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Sadomania is the infamous Women in Prison flick by the king of ultra low
budget exploitation films, Jesus Franco, Spain. He has made many immortal
films like Love Letter of the Portuguese Nun (nunsploitation, 1977) and
Bloody Moon (ultra-gore, 1981), and even though some of his films are
and not-so-ambitious, he definitely has a talent and is noteworthy film
maker. His greatest masterpiece of the films I've managed to see is Awful
Dr. Orlof (1962), the black and white horror classic with Howard Vernon.
Sadomania is among his dirtiest films and not without a
The ridiculous plot has a newly wed young couple, who is kidnapped during their journey as they drive their wedding car somewhere in Spain. They are taken to the nearby women prison, led by sadistic lesbian warden (the late Ajita Wilson) and some sleazy governor and his wife, and despite the fact that the prison girls/women work hard there, their real reason to be there is to satisfy these leaders' bottomless sexual desires and perversions. Poor women are raped and abused, in the guaranteed Franco style, but it all ends happily for the protagonists and evil and horny sadists meet their fate, again Franco style.
This film is okay if one happens to like these kind of "guilty pleasures" with huge amount of nudity and love making. The sleaze-o-meter is taken as high as possibly when considered the fact that the head warden Wilson was originally born man, but changed his sex to female, and the close ups of this attractive black lady show that her hands and some parts of the body are definitely male and thus her attractiveness tones down a bit (for hetero sexual man), but still, she is very sensual here, albeit her role character is more than repulsive. The other actors are more or less amateurs, but also talented ones. Beautiful females get naked a lot, and that's the thing Franco has always been able to do. Perhaps every frame of the film "once it gets going" involves at least one naked human being, usually female.
The "message" of this film seems to be that of what hides under our "civilized" surface and what kind of animals we are deep inside. Franco uses plenty of segments without a dialogue and some symbolic scenes (like the knife-fight-to-the-death scene), which show and depict the wild beast psyche what hides inside every human being, but in many cases un-active. Another thing is, that the sadists in the film are totally insatiable and hungry for sex, which is perhaps the strongest instinct in human nature and psyche. Sadomania shows us the faces of human nature we wouldn't necessarily want to face, but as we think about the state of the world and what kind of things take place, Franco's thoughts are more than true and serious. The fact that this film is mostly exploitation oriented doesn't mean that the film couldn't have any artistic merits, and Franco definitely wants most of his films to be more than mere exploitation.
Sadomania is noteworthy piece of Franco cinema, and shot with his usual zooms and beautiful images of nature, stained only by the presence of the film's ugly and evil protagonists. Sadomania has also some interesting elements in its soundtrack, which is supposedly composed by the director himself. I give Sadomania 7/10 rating, but that's only possible if one can watch these films and appreciate them despite their many filthy scenes and characters.
... and that ain't no lie.
After about the first seven or so minutes, it's literally non stop. I have heard people say that movies such as The Dreamers, Desperate living, ken Park, e.t.c e.t.c feature the most nudity, but let me tell you, although there is hardly any male nudity, there is not one scene longer than one minute where there isn't some type of nudity.
Anyway, with that somewhat important detail out of the way, this isn't the best exploitation movie out there, but then again, it is not the worst. The film is kind of slow at parts, and the constant display of breasts is a bit redundant. but a good redundant, the type that someone like me would enjoy. Two parts highlight this film and really stuck in my mind. The first, when Ajita Wilson (a transsexual actress with a very well constructed vagina) is masturbating with her long cane type spear thingy, while her croonies "play" with a man. I don't know why, but this scene just makes me burst into laughter. No reason, just thinking about it now makes me giggle. The second actually took me by shock, and involves an impotent man who can only get it up while watching a rabid dog rape a girl tied to a chair. this scene is really creepy, and has a serious genuinely sinister feel to it. Only two scenes ever made me cringe while watching a movie, and they're the Horse jerk scene from Emmanuelle in America, and the bestiality in Sadomania.
A good film, that may be a bit slow for most fans of exploitation.
If for anything, see it for the landmark display of flesh.
OK, no one will confuse this with Citizen Kane but you've got to love a
movie where the women are always topless. There are a few catfights and
some kinky sex as well. On the other hand I hope they didn't overpay
the guy who wrote the dialogue. Here's a prime example. After one of
the captive girls dies:
"This is terrible. It reminds me of the day Zenobia died" "A relative?" "No, my favorite cow." I guess they saved some money on the script and blew it on great special effects like that plastic crocodile. I will say that it took me three sittings to make it through this fine work of art, never a good sign. I guess that's what happens after a while when everything looks the same. I hope the folks waiting to rent it next didn't get too impatient. Don't worry folks, it's on it's way.
In Spain, a newlywed couple parks their car in a deserted land to make
love and they trespass a private property. They are taken to a women's
prison and the husband Michael (Ángel Caballero) is released by the
warden Magda (Ajita Wilson) while his wife Olga (Uta Koepke) is
arrested and forced to hard labor. Soon she befriends Kanita (Andrea
Guzon) and Tara (Ursula Buchfellner) and she learns that the women in
the prison are submitted to sexual abuse to satisfy the sadistic and
lesbian warden and the impotent Governor Mendonza (Robert Foster) and
his bisexual wife Luwa (Gina Janssen). Meanwhile her husband returns to
the prison with a friend expecting to rescue Olga while Kanita and Tara
are sold to a brothel.
"Sadomania - Hölle der Lust" is a soft-porn with a ridiculous and absurd story of sexual violence. Michael's friend is murdered and forgotten by the plot. Olga never dresses a shirt after rescued by her husband. But who cares? This sleazy and outrageous exploitation shows one of the greatest number of naked women, including the 20 year-old German Ursula Buchfellner, who was the Playmate of the Month and centerfold of October 1979. The warden is performed by the transsexual Ajita Wilson. My vote is three.
Title (Brazil): "Sadomania"
This is the story of a young woman, kidnapped on her honeymoon, and send to a womens prison, somewhere in the latin world. Her husband spends the rest of the movie trying to save her. That, however is only an excuse for a story, as the real focus of the film are the scenes of degradation committed to the female inmates. This being a Jess Franco movie, you know you're in for a treat, if you're a badfilm fan. It is reprehensible, but most of all, this movie is just silly fun although in a seriously un-PC way. The film is astonishingly misogynistic, and that is unforgivable, but it is fun to see how cheaply this movie was made. A prisoner is eaten by a plastic crocodile, guards are armed with toyguns, the governors car is a beaten up Simca 2000 and the costumes are a riot. Jess Franco himself, however, has the most memorable scene in the movie as he is sodomised by a black youth in his role as a slavetrader. The role as the prisonwarden is played by the late american transsexual actress Ajita Wilson.
First things first, I quite enjoyed "Sadomania". Despite its low
budget, the film is visually impressive with some atmospheric
cinematography by Juan Soler.
In terms of plot, it comes as no surprise to learn that the script was adapted from an unused "Ilsa" screenplay. There are many similarities between the "Ilsa" films and "Sadomania". Here, transsexual Ajita Wilson plays Magda Urtado, the wicked warden of "a prison from hell". Well, a prison that contains nubile young women who all look like escapees from Hefner's Playboy Mansion. This is a cue for all sorts of softcore goings-on.
The film's tiny budget is obvious - some of the guards' weapons look like they've been sourced from the bargain bin of "Toys R Us" and the crocodile special effects are somewhat rubbery. On top of this, the prison governor's car is somewhat shabby for a man in his position. However, the film overcomes these trivial obstacles and proves entertaining, even if some of the humour is unintentional.
"Sadomania" even has an appearance by Franco himself as a homosexual brothel owner. As Franco was not keen on contact with a fellow man, Ajita Wilson was asked to play his lover, without wig and disguised by a moustache.
7 out of 10. Not half as seedy as you'd imagine it to be. It could do better in the exploitation department but the cinematography really is rather good.
*** (out of 4)
Jess Franco put his hands in many genres but there's no question that he was the king of the WIP genre. His women-in-prison films are some of the most outrageous out there and this here might very well be the most offensive, which means it's a must-see for fans of the genre. The story is pretty simple as newlyweds Olga (Uta Koepke) and Michael are making out on some private property, which belongs to a local prison. The evil warden (Ajita Wilson) orders Olga to be held behind bars where she realizes all the lesbianism, torture and other evils going on. SADOMANIA is, simply put, a sick, deprived and downright outrageous film and all of this makes it one of the best of its type. If you're looking for a soft and easy R-rated prison drama then this here certainly isn't that. This film is perverted on just about every letter and I honestly don't think five-seconds goes by without some woman being nude. The film has pretty much wall-to-wall nudity as all of the women in prison are forced to be naked and even the prison warden and her guards are always in the nude. Those wanting flesh are going to get plenty of it here. There's also some rather fun violence including a "game" where women must run through a swamp to try avoid getting shot. The only problem are some fake looking alligators who are very hungry. The film even goes as far as to have a prostitution ring, white slavery and most notorious of all is a dog who likes to have sex with the girls. Yes, SADOMANIA is pretty much the sleazy exploitation trash that makes the genre work so well when it gets everything right. Sure, the performances aren't the greatest, although Wilson has her certain charm in full force. The film actually looks a lot more professional than the previous ones done by Franco and this includes good cinematography, great lighting and very good editing. Another major plus is that it seems the budget allowed for a lot more naked ladies because these films usually have a limited number of girls but this one here has dozens available. Again, if you're going to be easily offended or are afraid of the genre then it's best to stay away. Those wanting to see one of the best WIP films out there should jump right in.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I approach Franco films as something more than sleazy exploitation. Much of my mail and even some of my colleagues are against me on this: they feel I read too much into them.
I have a special place in my imagination that current Spanish-speaking filmmakers can reach and tickle. I think they are the most clever filmmakers working today, and I suspect Franco had something to do with it.
Yeah, yeah, we get some breasts here, some mild (amazingly mild compared to 'Ilsa') suggestion of sexual torture and lots of huffing and puffing simulation. What we also get is an allegory of filmmaker as pimp, not quite a worn out idea in 1981. Franco himself plays the pimp. Unless I am wrong, this time he does not feature a lover as the girl, instead just hired a passel of 'models.'
What makes this an extraordinary film is one character, the sadist of the title: the black mistress who is captain of the guards - a stark lesbian. This actress is in fact a transgendered man. She has an appearance and manner that are strange and disturbing.
The fact that the story is obviously bogus adds to the mystery in a sort of Soviet-newspaper way. What we are told is going on is discounted as thin fiction. That leaves us to suspect that the real world is ever so more ambitiously dangerous.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
Filmed on an exploitation level this sleazy flick is a typical Jess Franco-film and everyone should know what that means: a nearly not existing plot, lots of nudity and some misogynist violence. This film is banned in the United Kingdom, but it´s really questionable in how far "Sadomania" is still an exciter compared to today´s standard: there is a girl having hinted sex with a dog, trade with female human slaves, lesbian sex and some S/M-role playing, but it´s full of unconscious humor and bad acting. The most memorable part comes from Ajita Wilson, a transexual, who became a porn star in the 1970s and plays the role of the sadistic prison leader. Nevertheless "Sadomania" is worth to be seen - assumed that you like this kind of film: it´s entertaining from beginning till the end and definitely the right stuff for your next trash movie video party! Jess Franco´s masterpiece "Vampyros Lesbos" however is still unequaled!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sadomania starts with newly weds Michel (Angel Caballero) & Olga Gordon
(Uta Koepke) taking a little detour on the way to their honeymoon &
ending up in the middle of a place called 'Hacienda Blanca' which just
happens to be a rehabilitation camp for delinquent women, Franco's
description not mine... It quickly turns out that they are trespassing
on private land, they are quickly arrested by topless gun-wielding
female guards & taken to the camps sadistic warden, Magda Urtado (Ajita
Wilson, a transsexual & porn star born Goerge Wilson). Michel is told
to bugger off & never come back while his unfortunate bride Olga is
taken prisoner & after having her top removed is thrown in the cells
where she meets some of the other topless inmates & the topless guards.
Poor Olga is made to work in the blazing sun, topless of course, & Olga
quickly discovers that 'Hacienda Blanca' is a hell hole where the
inmates have no rights, the officials are corrupt & everyone is
constantly topless! Governor Mendoza (Antonio Mayans as Robert Foster)
shows up & picks a woman for a hunt, a hunt in which an inmate is given
a one minute (one minute? Thanks for nothing!) head-start before she is
shot, sounds fair to me. Governor Mendoza is impotent & his wife Loba
(Gina Janssen) isn't too happy about it so she has lesbian sex with
inmates like Tara (Ursula Buchfellner) whom she then sells to Mario
(Otto Retzer) who in turn sells her to Lucas (director Jesus Franco)
who forces Tara to work in his brothel. Inmates like Conito (Andrea
Guzon) are forced to fight to the death in gladiatorial combat with the
guards, topless of course, & if they survive these tortures the
Governor's pet Alsatian dog is ready for some loving...
This Spanish West German co-production was co-written & directed by notorious Euro sleaze peddler Jesus Franco & considering I usually loathe Franco & his films I found Sadomania somewhat entertaining. The script by Franco & Gunter Ebert certainly isn't boring like most of Franco's sorry attempts at film-making, in fact it moves along at a nice pace & something is always happening to keep most Euro exploitation fans happy. There are hunts which end in the target being shot & then eaten by crocodiles, gladiatorial combat between topless women, an Alsatian dog rapes a tied up woman, lesbian sex, someone has a pin stuck in their nipple, women are beaten, groped, raped, humiliated & generally treated like dirt which is where my biggest problem with Sadomania lies. I simply dislike the overall tone & feel of Sadomania, my best friend at the moment is a 23 year old girl & I simply take no pleasure in seeing females treated like they have no feelings, treated like they are only on Earth to sexually please & nothing else & I found it a little hard as a male to enjoy all this depravity. Yes, I know it's only a film & as a film I liked it & even though it's a little longish at over 100 minutes it passed the time painlessly enough. There is no real story in Sadomania just a collection of incidents which lead up to the eventual prison break & rather abrupt ending. Characters just come & go, Sadomania never really focuses on any particular one, it dishes the nastiness out evenly! If it's nudity your after then Sadomania is a dream come true, I don't think I've ever seen another film with so much nudity in it, just about every sequence has nudity of some sort. The violence is far more restrained with a few whippings, a few fights, a needle piercing a nipple & a few gunshot wounds but none of these are what I would call particularly graphic. The acting is as good as one would expect, transsexual Ajita has a real screen presence & is pretty intimidating as the obligatory sadistic warden. Technically Sadomania is cheap, very cheap. Shot on location the cinematography is OK & there is a nice scene when two women have a fight against a purple blueish setting sun in silhouette. Overall I disliked the tone & derogatory attitude towards women but at the same time I found myself enjoying Sadomania for what it was. I'm in two minds about it, I've given it an above average 6 because when all said & done I'd probably watch it again. Also, I bet Franco saved a fortune on the costumes...
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