When her slimy boyfriend Danny (Peter Brown) uses his unsuspecting girlfriend Elizabeth (Tracy Bregman) to carry a stash of cocaine in her skis, she is nabbed by airport security. After a ... See full summary »
Jill St. John,
Tracey E. Bregman,
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In 1920, some workers of Patagonia, grouped in anarchist and socialist societies, decide to make a strike demanding better working conditions. The situation becomes unsustainable and the government sends the order is restored.
Country singer Rachel (Haynes) is arrested and charged with murder and placed in prison. Psychiatric sessions are run by the sadistic Dr. Kline, whose idea of mental health is to erase the patient's personality and completely replace it with a new one through brainwashing.Written by
Under-rated 70s actress Linda Haynes ("Coffy", "Rolling Thunder") gets top billing in this so-so W.I.P. (Women In Prison, for those not in the know) exploitation-thriller. She's lovely and appealing, and is a sympathetic character in this tale of an aspiring young singer-songwriter who ends up jailed for multiple murders (due to largely circumstantial evidence). The place she gets sent to is one of those typical hellholes common to cinema, and there the nefarious prison shrink (top character actor Geoffrey Lewis, "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot"), who's in cahoots with the warden (Mercedes Shirley), conducts bizarre "rehabilitation" experiments.
"Human Experiments" is stacked with cliches / expectations of the genre, such as the standard leering redneck types (like the hotel & saloon owner Aldo Ray ("Pat & Mike")), the appreciated birthday-suit shots, lesbianism, a catfight, and the overwhelmingly seedy environments. It's not exactly hard to feel bad for Rachel and disgusted with the slimy Dr. Kline. There is a little bit of gore, as well, and director Gregory Goodell capitalizes on peoples' aversion to insects and arachnids by inundating poor Ms. Haynes with a variety of creepy-crawlies. She gets put through the ringer, which might account for "Human Experiments" ending up on the notorious "Video Nasties" list.
Overall, the movie is reasonably entertaining, although this viewer would be lying if he said that very much of interest ever happens. At least the evil shrink Dr. Kline provides a fresh spin on a genre that had flourished throughout the 1970s. The ending provides some satisfaction, but is not really well-thought-out.
The better-than-average cast does help, complete with appearances by the likes of Ellen Travolta (Johns' older sister), Jackie Coogan ('The Addams Family'), Lurene Tuttle ("Psycho"), Darlene Craviotto ("I Never Promised You a Rose Garden"), and Marie O'Henry ("Three the Hard Way").
"Human Experiments" is absurd, amusing, and in general a hoot, if too tame for hardcore exploitation lovers.
Six out of 10.
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