitation sub-genre has disappointed me as consistently as the ‘women in prison’ film; despite the massive potential for unbridled sleaze, extreme violence and all-out depravity, it seems that the majority of efforts (particularly those from Europe) offer very little for the discerning deviant other than endless unerotic lesbian trysts, shower scenes and unconvincing cat fights, all of which gets very tedious, very quickly.

Hell Penitentiary is no exception.

This derivative piece of garbage has Dr. Julia Rogers (Linda Jones) deliberately getting herself thrown in the slammer in order to find the only witness to her sister’s murder. Once inside, Julia befriends influential prisoner Eureka Thompson (who has sex with her), gets herself a cushy job assisting the prison doctor (who also has sex with her), but arouses the suspicion of nasty dyke Warden Landers (who surprisingly doesn’t have sex with her, preferring to torture her with a hot poker instead!). Eventually Julia locates the missing witness, who has been held drugged in secret room by Landers, but not before the despicable governor has repeatedly forced himself on an innocent inmate, the girls have taken plenty of showers, and the prisoners have rioted.

Directed on a shoestring with little imagination by Gianni Siragusa (from a script by SS Experiment Camp’s director, Sergio Garrone) Hell Penitentiary is packed with soft-core lesbian sex and full-frontal female nudity from a motley selection of second rate skanks, which I have no doubt will prove to be a crushing bore to all but the most desperate of perverts. Likewise, the scenes of torture and violence are unlikely to impress, being amateurish and unconvincing in the extreme. Some amusement might be gleaned from the film’s sheer crassness (the fact that all prisoners seem unable to button their blouses made me snigger), but the chances are that even the most avid WIP fans will find this one more than a little dull.