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99 Women / 99 Mujeres / Sex im Frauengefängnis
Isle of Lost Women / Isle of Despair / Der heisse Tod / Prostitutes in Prison

UK/Spain/Italy/West Germany 1969
produced by
Harry Alan Towers for Towers of London/Commonwealth United
directed by Jess Franco
starring Maria Rohm, Maria Schell, Mercedes McCambridge, Herbert Lom, Rosalba Neri, Elisa Montés, Luciana Paluzzi, Valentina Godoy, José María Blanco, Mike Brendel, Eva Zabala
written by Harry Alan Towers (as Peter Welbeck), music by Bruno Nicolai

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Marie (Maria Rohm) is thrown into a women's prison for murdering one of her rapists in self defense. But in prison - naturally - there is no such thing as innocence & the prison Marie is thrown in is particularly bad. It's run by superintendent Thelma (Mercedes McCambridge) who loves to whip girls or chain them up, & frequently lends out her prisoners, especially the blond ones (like Marie) to gouvernor Santos (Herbert Lom) of the neighbouring all-male prison.

'So soon, for some minor subordinance, Marie is chained up, whipped & forced to have lesbian sex with Zoe (Rosalba Neti) ... but then a new superintendent, Miss Carroll (Maria Schell) comes to the prison to take over from Thelma, & Miss Carroll is filled with humanity & sympathy for the poor girls, especially Marie, whom she promises to have her case revised ...

Neither Thelma nor Santos like the humane methods of the new superintendent though, so they try to make up a plot to get rid of her. & even Marie turns against Miss Carroll when her case is not reopened in court, so she soon becomes part of an escape plan, cooked up by co-convicts Helga (Elisa  Montés) & Roasalie (Valentina Godoy), & before long the three of them make it over the wall & into the surrounding jungle ... but eventually they cross paths with a gang of male convicts, who, sex-starved as they are, promptly kill their guards & go after the girls, & eventually they manage to capture, gang-rape & kill Rosalie.

Helga & Marie though make it to a little village where they plan to steal a boat to flee ... but they are already expected by gouvernor Santos, who with the girls has finally a means of getting rid of superintendent Carroll, all fair & square ...


99 Women was Jess Franco's first foray into the women in prison genre, & it was a smashing success in both Europe & America. Over the next 15 years or so, Franco would revisit the genre again & again, with only slight alterations in the basic plotline. Compared to his later women in prison pictures though (e.g. Women in Cellblock 9, Love Camp, Sadomania), this one is rather restrained & more story- than sleaze-oriented. Unfortunately this also makes the movie a tad dull since the story is not all that good & rather predictable. As the baddies, both Mercedes McCambridge & herbert Lom are great though.

To add a little extra-oomph to the proceedings, a version of the film was later distributed with some tacked-on hardcore material that had little to do with the actual film (& was not filmed by Franco).


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD