In all the annals of exploitation cinema, there has never been anything quite like it: Take a luscious young bride (beautiful Playboy centerfold Ursula Fellner) thrust into a brutal prison camp by a sadistic woman warden (the stunning transsexual adult film star Ajita Wilson). Add generous helpings of lesbian lust, bestial perversion and some very extreme violence. Then mix in a jaw-dropping performance by the film’s controversial director as a degenerate white slaver. Do you dare take a forbidden taste of the wildest women-in-prison movie ever made?
eyelights: its pretty, naked women. some of its photography.
eyesores: its thin plot. its storytelling. its performances. its el-cheapo production.
Newlyweds Olga and Michael are driving around and decide to stop on the side of the road for a quick make-out session. Unfortunately for them, they’ve trespassed on a prison’s private property.
But it’s not just any prison: it’s an all-female jail with female guards and a female warden. At this facility, the prisoners are forced to do hard labour topless and are frequently used as sex slaves.
Though Michael is released, Olga is in for a Hell of a time!
God… I don’t know why I thought that it would be a good idea to pick up this picture…
1. I really don’t like seeing women being abused.
2. I don’t especially like Jesús Franco’s films.
3. I knew that “women in prison” films are exploitative.
So what possessed me to get a five-movie collection called ‘Bad Girls Behind Bars’, then?
!@#$ if I know.
But I watched ‘Sadomania – Hölle der Lust’, Franco’s 1981 sleaze-fest, with low expectations, thinking it was barely an hour-long, figuring that I could fit it in my schedule and get it over with.
And, boy, was it a surprise!
Firstly, it wasn’t nearly as violent as these movies are reputed to be. Thank goodness for that. Secondly, it relied on nudity far more than it does on explicitness. I can very much live with that.
But it is a sleazy picture.
Though it’s not especially explicit, the women find themselves in all sorts of depraved situations, like being used as game by the warden and the governor, being sold as sex slaves, that sort of thing.
‘Sadomania’ is essentially a collection of small vignettes barely tied together by Michael’s plan to rescue Olga – and even that is poorly handled by Franco, who can’t seem to keep his thin plot together.
For instance, when Michael and his friend return to rescue Olga, they arrive at dusk. Then a number of other scenes take place that suggest night has passed. Then Michael’s rescue is in the day.
But what the heck was he doing all night? Where did his buddy disappear to suddenly? Why are the guards so pathetically incompetent? Why did they wait half of the movie to come for Olga, anyway?
Then they go to rescue Olga’s friends, and yet another nighttime scene runs past us, as the warden has her way with one of the prisoners. And then only later do Michael and Olga rescue her friends.
In all honesty, though, I must have been really tired because I was mixing up all the blonde bimbettes. I got so confused that I thought Olga got killed at one point. So maybe it’s me, not the movie.
Well, it may be me, but it’s also the movie: it was an über-low budget production, in which they couldn’t even afford proper fake mustaches. I still believe that the prisoners were topless to save money.
To make matters worse, this copy of the film featured an unbelievably bad English overdub, instead of the original Spanish track. And there isn’t any overdubbing at all at the 1h25-27m mark.
Still, the picture has its hilarious bits, such as a guard and prisoner being punished for fighting… by being forced to fight to the death.
Or Michael shooting the Governor and then his maid checking in because “I thought I’d heard shots”.
Or Michael not lending Olga his shirt after the rescue.
And the sight of all the lovely ladies in cutoff jean shorts (that were designed to highlight their lovely rears) was something to behold. And let’s not forget the sexy girl-on-girl “plot advancement”.
Oh yeah! ‘Sadomania – Hölle der Lust’ is one for the ages. It’s gripping stuff, really, masterful storytelling. I couldn’t possibly recommend it enough – if you like amateur hour sleazefest productions.
With low enough expectations, anything goes, I guess.
Date of viewing: June 23, 2017