• Violence In A Women’s Prison

    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: May 8th, 2017.
    Director: Bruno Mattei
    Cast: Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti, Lorraine De Selle, Franca Stoppi
    Year: 1982
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    The Movie:

    In the late seventies and early eighties women in prison films were big business in Italy and playing in grindhouses across the world. They were made fast and cheap and concentrated less on actual storylines than on gratuitous set pieces that served as showcases for explicit sex and violence (often times both at once). In 1983, Mattei basically shot two films for the price of one and he churned out a pair of memorable women in prison films with Violence In A Women's Prison (also known as Caged Women and presented here by Severin Films in its proper uncut form) and Women's Prison Massacre. These films used many of the same story ideas, performers (both star Laura Gemser as Emanuelle!) and some of the same sets and crew members as well.

    Story-wise what's it all about? Emanuelle is to the big house, posing as a prostitute so that she can go undercover and submit a report on human rights violations – or something to that effect. Once she winds up on the bad side of the sadistic lesbian guard Rescaut (Franca Stoppi of Beyond The Darkness), who delights in making some of the other inmates like Kitty (Maria Romano) and Conseulo (Ursula Flores) get it on for her enjoyment. Emanuelle, however, befriends an older lady who keeps a cockroach for a pet and hits it off with Doctor Moran (Gabriele Tinti), who is an inmate at the connected men’s facility where a gay man who talks like Snagglepuss gets raped all the time. Adding to the insanity is the head warden (Lorraine De Selle), who struts about her chambers in sexy lingerie, peering at people through stained glass windows.

    Eventually Emanuelle is found out for the nosy reporter that she is, and things get bad for her. Oh, and at one point she’s attacked by a horde of black, red-eyed rats and some women fight on a floor covered in poop.

    Yep, this one has girl on girl poop wrestling in it. God bless you, Bruno Mattei.

    Reasonably quick in the pacing department and competently shot in some decent and admittedly effective locations, Violence In A Women’s Prison doesn’t break any new ground in the genre but it does what it does well enough to at least stand out as a memorable entry. The whole thing has an appropriately dire vibe to it, what with the decaying prison walls (some of which are painted a sickly shade of pink!) and the large cell doors looking like they haven’t been washed down in decades. Mattie might have been a hack, but he had a good eye for locations.

    Bug eyed Franca Stoppi is pretty great as the requisite lesbian prison guard. When she uses the inmates for her own sick pleasures, she really does look to be enjoying it. Her facial expressions are consistently over the top and she’s nothing if not an absolute asset to the picture. Gabriele Tinti plays the kindly doctor well enough. He’s charming, reasonably enthusiastic – just fine in the part. Lorraine De Selle vamps it up really nicely and looks great dolled up in her finest slinky attire. And at the center of all of this is poor Laura Gemser, a real glutton for punishment. She’s got great screen presence and plenty of appeal, playing the part with the utmost seriousness and sincerity and doing a more than fine job of it.


    Severin brings the picture to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer taken from “a 2k scan from an uncensored inter-positive” and while it shows some mild print damage throughout, it is a marked improvement over past DVD editions. Detail is never mind-blowing but it is more than decent. Colors look okay and skin tones are quite natural look. Dark scenes are occasionally pretty grainy but the image retains a film-like quality that purists should appreciate. There’s no evidence of any noise reduction or edge enhancement here and the disc is free of obvious compression artifacts.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono track has occasional pops on it that sound almost like a record needle dropping, but otherwise, the audio is okay. Dialogue is clean and clear and easy to follow, even if it does tend to be a little flat in the way that some older dubbed tracks are. Optional English subtitles are included.

    The main extra on the disc is an exclusive half hour featurette entitled Brawl In Women's Block which is an interview with co-director/co-writers Claudio Fragasso and Rossella Drudi. They talk about how they got into moviemaking, with Drudi explaining how she learned to use a Movieola and what she learned from Claudio. It’s clear that they have a strong affection for one another –it’s almost cute to watch them here (oh and watch for a cat tail that makes an appearance here and there at the bottom of the frame and then the full cat later on!) – and they also talk about working with Bruno Mattei and their experiences on set with him. They then go on to talk about the shooting of the feature and Women’s Prison Massacre around the same time, explaining what they had in common and why. From there they go on to talk about some of the cast members they worked with, being tricked by production companies, dealing with rights issues and, of course, Gemser herself. It’s an interesting and well put together interview.

    Severin has also included a three-minute archival interview (originally found on the old Media Blasters DVD release) with director Bruno Mattei wherein the late filmmaker shares some quick stories about making the film and working with a few of his collaborators on it. Rounding out the extras on the disc is a radio spot mislabeled on the menu screen as a trailer, menus and chapter selection. Severin has also supplied some nice reversible cover sleeve art for this release.

    The Final Word:

    Violence In A Women’s Prison doesn’t turn the genre on its head but it delivers everything you’d expect from a woman in prison movie in pretty healthy doses. Gemser is solid in the lead and her fans will appreciate how much screen time she gets, while the supporting players all hold their own in which is essentially an hour and a half long festival of sleaze. Severin’s Blu-ray looks and sounds pretty decent, and the new interview with Fragasso and Drudi is worth taking the time to appreciate. All in all, a nice upgrade over the previous DVD edition for an enjoyably depraved film!

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. moviegeek86's Avatar
      moviegeek86 -
      I enjoyed it but found it underwhelming compared to its sequel (Women's Prison Massacre)
    1. bflocket's Avatar
      bflocket -
      Quote Originally Posted by moviegeek86 View Post
      I enjoyed it but found it underwhelming compared to its sequel (Women's Prison Massacre)
      A lot of that is Ursula Flores...

      Consuela is whiny and annoying. Albina is a bitch from Hell but makes WPM infinitely more fun.