• Virgins From Hell (Mondo Macabro) DVD Review

    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: January 31st, 2006.
    Director: Ackyl Anwari
    Cast: Enny Beatrice, Yenny Farida, Leily Sagita, Nina Anwar, Ratna Debby, Yetty Laurens, Harry Capri, Uckie Kartolo
    Year: 1987
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    Virgins From Hell – Movie Review:

    Indonesian exploitation and action movies always somehow manage to be a lot of fun. Maybe it's the reckless disregard for things like continuity and plot, or maybe it's the quality of performers that they land to star in their shoot'em up vehicles, or maybe it's the costumes that look like they were salvaged out of an eighties era Goodwill but whatever it is, it's a lot of fun - even if sometimes that fun is had at the expense of others who may or may not have been trying really hard to make a 'good' movie.
    The wonderfully tacky Virgins From Hell tells the tale of a gang of female bikers with big hair-sprayed do's and latex/pvc halter top action suits who, for reasons that are really never made all that clear, head into the thick of the dangerous jungle where they launch and all-out assault on the secret stronghold of the notorious (at least, we assume he's notorious, why else would they be attacking him?) and nefarious Mr. Tiger. It seems that Mr. Tiger has been peddling drugs to the locales and that's something that these kittens with oh so sharp claws just aren't going to tolerate any more so they aim to blow up his drug den/casino and leave it a steaming pile of smoking, smoldering rubble.

    The girls' surprise attack doesn't go as planned though, and soon enough, Mr. Tiger and his gang of evil and poorly dressed mercenary henchmen types have captured the lovely ladies and imprisoned them in his underground prison facility. It's here that the girls learn of his latest scheme - it seems that Mr. Tiger intends to take over the worldwide market for aphrodisiacs with his latest narcotic and he intends to test the results of his goods on the gals! To make matters worse, there's a - gasp - lesbian prison warden working in the employ of Mr. Tiger, and she's going to have her way with the girls whether they like it or not!

    That's not all he's after though, no way - Mr. Tiger isn't that easy to satiate. Seeing as the girls were able to cruise into the jungle on motorbikes and find him just like that, Mr. Tiger figures that there just might be more to the reasoning behind their attack than just the latest salvo fired in the war on drugs and so he decides to torture a few of the girls to get more information out of them. These torture set pieces, as crazy and depraved as it may sound, are the highlights of a film full of highlights as they prove to be not only tasteless and bizarre, but also quite creative! Who would think to interrogate a woman by putting her in a giant sack with a live mongoose inside? Who would think to strap a woman to a spit and roast her over an open fire like a slab of pork? Who would think to lift a girl up and swing her into a mass of barbed wire? Mr. Tiger, that's who. The guy definitely wins points for originality in the torture department. Eventually it comes out that Mr. Tiger killed the parents of the two leaders of the biker gang, and now they're out to not only stop him from ruining the free market for competing aphrodisiac manufacturers, but also to exact their bloody revenge on him for orphaning them at a young age.

    Eventually the girls have had about all they can take of his crap and they decide that it's time to fight back and put a stop to his evil ways. Mr. Tiger is tough, evil, and smart, however, and there's no way he's just going to let them get up and walk out of his underground prison compound without putting up one Hell of a fight - and that's exactly what he does as the movie winds its way to the inevitable showdown between good and evil.

    What a loopy film this is. Not quite as trashy as other Asian women in prison films, Virgins From Hell never the less manages to hit all the required fields on the sub-genre checklist and it does so with oodles of crazy style. The movie is packed full of action and even if we don't necessarily always know why it's taking place, the important thing here is that it is taking place and that it's being executed by girls in tight outfits with big hair and bad one liners.

    If virginal biker girls who have never known the touch of a man aren't enough to peak your interest, check out some of the sets! The underground prison facility looks like the walk through area where you stand in line to get on the Pirates Of The Caribbean ride at Disneyland, and certain areas of Mr. Tiger's compound feature shag carpeting not only on the floor, but also on the walls. Then there's Mr. Tiger himself - at times dressed like a villain from a Zorro film, he certainly makes for a diabolical antagonist, even if it wouldn't be too hard to call some of his methods into question.

    In the end, Virgins From Hell is a fast paced and completely kooky action film with plenty of trash appeal and unintentional hilarity. It won't impress with its scope, depth, or art direction but it will keep you entertained for the better part of an hour and a half and possibly deliver some fashion tips along the way.

    Virgins From Hell – DVD Review:

    Virgins From Hell was one of the first Indonesian exploitation films to not look like garbage on home video. Mondo Macabro offered it up in a very nice 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. While there are some flaws in the elements used for the transfer, they're thankfully quite mild and aside from some minute instances of print damage here and there and a little bit of color fading in a few spots, things look great. There's plenty of background and foreground detail present in the image, the black levels stay pretty strong throughout, and there aren't any serious problems with mpeg compression artifacts or edge enhancement to whine and complain about, given that this DVD is more than a decade old.

    The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track gets things done. The dubbing adds to the deliriousness of the whole experience and while it sometimes doesn't synch up perfectly with the actors and actresses on screen, it's close enough and it fits the tone of the movie nicely. The score comes through with a sufficient amount of punch and there are no problems with the levels or with hiss or distortion on this release.

    For the first time thus far in the company's history, Mondo Macabro has released a two disc set! Not content to simply give us the film and a few tidbits of bonus goodness, they've delved deep into the vaults and added more, more, more! Here's what you'll be drooling over once you slap this naughty puppy into your player...


    While most of the extras are on the second disc, the first disc does include the original theatrical trailer for Virgins From Hell, an essay from Pete Tombs that details the background of the film and gives a nice overview of the 'women in prison' sub-genre of exploitation films, a brief disc credits screen, and the requisite Mondo Macabro promo reel (newly updated to include their recent Turkish pop cinema double feature!)


    The first supplement on the second disc comes in the form of a documentary on Indonesian exploitation films. This is the same documentary that graced their PAL Region 0 release of Mystics In Bali, so it's been seen before, but for those without that fine disc or without PAL capability, it'll be brand new and it proves to be well worth its weight in gold. There are interviews with plenty of the people involved in the Indonesian movie scene (including Raam Punjabi) as well as clips from plenty of the films that they made including a few of the highly popular The Warrior films, Mystics In Bali, and many more. Clocking in at roughly twenty-five minutes in length, this piece does a fine job of putting these cinematic oddities in cultural and historical context and explaining some of what makes these films so unique in a way that proves to be bother interesting and entertaining.

    The complete list of trailers, culled from the Rapi Films vaults, included on the second disc in this set is as follows:

    The Snake Queen (starring Barry Prima!), The Devil's Sword, the holy quadrilogy of The Warrior, The Warrior And The Ninja, The Warrior Against The Blind Swordsman, The Blind Warrior (all of which star the inimitable Barry Prima, star of such illustrious titles as Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters, for which, sadly, there is no trailer included but it's out on DVD from Troma), Virgins From Hell shows up again, Escape From Hell Hole, Blazing Battle, Hell Raiders (with Barry Prima!), Tiger Commandos, Freedom Force, Daredevil Commandos, The Terrorists, Final Score, Violent Killer, Bloody Vengeance, Revenge Of Ninja, Primitives (a really bloody one starring Barry Prima again... the guy got around!), Slave Of Satan, and last but most certainly not least, the one and only Mystics In Bali.

    Some of these aren't in the best of shape and some of these have been taken from VHS sources, but given the relative obscurity of this material and the availability of proper elements to work with, that's completely understandable and each and every one of these fine little promo spots is perfectly watchable. Many of these are insanely gory, all of them are packed full of action, and with a combined running time of just under seventy-minutes in length, there's plenty of fun to be had here just sifting through the trailers on their own. It also really serves to further one's appreciation for the sheer ballsiness of Barry Prima and his amazing skills in front of the camera. The man rivals The Stabilizer himself, Peter O'Brian, for sheer coolness.

    If there's one thing that this material confirms, it's that not enough Indonesian cinema has been properly released domestically. Sure, there have been a few titles here and there and this material has long been a staple of the gray market but seeing the movie uncut and in widescreen alongside a plethora of trailers for other, linked minded releases, had an incredibly salivating effect on this reviewer. Our appetites have been whet, let's hope that releases like this do well enough to warrant follow ups and soon.

    Everything is all wrapped up nicely underneath some keen comic book panel styled menus that follow the same format as the Turkish Pop Cinema Double Feature. The trailer section is available to watch one trailer at a time, or via a handy dandy 'play all' feature. The movie itself comes with chapter stops, as should be expected.

    Virgins From Hell - The Final Word:

    Foxy eighties ladies decked out in pleather and latex PVC vinyl trapped in a jungle with only their wits, their motorbikes, and their machine guns to depend on? All re-mastered in 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen? With seventy-minutes of trailers and a documentary to boot? You'd be a bigger fool than those guys in the American Hippy In Israel trailer if you let this one pass you by. Consider Virgins From Hell a mandatory purchase if you want to be part of the Cool Kids Club.