Monday, October 19, 2009

Frauen für Zellenblock 9 (1978)

...aka: Cellblock 9
...aka: Flucht von der Todesinsel
...aka: Tropical Inferno
...aka: Women of Cellblock 9

Directed by:
Jesus Franco

After unsuccessfully attempting to sneak across the border in a banana truck, three female freedom fighters suspected of palling around with "terrorists" are captured and brought to a South American prison located deep in the jungle. There, all three ladies - full-bodied prostitute Karine Laverne (Karine Gambier), stong but silent Aida Morgan (Aida Gouveia) and sweet n' innocent Barbara Taylor (Esther Studer) - are stripped nude, chained up by their necks in a cell and are subjected to various sadistic tortures cooked up by deranged scientist Dr. Milton Costa (Howard Vernon) and butch warden Loba (no actress credited), who want the ladies to spill the beans about their associates. These tortures (which seem heavily influenced by the ILSA films) involve sitting spread eagle on razors, having electric jolts sent through the nipples, being violated by a rhinosaurus horn and something involving a large metal tube and a gerbil that requires no further explanation. Wrongfully imprisoned student Maria (Susan Hemingway), Loba's "pet," finds herself thrown in the same cell as the revolutionaries.

The captives manage to entice a guard with a four-girl lesbian sandwich, get him to unlock their chains and escape into the jungle, where they're hunted down Most Dangerous Game-style as they look for an ancient temple to hide out in. The catch? They're all buck naked the entire time! Once the ladies clothes come off around the 10 minute mark, they stay off for the rest of the film. In fact, Hemingway (star of Franco's Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun) never once has clothing on. The warden promises her soliders "...a special fifteen days leave of absence. You also have my permission to rape them first!" if they locate them. The nude jungle adventures involve bullet removal with a couple of twigs and a slow swim through a stock-footage-alligator-infested swamp.

Horribly written (what country is this even supposed to take place in?) and acted trash exists for one reason and one reason only - to showcase nude women. It certainly accomplishes that much, and provides some unintentionally hilarious moments along the way. It was one of fifteen films Franco made for Swiss producer Edwin C. Dietrich in the mid/late 70s.


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