Emanuelle, a reporter, comes just a little too close to exposing a corrupt official, and is sent to prison on trumped-up charges. In the prison, the inmates are constantly humiliated and ... See full summary »
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Weird as it may sound I got a bit of a lump in my throat watching this one. I'm not going to claim that Bruno Mattei was any kind of genuinely quality film-maker or that he wasn't a shameless hack but unlike many of his contemporaries he kept on trucking right till the end. Now many would say that he kept on making films until he croaked because it was the only thing he knew how to do but me, I'm a romantic. I like to think that he kept going because he loved what he did, because in some measure he knew he was appreciated and didn't want to disappoint. This is actually his third last film, but gets a boost in credibility since to the best of my knowledge it isn't a direct rip-off at any point. Yes we've all seen tons of crackpot sleazed up WIP flicks but here he makes the genre his own for a glorious hour and a half or so. Several luckless women get banged up in a particularly heinous prison and we get showers, ice cold hose downs, beatings, lesbianism and rape, then in the latter half the whole thing goes Most Dangerous Game and we get some wholly righteous gore as well. In more serious hands there's potential here for something rather grim, but Mattei is all about having a good time here. Uniformly hammy actors and ridiculous dialogue combine with inspired bad dubbing (this here is multi national, so we get French, English and American accents as well was less identifiable European) to produce virtually zero in the way of sympathy, but bucket-loads of amusement and enough of a hook that things are always interesting at least. There are lulls in the pacing where shenanigans are a bit too familiar, but the overall mean spirit is effective and there are some nicely far out scenes, particularly adventures with a snake complete with madly grinning audience that are just bliss to see. Style is perfunctory at best, but in the latter half things rev up rather nicely and the brutality meted out is terrific, with a graphic knife wound and nasty breast abuse among other delights. The best thing about it all though is how old school it all is. If this were shot on film rather than DV there would be no way of distinguishing it from something made 20 or even 30 years previous, its a perfect throwback because it comes from a place that never looked forward. There isn't a trace of morality, conscience or art here, this is an unmitigated wallow in base exploitation that comes across as having no higher purpose than defeating its competition and when you consider that its competition is from another age, well the whole endeavour just becomes more fun. I mean, 2006 saw films like the fun but daft Hostel and the po faced Hills Have Eyes remake as well as all sorts of other films with their ambitions and their old school pretensions and all the nonsense that seems so appealing these days, so its just wonderful to see a film like this, an older age frozen in time. Not for everyone that's for sure, but if its sleazy trash you dig this is an essential watch. 8/10.
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