Edna is EVIL According to the “Reform School Girls!” Reviewed!


After being apprehended for robbery, underage Jenny is sentenced to 3 years at Pridemore reform school where she immediately clashes with an iron fisted dorm administrator named Edna and her intimate inmate enforcer Charlie Chambliss. With a few friends on the inside, Jenny’s group becomes the target of Edna’s biased infraction system and Charlie sets her domineering sights on breaking the girls’ wills into submissive followers. The school is controlled by an equally sadistic, evangelically abusive Warden Sutter and Jenny’s multiple attempts at reforming the reform school with the assistance of a sympathetic psychologist staff member, and even her attempt to escape, have failed with torturous consequences. As Edna tightens her grip, Jenny and the girls seethe more violently as the weeks pass up to an inevitable uprising, snapping the young girls’ spirits when enough is enough.

Wet, wild, and womanizing, Tom DeSimone’s 1986 satirically women in prison film, “Reform School Girls,” is a cavity invasive good time all around! DeSimone, who also penned the script, has a revolutionary background as a male gay porn filmmaker, but made the crossover into cult genre films after his successful runs with “Chatterbox” featuring exploitation starlet Candice Rialson and “Hell Night,” starring “Exorcist’s” Linda Blair. Yet, “Reform School Girls” is hardly separation from the director’s once moonlit experiences other than the cast is almost entirely made up of beautiful, naked women showering together and when they’re not fully nude and wet, they might as well be wearing nothing while cladded in skimpy outfits and lingerie as a few characters copulate insinuatingly instead of explicitly. The only thing DeSimone was probably uncomfortable with was his last two WIP features, “Concrete Jungle” and “Prison Girls,” as they struggled to find an appreciative audience and thus “Reform School Girls” was constructed to be a mockery of the whole WIP market, exploding it violently, and sensationally, with the genre tropes that, ironically, skyrockets this film’s cult success.

The incarcerated characters offer a wide variety of individualities that are ultimately filled by big personalities themselves. Sometimes, those personalities come with a little head scratching questions. Such is the case with lead actress Linda Carol who isn’t the headliner of the “Reform School Girls,” but she’s certainly one of the main leaders, Jenny, of an imprisoned pack. Born in 1970, Carol had to be no more than 14 to 16 years of age at filming and was cleared for a number of nude scenes, especially around other nude women, but Carol had fire in her performance; in fact, the cast from specified roles to the undesignated titled roles were all highly stimulating in their presence and demeanor. When first entering dorm 14, teased hair and underwear was the unofficial name of the scene that spoke about the genre of the decade in a matter of a few minutes. This is where we meet Charlie Chambliss, a buff, scantily-cladded, totalitarian gang leader of dormitory 14, played fluorescently by rocker Wendy O. Williams. The then mid-30-year-old Williams was a bit of a duck out of water in a role that was for a teenage girl, but the front woman of The Plasmatics was awfully charismatic, brash, and a real illustrated performer who exaggerated dramatics to the next welcoming level in her knee high platform boots. While Williams had sexy hot-to-trot flair, Pat Ast leisurewear offered nothing more than a dull white coat over matron garb, but Ast punctures through anything matriarchal and goes full blown maniacal as dorm keeper Edna. Ast goes over the top and beyond with a love to hate – scratch that – kill character. If you think the evil that embodies Charlie and Edna ends there, you’re wrong! “The Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf’s” Sybil Danning’s apex of evil, Warden Sutter, struts around the school like a German commandant with a soapbox of vile and wretched women in a perverted Biblical sense and mastermind behind the abusive culture at Pridemore. The cast concludes with Charlotte McGinnis, Sheri Stoner, Denise Gordy, Laurie Schwartz, Tiffany Helm (“Friday the 13th: A New Beginning”), Darcy DeMoss (“Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives”), and Winnifred Freedman.

Shooting from the hip on first viewing impressions, “Reform School Girls” is nothing like we’ve ever seen before. Sure, we’ve all see women in prison films, from “Big Bird Cage” to even making an argument on Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” and we’ve also see cheeky 1980’s comedy that if made today would be grossly lambasted with politically incorrect protestors. Yet, DeSimone’s satire take undercuts the stern nature of the WIP genre with great flamboyancy toward institutional exploitation and the ugly invasive issue of sodomy and rape that the themes can be easily pushed aside without so much of an inkling of consideration. Explosions, gunfire, skimpily dressed women, shower sequences, bitter tongue and cheek, and anything and everything that was omitted from grindhouse market place in this film constructs a smoke and mirrors effect that pivots sharply before getting ankle deep into the issues, no matter the severity just as long as Pat Ast crunches her face into a luffa shape and appoints a barely clothed inmate to a mandatory cavity search and the viewers would be just as captivated.

Umbrella Entertainment and Lakeshore Entertainment release the International Cinevision and New World Pictures production of “Reform School Girls” on a PAL 4 region DVD, presented in a widescreen, 1.77:1 aspect ratio; a slightly cropped version of the original film format. Whatever is cropped out is too trivial and the image picture supplies a palatable presentation with bold hues and bare, but naturally colored, skin tones, despite some fake tanning. One noticeable fleeting moment of an 35mm stock cigarette burn in the upper left corner of a scene, but in-and-out in a blink of an eye. The stereo 2.0 Dolby Audio mono track has balance that singles out the robust dialogue against a leveled down ambient and score recording. The range is good amongst all the reform girl chatter in the dorm rooms. A handful of shower and bathroom scenes have some muffled echoed moments, but the discord in these moments is still extremely low. Surprisingly, there isn’t one single bonus material on this disc, not even a static menu as the film goes right into play feature mode. “Reform School Girls” makes light of wretchedness, revels in the fun of unsavory fraternizing, and is unapologetic of a carnal and wicked tone on and off the screen, harboring one hell of a women in prison cinematic guilty pleasure.

Umbrella’s DVD is available for purchase at Amazon.com!

Gun Woman vs. Evil! “Gun Woman” review!

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A determined doctor pledges revenge after his wife fell victim to a crazy, sadistic, cannibalistic, sex-fiend killer. Known by only the Mastermind, his quest lures him to buy a junkie from an underground trafficking organization and trains her, without given her a choice, to be an lethal assassin. The Mastermind teaches her hand-to-hand combat, how to handle a handgun, and even how to survive surgical procedures in order to have the mechanical parts of a handgun implanted into various portions of her body and then abstract the bulky pieces when the time is right. The dastardly plan for assassination comes to fruition when the Mastermind’s target makes his rounds at a necrophilia and cannibalistic business called “The Room” where Gun Woman feigns her death to infiltrate and carry out the hit.
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“Gun Woman” is an insane Japanese action-thriller concept from the mind of a relatively new director Kurando Mitsutake. From this reviewer’s point of view, Mitsutake’s film is much more tame compared to the other numerous Japanese’s extreme and unthinkable plot lines. Basically, the Japan film industry produces three solid genres that hover around outside the realm of their mega-popular Japanese Adult Video and Pinku markets: Dramatic noris involving a various range of characters from gangsters to samurais, the Americanized popular ghost films such as Ringu or Ju-on, and the outrageous, ultra-violent films, spreading amongst various sub-genres from action to horror. “Gun Woman” suits the latter category with it’s necrophilia, super-soaking blood, rape and torture, cannibalism, and the odd jobs of the reproductive body parts. Remember when I said that “Gun Woman” is the fairly tame?
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The Maxam produced film stars the ever gorgeous actress Asami of “Machine Girl” fame. You may remember my last Asami film review for the Pink Eiga released “Prison Girls” starring the once former JAV actress turned phenomenal B-movie heroine. Asami’s uncanny ability to conform to any role heightens the film’s viewing and enjoyable factors and “Gun Woman” is the epitome of B-movie schlock, almost as if her role as Gun Woman was made just for Asami. Alongside Asami are Kairi Narita as the Mastermind and Noriaki Kamata as the heinous sex-fiend only known as Hamazaki’s son. Narita towers over Asami with a strong muscular face, proving to be a powerhouse character even though the Mastermind character is partially crippled. Kamata possesses such a freaky super thin, yet muscular build with defined facial features that his role as a necrophiliac, a cannibal, and a rapist-murderer wouldn’t be so far from the truth if bumping into Kamata randomly on the street.
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While Asami’s character might be the heroine of the film, “Gun Woman” surely feels like an anti-woman film. Many of the female roles, no matter how minor, are subjected to some sort of abuse. Hamazaki’s son rapes and strangles various American women while also raping and killing the Mastermind’s wife. The Mastermind himself kidnaps an innocent woman and uses her as a tool to create a lethal weapon in Asami. Even Hamazaki’s female body guard doesn’t get a chance to have one line in the entire film, does really nothing at all, and ultimately meets her end and I can’t help but wonder why even have this character at all if the character serves so little a purpose? Like I aforementioned, Asami might be this kick-ass, gun-toting, deadly femme-fatal, but her mission for revenge isn’t even her mission for revenge; its the Mastermind’s and he’s using her, a junkie bought off a secret organization, with given a single choice: to either kill for him or die.
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“Gun Woman” markets itself as a “no-holds-barred revenge flick” and has all the makings of a cult film. Blood gushes out of gaping wounds, intense fight and gun scenes, and naked women galore grace the film’s entire presence. However, “Gun Woman’s” enticing premise isn’t without major flaws including obvious plot holes, inaccurate medical procedures, and some unbalanced acting from not the Japanese, but from the English speaking Anglo-Saxons driving the car during the outer-story. Hey, this is the movie industry where anything can happen as long as someone can think of whatever it is up and as long as someone can construct it as well. The whole premise behind the film is bogus in reality and Asami’s character might as well be a part of the IMF because her mission is impossible. To provide an example, nobody could withstand having three parts of a firearm surgically implanted into their body and then live 22 minutes later after removing the said parts by reopening the wounds to assassinate everybody in “The Room.” Other factors are involved when contemplating blood loss and time such as what if Asami is additionally injured resulting in blood loss? What if her pulse rate increases during heart-pounding scenarios causing a faster blood flow?
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Show business is all smoke screens, lengthy mirrors, and customized misdirection and Mitsutake’s “Gun Woman” certainly provides just that while pushing the boundaries of taboo subjects and being, what I consider, a chauvinistic perspective against women. If a viewer wishes to suspend disbelief for 87 minutes, witness a bloody-stellar end game, and see their fair share of naked and abused women, then “Gun Woman” would be right up their mentally deranged alley. The Scream Factor (Shout Factory) Blu-ray release is presented with little digital noise interference in a 1080p High-Definition widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ration with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix with English subtitles available. I’m not sold on the Scream Factory Blu-ray cover of a closeup of Asami’s face and holding two smoking sidearms in a criss-cross way (think Kate Beckinsail on the “Underworld Evolution” DVD). This doesn’t actually represent the movie as she never really garnishes two handguns. Other releases are more accurate with a naked and bloodied Asami, aiming one handgun. Still, the release is solid and I wouldn’t discourage anybody, especially Asami fans, of a good time.