- Ghosts of Empire Prairie (2013) Review

Title: Escape From Hell

Also known as:
Femmine infernali (Original title)

Year: 1980

Genre: Exploitation / WIP / Adventure

Language: Italian / English (dubbed)

Runtime: 93 min

Director: Edoardo Mulargia

Writer: Sergio Chiusi


In a prison camp deep in the rain forest, women are punished and tortured by a warden and his guards. The prison camp doctor is the only sane one there, but after witnessing the violence over and over again he goes for the bottle. When the inmates have had enough, they seek the doctor for help to escape.

Our thoughts:
Director Edoardo Mulargia made a number of cult classics from the early '60s up until 1980 - such as a couple of "Django" flicks (not the original though). Towards the end of his career he made this cheesy, steaming, nudie-filled women in prison adventure. It's not the most notorious women in prison cult classic, but it certainly tries to disturb - something which I imagine it succeeded with back in the '80s. Now, of course, we mostly see trashy charm laying on top like the glaze on a donut. It's not common that exploitation flicks from this era have lasting power, but they are often entertaining for those who have an interest (which I do).

There's a female prison camp in the middle of a rain forest. An evil warden and his sadistic guards make the time spent in prison hell for the prisoners. Thought they are not angels themselves, having ended up there in the first place. But as per usual, some of them have been wrongly convicted. That's not to say that these are nice girls. They are sexually charged and seek to each other for comfort, but inside there's an anger burning. They start planning their escape with the help of the prison camp's drunken (but good hearted) doctor.

Once the prisoners escape, this women in prison movie turns into a jungle adventure. It's a fun little take on the WIP genre, though not bending it a lot. I think because the movie actually does show a serious side and has plenty of harsh scenes, it's easy to "enjoy" this movie more than many others. It's not a memorable movie at all, don't get me wrong, but at the moment of watching it there's plenty of reason to watch it until the end. Whether you watch it for the typical WIP scenes in the prison camp, the graphic love scenes amongst the prisoners, or the adventure twist towards the end, there's something to stay for. "Escape From Hell" has some violence and rape, but there isn't a whole lot of blood. You get a ton of sex, however. There's a ton of close-ups of the sweaty, lustful prisoners.

In the end, we've seen movies like it before, but "Escape From Hell" still manages to be entertaining. The characters are quite dynamic and while I didn't care who survived and who didn't, at least I saw personality in the characters. There's enough of exploitation traits to pull the right audience in, and I think most people who know what they are getting into will have an alright time with it. I'm not surprised that many other titles are mentioned before this one, though. In the end it's still following certain formulas and it doesn't have any lasting power. This was released by Njutafilms here in Sweden, but in America it's under the belt of Troma.

Positive things:
- Trashy and entertaining enough.
- Plenty of smut.
- At least the characters have personality, unlike many exploitation films.

Negative things:
- It's not very memorable.
- Follows formula and doesn't stand out enough.

Gore: 1/5
Nudity: 3.5/5
Story: 2/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 1.5/5

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