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Les Gardiennes du Penitencier

Jailhouse Wardress
Women Behind Bars / Frauengefängnis 2

France/Switzerland 1975
produced by
Variety/Eurociné
directed by Jess Franco (as Allan W. Steeve)
starring Lina Romay, Pamela Stanford, Nadine Pascal, Monica Swinn, Paul Muller, Ronald Weiss, Roger Darton, Jess Franco, Eric Falk

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A Typical South-American prison: It's run by an ex-Nazi, the wardress is a sadistic dyke in (very) hot pants, the (fake) prison doctor Mar (Paul Muller) likes to make little girls cry, the guards are rapists & the inmates are nymphomaniacs, lesbians or both.

Unfortunately there's Lola, who writes an anonymous letter of complaint to the gouvernor, ignorant to the fact that the gouvernor is the ex-Nazi who ordered it all in the first place, & he soon has her found out by his trusted guard Nestor, who uses rape as a means of interrogation, but takes a liking to the girl & hesitates before he sells her to the gouvernor - who by then already got the news from Teresa, a fellow inmate of Lola, who has taken a liking to the gouvernor's ways of handling things.

But the gouvernor shows mercy to the girl, even shows himself favourably towards her, which makes Nestor furious enough to want to shoot hm, but Lola saves the gouvernor from Nestor's machine gun. To show his gratitude, the gouvernor lets Lola escape, but Teresa & Nestor soon are in hot pursuit, catcdh her & drag her back to jail.

In the meantime, the new fish Maria - having been sent to prison for killing her uncle (Jess Franco) by accident when he wanted to rape her - comes up with an escape-plan of her own, which involves her, Berta (Monica Swinn) & the crazy Rosario seducing doctor Mar & killing him. Then they make a getaway through the jungle but are - almost at the coast - caught by a guard (Eric Falk), who immediately rapes Berta, before being shot by a fellow guard. The other 2 girls make it to a house - unfortunately it's the house of the gouvernor, & he has them gunned down on the spot.

But it's not long before he is gunned down himself by an assassin who has been hired by a group of Jews determined to bring elusive ex-SS-bigshots to justice.

 

Yes, this is a piece of sleaze, yes, the plot makes next to no sense, & yes, any fleshed out charactrers are non-existent in the movie - yet it's strangely enjoyable in a dirty kind of way: Director Jess Franco once again threw realism immediately out of the window, instead steeped the plot in trashy WIP-clichés & schoolboy-jokes, creating a netherworld of torture & sadism with women losing their cloths on a whim & men considering rape as a way of living on the cheap. This sounds despicable of course, but somehow it comes across as a lighthearted piece of trash cinema.

Legend has it by the way that this was shot back-to-back with Jess Franco's Frauengefängnis, with the producer of that movie, Erwin C.Dietrich, unaware that franco was simultanously to his movie shooting another movie for another producer at his expenses. Erwin C.Dietrich tends to tell this little anecdote at every occasion (without any bitterness though, since his Jess Franco productions from the 70's continue to make him some money even today), while Franco strongly denies that. It does look though as if Franco used a few leftover-scenes, cut-outs or even bloopers from Frauengefängnis for Les Gardiennes du Penitencier (the fake slow-motion-scene in which Lina Romay kills Jess Franco readily comes to mind).

 

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
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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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD