Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

As the end credits roll for this little Filipino based Women In Prison flick ‘The Jail: A Woman’s Hell’ begin to scroll, there some cat listed as playing ‘The Sadist’. They might’ve wanted to be just a little more specific here because that bastard could’ve been just about anybody in this movie. Is this sadist one of the female guards of this institution, or maybe it’s the guy that cut off that chicks titty and drank the blood that ran out, or maybe it’s one of the five guys that nearly lost their minds watching the chained woman get raped by a snake… and there are more potential sadists to choose from. The Sadist… please. I think all the experts in the room know the only real sadist is the late great Bruno Mattei who fashioned this WIP movie before he exited the planet in 2007 to join the likes of Joe D’Amato and Bitto Albertini to make that great Italian exploitation film in the sky. Or that other place. Is ‘The Jail: A Woman’s Hell’ a good movie? You’re not seriously asking me this are you? But we would be lying if we didn’t inform you that it does have its charms.

Crazy attractive Yvette Yzon headlines our movie as the character of Jennifer, one of three women on a ferry to a prison in the Philippines known as the House of Lost Souls. We don’t know exactly what Jennifer did to gain admission to the House of Lost Souls, but she claims she did whatever her two colleagues did and a whole lot more. You know you can’t have a decent WIP flick without a sadistic warden and the rotund warden of this facility is particularly ill tempered. Observe as our three young ladies enter the grounds and watch the young lady get pulled out of ‘The Hole’ and get strung up and given twenty lashes because she had the nerve to die while in The Hole. Yes, she is beating a dead bitch. Oh, and get used to hearing the word ‘bitch’ a lot. A lot.

Also, since it’s a WIP flick there are orifices that need to be examined by crazy doctors, and there are showers to take, and there are playmates to meet, there are terrible living quarters to investigate and naturally there has to be some lesbian love. Stock WIP.

Things start to change a bit when we meet The Governor (Jim Gaines) who has a little prostitution side hustle going on with The Warden and would like Jennifer and her friends to join his stable. Working for The Governor makes things a little easier and plus it gets us out of the Jail and in The Governor’s club. Watching actress Yvette Yzon dancing on that stage, one gets the strange sensation that this is something the woman has done before. Almost worth the price of admission all by itself. Anyway, The Governor is so impressed with Jennifer’s skills that he wants her to work for him full time. Jennifer rebuffs his initial advance but after the snake incident and with Jennifer seeing an escape opportunity, she rethinks her position. But The Governor is no fool and knows the 411, but he sees Jennifer’s perceived opportunity as an opportunity for him and his sadistic friends. And now a Woman In Prison movie has turned into a low budget version of The Most Dangerous Game with a dash of Cannibal Holocaust as ho’s on the run flee in terror from crazy dudes with high powered rifles. I do not have words in my limited vocabulary to describe what happens next.

So here’s what you are getting here… One ho on the run breaks free from her group, against the advice of the wise Jennifer, and runs into the local savages and the crazy hunters. They shoot her six times with shotguns. I’m thinking that while that may suck for her, at least she won’t get raped like her colleagues have been. Oh damn… I would be mistaken. And there you go, ‘The Jail: A Woman’s Hell’. No, this isn’t what one could classically term ‘a good movie’ considering a large portion of the acting is some of the worse you will ever see, the dialog would be equally as bad if it wasn’t for the times it was hysterically funny, with this terrible dialog often coupled with gawdawful voice dubbing and it also features a narrative that seems to ‘winging it’, making itself up as it is going along. And while those ingredients do make for a movie that won’t win any meaningful awards, but in the hands of an experienced exploitation master such as the late Bruno Mattei, it does make for a movie that is a lot of the time a lot of fun. Of course I feel like crap calling a movie that features a woman impaled on a stake ‘a lot of fun’ but it’s the context… know what I’m saying?

You see Bruno never overestimated the kind of movie he was making and he always worked within the parameters that he was given. I’m pretty sure when the film crew arrived in the Philippines they had no idea what kind of movie they were going to shoot, at least not exactly, but with Bruno Mattei making shit up as they were going along while focusing on the core elements… that being naked Asian women… you have a film that might be crap, but it still manages to meet and even sometimes exceed the expectations of exploitation. If that makes any kind of sense.

Bruno Mattei and his laundry list of pseudonyms will be missed for we will no longer get self-aware madness like the kind we received in ‘The Jail: A Woman’s Hell’. And Yvette Yzon is a superstar in the making.

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