Monday, May 18, 2009

Werewolf in a Women's Prison (2006)

Directed by Jeff Leroy
Starring Victoria De Mare, Eva Derrick, Pheobe Dollar

"That's a lot of work for cigarettes."

About eight or nine years ago, I saw this loony zero-budget shot-on-video horror-com called The Screaming. It featured Ed Hansen hero John F Goff, a handful of hot girls, and a goofy claymation monster. It was a lot better than it had any right to be, and I made a mental note to keep an eye on the director, Jeff Leroy. And then I forgot all about it. Well, it turns out that Leroy's been writing, shooting, and directing scads of degenerate splatter and exploitation films the entire time, and now has a lengthy resume full of lip-smacking titles like Psycho Invaders, The Crawling Brain, Poorman's Bikini Beach and Bloody Tease under his belt. And, of course, Werewolf in a Women's Prison, which has to be the best genre mash-up title since Psycho Beach Party.

Werewolf has all key the elements I remember from The Screaming: crystal clear photography, Bugs Bunny pacing, Russ Meyer-esque rapidfire edits, shameless tit-worship, and gratuitous gore. Plus, it's got a werewolf. Several, in fact.

The film actual opens with one. Jack (Vince Bilancio) and his girlfriend Sarah (the Felissa Rose-esque Victoria De Mare) are out camping and guzzling silver-flecked vodka when they are set upon by a rampaging beastie with glowing red eyes. The monster messily tears out Jack's throat, but plucky Sarah bashes him on the head with the vodka bottle before he can sink his fangs into her. Smoking from the sliver in the booze, the panicky wolfman accidentally falls into the campfire and is quickly engulfed in flames. Then he falls off a cliff, burning and howling all the way down.

Sarah wakes up sometime later tied to a gurney. She is told by an Ilsa-like vamp with a whip and a leather miniskirt that she's in the tiny country of Campuno, locked up in a prison for criminally insane women. Seems she was found in the woods, bloody and delirious, yammering about a werewolf. They found drugs in her tent and chunks of her boyfriend all over the camp, so they just assumed she went bananas and did it herself. I guess you can see their point.

Sarah's dramatically-accented tormentor is Rita (Brazilian actress Jackeline Oliver),the prison's head guard. She is, of course, a sadistic lesbian, and lives only to inflict pain on the handful of gorgeous prisoners that inhabit this weird institution. Being the aggressive type, Sarah can only take so much of Rita's taunts and labia lickings, and demands to see the warden. She is taken, shackled and half-naked, to his office.

Warden Juan (Domiziano Arcangeli) is, like Rita, hopelessly corrupt and sadistic. After listening to Sarah blather on about her rights, he tells her she can make a phone call to the American embassy, but when she picks up the receiver, she gets jolted with an electrical shock. This cracks Juan and Rita up. And then she's corralled into a room where Rita takes topless photos of her a Prison Girls Gone Wild website. Then she's dragged to her cell.

Sarah ends up sharing the cell with a girl named Rachel (Eva Derreck), who has streaked hair, constantly gulps down homemade tequila, and sleeps on a dirty towel in the corner of the cell. Like Sarah, she's been railroaded into this prison by corrupt Campuno cops. The two bond over the dayglo booze and Sarah falls into a restless sleep. While she fitfully dozes, she dreams of Jack, who returns to see her in the cell with half of his face hanging off in bloody chunks, an obvious nod to American Werewolf in London. He tells her that she did not imagine that horrific night; there really was a werewolf, and since he slashed her shoulder, she's cursed to become one, too. And then some more of his face falls off, so he splits.

The next morning, a groggy Sarah is shoved into a narrow courtyard, where she's forced to mingle with the other prisoners. Within minutes, an awkwardly stage fight breaks out, and, in the process of defending her friend Rachel, Sarah finds that she suddenly possesses the strength of several men, easily picking girls up over her head and flinging them around the courtyard. Juan orders one of his guards, Garcia (Neto DePaula Pimenta), to shoot her with a tranquilizer gun. It takes several darts to finally knock her out.

As punishment for the courtyard debacle, Rachel and Sara end up in "The Toaster", i.e. they're chained to a rock in the desert. Topless. A dogbowl full of water is placed just out of their reach, and as they lunge at it, Rita and Juan watch on their laptop and chortle.
"Now that's what I call a couple of hot chicks," says Juan. Zing!

Desperate for a drink, Rachel starts licking Sarah's neck.
"Sweat," she says. "It's like water."
I'm not sure that works. Drop a line if you're a sweat expert. Anyway, it's a pretty awesome scene.

Eventually the girls make it back to the prison. Rachel is handcuffed to a stripper pole and gets raped by some chubby scuzzball who paid off Juan.

Meanwhile, two foxy, melon-breasted prisoners, BB (porn star Sindy Lange) and Kelly (porn star-in-training Yurizen Beltran) take off their shirts and make sweet lesbianic love in their cell.

Also meanwhile, in the warden's office, Juan and Rita get it on.

Also meanwhile, alone in her cell, Sarah sits on the toilet and tries to not transform into a wolf.

Crystal (Kristen Zaik), one of the girls Sarah wailed on in the courtyard, realizes she's out of smokes. Most of the time, she lets Rita finger-bang her for a pack, but since Rita's busy, she hits up Garcia. After bartering for awhile, Garcia agrees to not only give her some cigs and a few pulls on his water bottle full of tequila,, but to let her sneak into Sarah's cell to bash her skull in, as well. That must have been some blowjob.

Crystal skulks into the cell and starts going nuts on Sarah's head, but it turns out it's not Sarah at all, just her skin. I did not see that coming. As far as gross-outs are concerned, that one is up there.

So, Sarah-the-werewolf rampages through the prison, shredding titty-girls to and fro, pausing when she comes across Rachel, still cuffed to the pole. Her hesitation allows Juan to burst in and blast her with triple-strength tranquilizer. He wants her alive, for some reason.

So, Sarah's chained up in her cell. Juan's prison is now empty, so he orders Rita (who is wearing a fetching red latex outfit) to round up a gaggle of new prisoners, which she does. Meanwhile Rachel tricks a guard into letting her loose. She springs Sarah as well, and although Sarah asks her friend to kill her, lest she go on another murder spree, Rachel assures her that together, they will work it out. They haul ass into the desert with Jaun's guards hot on their trail. Just to make sure the job gets done, Juan also gives The Badger a call. He's some kind of super-tracker, I guess.

The guards quickly corner our heroines, but chasing down a werewolf is never a good idea.

While Juan's men get sliced and diced by Sarah, Rachel gets nabbed by The Badger (Al "Mr Outrageous" Burke), a barrel-chested old codger with pervy-uncle mustache.

He uses her to bait Sarah, and the next thing you know, they're back in prison. Sarah's chained up in her cell, while Rita forces the new prisoners to give Rachel a sponge bath. That part was excellent.

Juan throws a party for a bunch of local scumbags. The main event is a viewing of Sarah the wolfgirl. That's Juan-the-genius's big idea, to charge big bucks to local rubes to watch a werewolf transformation right in front of their very eyes. He assures them he's got silver bullets in his gun, should anything go awry, and then he gets Rita to whip Rachel into a bloody mess just to rile Sarah up. It works, and she sheds her skin in a puke-inducing (one of the dudes in the audience starts spitting up clam chowder) metamorphosis that quickly gets out of hand. Sarah snaps out of her flimsy chains and proceeds to rip off limbs and heads.

So, will Juan shoot her dead with his silver bullets? Will creepy goth girl Maria (Pheobe Dollar) choke the werewolf to death with a chain? Will Sarah find some cure for her curse and live in Sapphic bliss with Rachel? And why is Al Burke's nickname Mr. Outrageous?
At least two of these burning questions will be answered as we race to the thrilling climax. The rest, I dunno. Google it, I guess.

While it is consistently entertaining and intermittently awesome, Werewolf in a Women's Prison does suffer from a lackluster script that never really rises to the occasion. Given the premise, the splatter, the near-constant nudity, and the hilariously threadbare sets (I've never seen so many white sheets in my entire life), and all the winking tributes to classic b-movies (Howling, Ilsa, Olga, Chained Heat,American Werewolf, From Dusk Til Dawn, etc), all this one really needed was a handful of classic lines to throw it right over the top, but they're just not there. It's a shame, because this really is a near-classic of gutbucket, empty-pocketed junkfilm.

Still, there's enough full-moon madness here to keep most gorehounds happy, and sleazebeasts will revel in the plentiful pulchritude. I encourage you to check this one out, and I also publicly offer my services to Mr. Leroy to help him co-script the sequel. It will have Frankenstein and a drag-queen biker gang. And Tara Reid.

Availability: Werewolf in a Women's Prison is available on DVD.

Link: the official website!

Clip: The trailer!

- Ken McIntyre

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