Shot right after Violence In A Women’s Prison with pretty much the same people behind and in front of the camera, Women’s Prison Massacre (known variously as Blade Violent, Emanuelle Escapes from Hell, and Emanuelle in Prison) proves that even when faced with making the same movie as he just finished making, director Bruno Mattei has the skills to make it even better than before! And he does it right from the beginning!
Emanuelle is in the middle of putting on a play for the rest of the prisoners and it’s one of those cutting edge performance art pieces that involves her and a couple of her compatriots describing how they got hosed by being put in the slammer. One of the gals even begins to babble about snakes and a praying mantis to evoke something I’m sure was so profound it was over my head. Heck, I’m just here to see guards get impaled by kitchen utensils. What do I know about the philosophy of crime, punishment, and scary-looking bugs?
I suppose that having a captive audience can be a double-edged sword though. On the one hand, they may be glad to sit through any old show you put on, even something like The Vagina Monologues. On the other hand, they may be pissed that they are being forced to sit through pretentious trash when they could be out raping each other in the shower.
Sadly for Emanuelle, the latter attitude among the rest of the prisoners prevails and they are not shy about expressing their displeasure. Emanuelle gets hit in the face with a tomato and I suddenly found myself standing on my couch yelling “food fight!”
Once the food fight kicks in, Mattei doesn’t let up on the gas for the next 80 minutes, giving us one awesome set piece of sleaze and violence after another. What I liked about this movie was that Mattei held nothing back for any kind of big finish. (Which was good since the movie didn’t have a big finish.)
Women’s Prison Massacre knows you probably have a family that won’t be patient enough to put their lives on hold for you while you wait for Emanuelle to finally put that blonde tramp Albina in her place with some dinner time arm wrestling. Families can be selfish bastards that way. So it gives it to you almost immediately following the opening food fight! But not before the warden complains to Emanuelle about how her play sucks and utters that most famous of showbiz lines: “the show must NOT go on!”
It’s also around the big arm wrestling match that some of the movie’s other great dialogue gets uttered such as when Albina calls Emanuelle a “haughty hot-n-tot” and another gal says to Albina “I want to bite your nipples off!” And she’s not smiling when she says it either!
Now, unlike Over the Top and all those other big budget arm wrestling movies Hollywood likes to churn out every summer, Albina’s shocking loss to Emanuelle doesn’t end their rivalry! Why, there’s still the showdown in the shower where Emanuelle gets the better of Albina again by pulling her wig off of her! Then there’s still the showdown in the prison yard where Emanuelle gets the better of Albina by stabbing her with her own knife! And who could forget that we still have the showdown where Emanuelle gets the better of Albina again during a friendly game of Russian Roulette?
I think that Mattei must have somehow figured out a way to compress time with this movie because looking back, you would think that the four death matches that Albina and Emanuelle engaged in would have been more than enough action for a single three hour long wrestling pay-per-view, but here it wasn’t even the main story line in a movie that didn’t even last an hour and a half! This classic good-looking prisoner vs. skanky-hag prisoner dynamic only served as the backdrop against which a prison hostage situation involving four male criminals holed up in the prison played out!
They were Italy’s four most dangerous criminals! Robbery, rape, drug smuggling, murder, bad dubbing – their crimes a veritable catalog of the worst humanity has to offer! Their leader killed seven cops all by himself the last time they busted out of jail! Blade von Bauer is a maniac who kills with a razor blade while their leader is such a bad customer the press just calls him Crazy Boy! And so, while they await trial, they’ll be held in the women’s prison.
Sure, it sounds a bit questionable now. And in hindsight, things didn’t work out for anyone, but really who could have foreseen that bad guys dressed as cops would try to carjack that prison van on the way there? And kill two of the three cops guarding them?
And really, could any of us have predicted that while the lone surviving cop wasn’t paying attention that the prisoners would slash a guard’s throat and take the warden hostage? And could he have known that when he gave up his shotgun that they would have used it on him? It’s just one of those deals where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. And in the process, everything went right for a violence and sleaze craving audience! Easily stands with Violence In A Women’s Prison as one of the greatest women in prison movies that Mattei made in the early 1980s!
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