How about this cover for European Trash Cinema symbolism?
INTERVISION DVD-1.78:1/16:9 WIDESCREEN-DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO-NOT RATED- 98m.
Bruno Mattei aka Vincent Dawn goes beyond the limit, with a little uncredited help from Jess Franco, in his brutal 21st Century WIP, THE JAIL--THE WOMEN'S HELL. And Hell it is for our heroines as Bruno and co. were inspired by at least two vintage WIPs from Uncle Jess, but more on that later....
Jennifer (Yvette Yzon, ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD) is transported on the slow boat to The House of Lost Souls, the women's hell of a tropical women's prison run by a sadistic wardress (Odette Khan), a horror of a human disguised as a Woman. The jail's Governor (ROBOWAR's Jim Gaines) takes his comfort with seducing the inmates and then condemning his conquests to work in a filthy brothel adjacent to the prison where rape, humiliation, perversion and murder are the order of business. Jennifer is in for anything and everything as she makes friends with a woman in for prostitution (Dyane Crayston) while another is in for drug smuggling. It doesn't matter what they're in for because they're in for life and most likely... a painful, protracted death.
After being treated to the spectacle of a disobedient inmate's dead body taken out of the hot box and then whipped in front of the population, the women are quickly hosed down, placed in cells with predatory lesbians, snitches, sadists and more beaten down women. The always sneering female guards are nattily attired in spotless uniforms as the wardress lays down the Rules from a podium, addressing the inmates through a microphone. They are no longer human, just numbers, cases, criminals, victims who need to be taught countless nasty lessons, including live whippings, rape, torture and ravishment by python for the edification of a group of sadists (including ZOMBI 3's Mike Monty). It's all very much like certain scenes in the Jess Franco hit 99 WOMEN (1969), which was a point of departure for screenwriter's Antonio Tentori, producer Giovanni Paolucci and Mattei after they caught it at the Joe D'Amato horror fest in Italy. The scenario also borrows a lot from Franco's 1975 BARBED WIRE DOLLS, including the pitiless woman hunt which concludes both earlier Franco efforts. The wardress is a sister in spirit to Mercedes McCambridge in 99 WOMEN, only much more twisted and vicious, she definitely gets off on what she dishes out. And it all manages to have a very unsurprising twist ending, at least to anyone who has seen the conclusion of the alternate Spanish/Italian version of the Franco film, which is included as a special feature on the BLUE UNDERGROUND DVD.
The second half of the film details how Jennifer and co. are pursued through the jungles by the Governor and his depraved hunting party. They are greeted by the sight of women skewered, genitally mutilated in the manner of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, skinned and left to die in agony.
Mattei and co. sure know how to pour on the cruelty, gore, nudity, sex and assorted brutalities until one is a rather dazed state. But it's all meant to be good fun and make a ton of money in markets where this kind of thing is devoured like specialty desserts. Ms. Yzon is credibly outraged and a real trouper as she was in Mattei's zombie features, ZOMBIES: THE BEGINNING and ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD (2007). A brief 8m interview with her and actor Anson is included in which they recall Mattei and Paolucci as world class shouters who would do anything to get it done. The longer PRISON INFERNO featurette reveals that Ms. Yzon actually demanded that the producer let her do a spectacularly dangerous stunt in which her character dives off a very high waterfall into a river below. It's all good stuff and illustrates just how seriously everyone took their Philippines European Trash Cinema. The film's original trailer is also included.
VIDEO/AUDIO: Intervision's DVD certainly delivers the gory goods in a spectacular, crystal clear, colorful 1.78:1-16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen presentation which is probably the best this shot-on-digital video epic could possibly look and the Dolby Digital Stereo sound snaps, crackles and pops. Every bloody lashing, slashing, torture and murder is intact, looking and sounding like it's happening right there in your own living room.
One thing is for sure, there will never be another Bruno Mattei.
[C] David Khunne and Robert Monell, 2015