Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Werewolf in a Women’s Prison
“You sound like a bad movie to me”. I quite agree, love, you also look like a bad movie, and no amount of postmodernism can change that.
This film was a real surprise. As is my wont, I made the decision to watch it based entirely on the title, with little in the way of expectations. If anything, I was anticipating a painful and boring couple of hours that would be enlivened by the odd boob sighting and intermittent grisly murders. I was expecting lousy special effects, terrible acting and direction, mind numbing tedium, irritation and as such I was kind of regretting my decision to watch it the moment it started. What I was not expecting was a clever script full of homages to other werewolf films, a reasonable amount of chuckles and a huge amount of lesbianism. Funny how things work out.
Werewolf in a Women’s Prison opens with a nod to Dog Soldiers, with a couple (Sarah and John)in the throws of foreplay while camping. When will people learn that camping in movies, especially schlock, inevitably leads to gruesome death? Anyhow, a werewolf pitches up, fucks the boyfriend up good and proper, before our ginger heroine accidentally kills it with a silver-laced bottle of vodka. Next thing she knows she wakes up in prison in the mythical country of (groan) Campunia. The evil camp commandant, Juan, and his dominatrix second in command, Rita, are exploiting the unusually hot prison population for a sordid website. Sarah is plagued by visions of dead John telling her to kill herself before full moon, which she ignores, before the inevitable happens and all hell breaks loose. Eventually Sarah infects her only friend/ new lesbian lover, Rachel, before being gunned down with a silver bullet.
The acting in this film is, and there’s no putting this one nicely, shit. The girls were clearly cast on the basis of their willingness to get naked for the camera, and the men (with a few exceptions that I’ll come to in a minute) are either massively overacting or borderline narcoleptic. However, I’d like to single out Sean Cain as John and Al Burke as “Badger” for standing head and shoulders above the material. Cain in particular really understands that he’s basically there to rip off American Werewolf in London wholesale, and really throws his heart into it. The most enjoyable scenes of the film all involve him and his increasingly forlorn attempts to convince Sarah that suicide is not only painless but necessary. Burke, on the other hand, realises that he’s in a low rent piece of schlock and as such chews the scenery at every opportunity. Fine performances from the pair of them.
I first began to suspect that this wasn’t a complete bucket of shit sans bucket, with the title sequence- they went to the bother of drawing up fake comic book style credits that work a treat. It’s clever and knowing and much to my surprise, actually quite fun. The film continues in this vein, chucking around references with abandon and nodding to the audience at almost every opportunity. I haven’t seen many of the 1970’s women in prison films, but I bet that it’s chock full of references to them as well.
So far it all sounds quite accomplished. It isn’t. The vast majority of the film is little more than an excuse for nudity and faux-lesbianism. There’s a particularly risible scene where Juan punishes Sarah and Rachel by sticking them in the middle of the desert in their underwear. This, obviously, necessitates the two women licking the sweat off each other in a futile and misguided attempt to ward off dehydration- I bet that’s not taught in US Marine survival manuals. This kind of thing is always entertaining in a film, but really, you can have too much of it.
Then there’s the werewolf itself. The transformation sequence is quite well done, much to my surprise, with the wolf not actually transforming. Rather it sheds the outer skin completely. This is a good idea, and I wonder why I haven’t seen it done before. Unfortunately, the wolf itself looks terrible. It looks exactly like a large man in a foam rubber costume. Which, to be fair, it is.
Overall, would I recommend this? Well, I might if I was drunk enough. It’s quite good fun, and the references are clever and enjoyable, but really, and I hate to repeat myself, at the end of the day it is soft porn with some terrible gore thrown around. By no means the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but not terribly accomplished.
Until next time,