Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

It seemed like a dream made in movie exploitation movie heaven. A Woman in Prison flick AND a Black Emanuelle movie. Lord, what good could I have possibly done to have you smile upon me like this on this fine day? Then we watch the movie, a Black Emanuelle in prison movie, and through the course of its running time we notice some rather odd things. Things like a story, a plot, dialog that seems somewhat relevant to the plot and most shocking of all, the raven haired beauty with the copper skin and perfect cheekbones, one Laura Gemser, keeps her clothes on. I’m not quite sure how to take this.

Our film opens with some kind of wacky performance art style play in which three women, Laura (Maria Romano), Irene (Antonella Giacomini) and Emanuelle each drone on about some complete and total nonsense. The camera pulls back to reveal an audience looking on as the three women are on a stage at a woman’s correctional facility, and are soon joined onstage by the incredibly difficult to look at Albina (Ursula Flores). Albina says in effect that this performance was crap and pelts Emanuelle with a tomato to the grill which sparks a full blown riot. Now it wasn’t cool what Albina just did, but she was right on the money with her critical review of Emanuelle and her girlfriends ‘performance art’.

Seems our hard hitting reporter Emanuelle has been thrown in jail for drug dealing, via events from a previous movie I believe, by the crooked District Attorney when he’s the one actually dealing dope and he is using his contacts within the prison to hopefully silence Emanuelle forever. What dude doesn’t know is that this is one tough broad, despite the fact she’s wafer thin, beautiful to distraction, and is more than stout enough to withstand the abuse of the warden, her sadistic guards and the evil Albina - who you would think would be getting tired of getting her ass repeatedly kicked in by Emanuelle.

Across town a quartet of crazed murderers, in particular cop killer ‘Crazy Boy’ Henderson (Gabriel Tinti) is being carted to another prison, in a prison van, to face the death penalty for their various crimes against humanity while being guarded by the erstwhile Sergeant Anderson (Carlo de Mejo). Some fake cops try to derail the The Sarge who handles his business quite adequately, but the van drivers are dead and he is forced to travel to the nearby women’s prison to hold these goons while they wait extradition to the electric chair.

As you can imagine, eventually these four blood thirsty criminals overwhelm the sarge and the two female guards, who I guess are supposed to protect an entire prison system, and now these criminals are running things and they are forcing the crooked D.A.’s hand to deal them to safety. While holed in the women’s prison these thugs sample the female population, choke bitches, slap bitches, rape bitches, violently squash rescue attempts and then go ‘Deer Hunter’ on us forcing the bitches to play Russian Roulette. All the while Emanuelle stays strong, assists the severely wounded Sergeant Henderson and has something special for that Evil District Attorney if she makes out of this mess alive, all the while keeping her clothes on. WTF!?!

So I’m watching this movie and we’re a good fifteen minutes into the narrative and I haven’t seen a naked woman yet. Very strange. Then there was a plot starting to develop and a reasonable story line that was making sense and following a logical dramatic arc. Seriously, I’m asking myself when in the hell is the insatiable Emanuelle going to get horny and naked and take a shower with one of her cell mates? Not gonna happen. Apparently, unlike my man the late Joe D’Amato who made the bulk of his name crafting hardcore pornography, the recently late Bruno Mattei, who has directed his own fair share of porno, fancies himself a legitimate filmmaker and has shockingly made a legitimate Emanuelle movie. Not that ‘Emanuelle in Prison’ is lacking in its exploitative elements as there is nudity, sex, a little lesbianism and a touch of debauchery, but Mattei presents very little of this in a titillating fashion as much of it is violent, rough and laced with brutality.

The acting in the movie wasn’t much better than you’re average Emanuelle movie which had its usual helping of Italians hamming it up for the camera, though Laura Gemser was really low key in this film, perhaps at 35 sensing it was time to wrap up Emanuelle and wind it on down. But if one to were to award an Oscar for chewing up a scene we would certainly supply this award to Gemser’s late Husband Gabriel Tinti who was so ridiculously over the top as ‘Crazy Boy’ Henderson, it’s almost worth the price of a rental by itself. Tinti preens, cackles, howls, rapes and then has a really strange tear-filled emotional outburst during the Russian Roulette scene which capped off what had to be one of the most bizarre performance in the history of exploitation films. Then there was possibly the lamest foot chase scene I’ve ever seen as two dudes, all shot up, limped after each other for what felt like an eternity, which certainly didn’t seem like much of a climax from my standpoint.

Like I said, if you watch this film expecting your usual helping of Emanuelle nonsense, there’s no ping pong balls or horse masturbation or breast getting cut off in this one, just a standard story told in normal way that takes place in a prison. Truth be told this is probably the best of all the Emanuelle movies I’ve seen to this point, just as the series was coming to its end.

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