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The beginning is awful: trying to convince us that we are on an alien planet, Fred Olen Ray shoots everything through a red filter - it worked in "The Angry Red Planet", it's a pain on the eyes here. But soon enough the action moves in the Prison Ship of the title, and the film turns into a cross between sci-fi and WIP - and furthermore, the kind of WIP I like: less focus on torture and humiliation, more on catfights (there are 2, both very good) and the final escape. The special effects are enjoyably cheesy, though I, for one, would prefer to see as a climax a hand-to-hand fight between the heroine and the female warden instead of the laser space battles we do get (some of them apparently lifted from other sources). The girls are pretty sexy and put a lot of spirit and energy into their roles, especially Sandy Brooke who should have had a longer B-movie career. (**1/2)
i don't care what critics say about Fred Olen ray,he makes fun movies. prison ship is very campy and fun sort of like the flash Gordon serials. i love the opening music for the credits.it sounds similar to the raiders of the lost ark theme.anyway its a science fiction women in prison flick.with some of my favorite actors;Aldo Rey,Bobbie bresee, ross hagen,dawn wildsmith,and even johnny legend.some of the space battle scenes were stock footage from battle beyond the stars.its not star wars but its still a fun movie to watch.i believe this was inspired by flash Gordon and buck rogers.i wish i could find this on DVD i rented this from a video store about 10 years ago on ancient VHS. but i think it would be far much better in widescreen.all i can say is Fred Olen ray keep making them fun movies,ignore the movie critics,they are sheep.i know this is crazy but i give prison ship 8 out of 10.
This is a cheesy,low budget late 80's piece of crap. The opening score is a direct rip-off from Raiders/Lost Ark but changes every few notes so as not to be sued. Awful acting, some good gore, always threats of lesbianism but nothing to show for it, some strange costumes and "little people" running around with awful speeded-up voices. A mess, but my friends and I love to get together and watch "bad" movies and we really hooted and hollered at most of this. It's No Star Crash or Space Mutiny (true low budget cheese sci-fi disaster classics) but it has some fun moments.
As a fan of Fred Olen Ray films i have to say prison ship is quite entertaining.i know it has a shoestring budget.John Carridine in one of his next to last films as a space magistrate who sends a beautiful sexy fiery blonde babe(Sandy Brooke)to a prison ship full of babes.run by a busty tough warden played by Marya Gant,and her sadistic one eyed trustee played by Dawn Wildsmith(a olen ray regular)of course there's a twisted sadistic lunatic(Ross Hagen)who wants revenge.because he lost his hand in a fight with the heroine.also on hand is Johnny Legend as a space rabbi,the great Aldo Ray as the a master of torture,and cameo by the beautiful Bobbie Bresee.there's aliens robots,Jagger rats(don't ask)and a space battle lifted from Roger Cormans;battle beyond the stars.and a good opening score that sounds like raiders of the lost ark.granted i saw this movie on ancient VHS so the picture quality is not very good.some critics will think I'm crazy for liking this and giving it 7 out of 10,but remember the critics Siskell and Ebert admitting they enjoyed;invasion of the bee girls and infra man.I'm hoping to see prison ship on a good quality DVD.prison ship is a killer-b movie,i found it enjoyable.
There is a leech-eating scene.... need I say more? At one point, during
prison cafeteria food-fight scene, several of the actresses literally
up and start
giggling during their lines.
One of the actresses, a doctor, was actually not half bad (in comparison), and I felt very sad for her; the rest of the actresses didn't seem to take the script seriously at all, and who can blame them? They were probably coeds promised free beer if they showed up and read from cue cards.
This movie is so very bad that it's actually hysterically funny.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SEE. . . John Carradine, in a cameo even more pointless than the one
from ICE PIRATES. SEE. . . footage from DARK STAR and BATTLE BEYOND THE
STARS repetitively incorporated into the proceedings. And DON'T see any
T&A, beyond the lovely Ms. Brooke's two (just two?) topless shots. Yep,
it's a 'women-in-prison' flick, in space no less, that doesn't work in
the communal shower, or the kinky pecking order, or any degrading
'initiation' rites. What a shame. What a shame indeed.
At least Ross Hagen's in it, wearing Jared-Syn's old body armor. And I got a kick out of the 'episode' titles... a junky below-B-movie that gives its self dramatic structure, now how often do you see that? About as often as promised but undelivered sequels, which is to say often enough.
"See the continuing adventures of Taura in- CHAIN GANG PLANET!"
OK. So the line above is kinda silly, but so is this film.
Fred Olen ray is a master at spending no money, and somehow always having a film to show for it. Granted, most of his films end up being very static due to lack of monies for alternate takes and complex editing.
OK. So Ray isn't what you'd call Speilberg. His films concentrate on borrowed sets and costumes(this one's got them), has-been actors( Sid Haig, John Carradine, Aldo Ray, ect.), and some of the most stiff and lifeless dialogue this side of Ray Dennis Steckler.
PRISON SHIP( I saw this as STAR SLAMMER) is a piece of junk, filled with borrowed effects from BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA and BUCK RODGERS. There is some skin, but not enough. Mostly, there is talk, and as many a reviewer likes to point out, Fred Olen Ray makes very chatty pictures. That's because he either doesn't have the creativity, or the perspective, to realize that you don't need a ton of money to make a good film. You just need talent.
Why should I continue? PRISON SHIP is cheesy, and painful. Don't watch this unless you must see every film that John Carradine is in (or you really like train wrecks).
Although I enjoy watching drive-in style movies, I have to confess that
there is a genre in this genre I have never particularly enjoyed, and
that is the women-in-prison genre. I like the *sound* of what the genre
promises to offer, but I have always found the actual execution to be
dull and boring. And all of these movies seem the same after a while.
When I heard about PRISON SHIP (better known as STAR SLAMMER), I was
intrigued. A women-in-prison movie taking place in the future, and in
space? I decided to give it a chance.
The fact that Fred Olen Ray directed this movie should have warned me. In fairness, not everything in the movie is bad. The sets and spaceship models, while definitely low budget, are not as bad to the eye as you may think. There is the occasional in-joke that made me smile (a planet is called "Arous", there's an alien that looks like one of the aliens from the movie THE DEADLY SPAWN). And there are a few unintentional laughs, like when the musical score sounds very much like the musical score for RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.
Aside from those bright moments, I found the movie tough to sit through. It's incredibly slow-moving - there is simply no plot advance for long stretches of time. The female heroine is poorly sketched, with a lot of the focus surprisingly not on her. And while you may expect the movie to be sleazy, it feels more like a PG-rated movie - there's almost no nudity, no real sex, and light violence.
Thank goodness they didn't make the sequel that's announced at the end of the movie.
The space fighting scenes are right out of Roger Cormens classic "Battle Beyond the Stars". (Like cut and paste out of it that is)Then for those of us who actually survive this epic to the end and make it to the credits, we seem to be misled, because at the beginning of the credits we are told to look for the next adventure of Tara in "Chain Gang Planet". What happened??? I realize this movie is bad, but hey, just for a good laugh I would pick up the next one on DVD. If you are a serious sci-fi fan, you might be better off to look to something else for your collection. If you are into low budget c-movies (I don't think of this as even a B movie) and are looking for a good laugh then look no further.
I saw this film when I was a student back in 1988 or 1989. A friend and I
hired it on video.
It has got to be one of the most dire films I have ever seen. Totally derivative, unoriginal, cheap, tacky, badly acted, buttock-clenchingly bad.
The special effects for the space battles are lifted directly from Battle Beyond The Stars. Strangely enough, I've seen another film that has done this, so maybe the makers of BBTS sold the rights to that footage to make some money.
Bearing in mind that I am writing this review 11 years after seeing the film, I'd give it a huge thumbs down at 1/10.
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