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Women’s Prison Massacre (Blu-ray Review)

Womens-Prison-MassacreFeaturing master of exploitation Bruno Mattei’s (Cruel Jaws, Rats: Night of Terror) signature flourishes and a script co-written by Claudio Fragasso (Troll 2, Beyond Darkness), Women’s Prison Massacre is a brutal and uncompromising entry in one of cinema’s most infamous genres.  This 1980s Italian exploitation classic makes its Blu-ray debut on December 8th, 2015 courtesy of Scream Factory. Fans can pre-order their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory.com.  Mattei hauls his unique cinematic stylings to the slammer in Women’s Prison Massacre!  It’s exploitation in its most definitive form.

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Film 

Sultry reporter Emanuelle is on the verge of breaking a big story about a corrupt politician when she gets framed and sent to a women’s prison. There, incarcerated women face unspeakable cruelty and inhumane conditions — and that’s before a quartet of dangerous men are temporarily transferred to the facility! When the felonious four overpower the guards and take over, it’s up to Emanuelle and her fellow inmates to take control of the prison — and their very lives.

Coming from Bruno Mattei, this movie did not disappoint in terms of expectation.  And I always get a chuckle when I see frequent collaborator Claudio Fragasso’s name attached to a film (He’s the director of the infamous and glorious “Best Worst Movie” Troll 2).  Women’s Prison Massacre is a grindhouse exploitation in every sense of the word.  Its chocked full of nudity, dirty sex, crude violence, gore and Italian performers poorly dubbed over with American actors.  The film’s story is a superfluous and rather blah in terms of things, its a means to get to a scandalous end.

Being a newbie to this one, I didn’t realize it was actually part of a larger series of movies.  Who remembers those late night Cinemax excursions from overseas that were called Emmanuelle.  You know, the movies about that globe trotting woman who James Bonded her way through conquests but with no real secret mission to get behind.  This is actually one of those movies.  I’m not talking later stuff like the Emmanuelle In Space TV series, the real foreign films deal.  Apparently there are multiple interpretations and choose your own adventure ways to go on the series, but this one’s lead actress playing Emmanuelle had played the role multiple times and one of the films alternate (original) titles included the character’s name.

If we had a Joe Bob Brigg’s Drive In scorecard for the film, it would check off every box on the list multiple times over.  This is pure exploitative trash cinema.  Not all people are fans of this, but for those who understand and can appreciate it, this seems to  be hitting strides in all categories.  Personally, it started getting a little long in the tooth for me, but the film does end on quite the high note, with some shocking brutality, gore and a painful sex trick (And strangely some zombie-like stuff).  For those who know how to take something like this or is a connoisseur of all things schlockmeister Bruno Mattei can offer, its right up that alley.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Considering this is probably being sourced from some pretty dated and poor sources, I think Scream Factory did a really nice job. The image is naturally soft, but still contains plenty of detail.  Close ups really show some good texture on clothing and surfaces.  Also, the gore looks pretty delicious.

Depth:  This is more on the flat side of things.  Movements are cinematic and contain a little bit of blur with crowded, quicker movments. Background imagery doesn’t fare the best.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and a bit more grain consumes in darker areas.  No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are pretty flat for the most part in the film.  Mostly a set of browns, beiges and the like.  Red, when it comes to blood does steal the show when it pops up.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones take on a slight warmer appearance and manage a consistent look throughout.  Facial details are more apparent in close ups.

Noise/Artifacts:  Some grain, specs and dirt.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  This is a dated sounding 2.0 audio track.  While its as clear as I’m sure it could be on a reasonable budget, its not the loosest or most balanced attack.  Still, if you’re a fan of Italian exploitation/grindhouse/drive-in films, you’ve come to expect a certain kind of quality.  And I’ll say that this one is right up there with many of them and average for that type of film.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is very analog sounding, but clear enough and loud enough.  Please note that this film is completely dubbed and the words struggle to match the lips of the speaker at many points.

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Extras 

Women’s Prison Massacre features no supplemental material.

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Summary 

Another Bruno Mattei exploit to Blu-ray.  Women’s Prison Massacre has it all; boobs, sex, violence, blood, brutality, gore, silly dialogue, dubbing…even some sequences that seem straight out of an Italian zombie film.  Scream Factory brings it to Blu-ray for the first time and while no extras come with it, it has a decent presentation in the audio and video department.  However, fans of the film will likely just be happy that the movie even made the jump and respect what quality it did get and the fact that they can have it with no extras rather than not having it at all.  This is niche a recommend for fans of Mattei and this film only.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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