• True Story Of A Woman In Jail: Sex Hell

    Released by: Impulse Pictures
    Released on: April 10, 2012.
    Director: Koyu Ohara
    Cast: Kozue Hitomi, Seri Kaori, Hiromi Maya, Aoki Machiko
    Year: 1975
    Purchase From TLA Video

    The Movie:

    The second entry in what a lot of us are hoping will be a long and storied series of Nikkatsu Roman Porno DVD releases from Impulse Pictures is 1975’s True Story Of A Woman In Jail: Sex Hell. Directed by Koyu Ohara, the same man who made the notorious Fairy In A Cage (fingers crossed this one gets an official North American release soon so we can toss those grey market copies in the trash!) and Sins Of Sister Lucia, a pseudo nunsploitation picture released stateside by Mondo Macabro, this is a fast paced and sleazy little women in prison film that holds up well close to forty years after it was made.

    The story follows the exploits of an unfortunate woman named Mayumi (Kozue Hitomi) whose loser boyfriend let her take the rap and who winds up in the big house for a crime she didn’t exactly commit. It’s complicated. Regardless, she’s locked up with a bunch of other hot Japanese female convict types, all of whom are none too pleased with the stern warden who rules the roost with a typically iron fist. After she’s been put through the ringer a few times, well, she decides that enough is enough and it’s time for her to start plotting the obligatory prison escape – but will she make it out of there before she’s caught?

    Chock full of sex and nudity, True Story Of A Woman In Jail: Sex Hell may or may not actually be a true story (we’re leaning towards ‘not’) but once it starts, you honestly won’t care. Ohara keeps things moving at a brisk pace, spicing up the fairly standard women in prison plot with enough naked ladies in precarious situations to keep even seasoned fans of the genre intrigued. On top of that, like so many of its Roman Porno brethren, the movie is quite accomplished on a technical level. It won’t surprise anyone familiar with these films to find that the ‘naughty bits’ are blocked or covered anytime you think the movie is going to go there but Ohara gets some serious bonus points for getting creative in this department and unlike a lot of other, similar movies it isn’t all too distracting this time around.

    Front and center in all of this nuttiness is the gorgeous Kozue Hitomi, a lean and lithe little things whose screen presence periodically comes close to matching the intensity of Japanese WIP film goddess Mako Kaji. Not that we’re saying she comes close, not that she succeeds, but A for effort. She looks great and has a smoldering intensity to her part that ensures it’s a role you won’t soon forget. The film delivers most of what you’d expect from a typical WIP film – lecherous lesbians looking for love in all the wrong places, a nasty warden, some obligatory bathing scenes, probing medical types and lots of girl on girl violence with a sometimes sexualized twist. Add to that an unforgettable scene in which the ‘Queen Bee’ of the prison (Seri Kaori) exerts her dominance by having her minions piss all over Mayumi shortly after she settles in to her new digs (the first of a few water sports scenes in the fiml!). The film throws in a few flashbacks to give most of the characters at least some minor background information, but never really grips you with the plot, instead the film is content to keep you happy with a series of twisted set pieces, not necessarily a bad thing. If this one isn’t breaking a whole lot of new ground, it definitely succeeds in giving you pretty much everything you’d want and throws in some more just for good measure. Throw in a great soundtrack and the expected vocal crooning over the credits (a flower is torn… into three pieces – you’ll be singing along in no time) and this one comes up a winner.


    Sex Hell looks great in this 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are handled well and look quite natural as do skin tones, of which there are loads on display. Black levels aren’t quite inky deep but they’re strong and detail is pretty good across the board. There are no issues with print damage to complain about and overall this is a clean, sharp, good looking picture,

    The Japanese language Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track is crisp and clean though occasionally just a tiny bit shrill. The levels are well balanced and there are no issues with hiss or distortion. The optional English subtitles that are provided are free of any typos and easy to read. This won’t floor you but it sounds fine.

    Extras on the disc are limited to a menu, chapter selection and… that’s it. Not even a trailer. Inside the case, however, is an insert containing original poster art for the feature and liner notes from film scholar/author Jasper Sharp that provide some details on the Japanese take on the women in prison genre as well as the cast and crew who worked on this film.

    The Final Word:

    More extras would have been welcome but let’s face it, the market for this type of stuff is pretty fringe at best and it’s fairly amazing that it’s getting released at all. More importantly, the movie looks and sounds great on this DVD and the film itself is an awesome one. This is women in prison done right and with a uniquely Japanese slant and one you’ll want to definitely check out if you’ve got an interest in this type of material.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. sgtpeppers's Avatar
      sgtpeppers -
      Picked up this and Debauchery from Synapse over the weekend at Cinema Wasteland.