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Hellhole

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    Ian Jane
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  • Hellhole



    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: July 26th, 2016.
    Director: Pierre De Moro
    Cast: Mary Woronov, Robert Z'Dar, Edy Williams, Marjoe Gortner, Richard Cox, Terry Moore, Judy Landers, Ray Sharkey
    Year: 1985
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Directed by 'Pierre De Moro' and produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff, Hellhole begins with a scene where an assassin named Silk (Ray Sharkey), who looks like he just walked off the set of Judas Priest's Hot Rockin' video, breaks into the home of a young woman named Susan (Judy Landers) unaware that she is in the shower. Why? So he can get some papers from her mother (Lynn Borden), papers that would put his employer away for a long time. The papers are hidden, the mom gets killed and Susan makes a break for it. Silk corners her at a construction site and she falls - he assumes - to her death.

    Only she's not dead! She wakes up in an insane asylum - it seems she's suffering from amnesia. But Silk? He's still out to get her. He poses as a worker and makes his way in, spending some quality alone time with his female contact on the inside, Vera (played by Russ Meyer's ex-wife, Edy Williams). He likes it when she calls him daddy and she's not above getting up to some tricky lesbian highjinks in the shower room to get him the information that he needs.

    As Silk takes an unusually long time to track down and take out Judy, she learns the hard way that Dr. Fletcher (Mary Woronov) is a sadistic lesbian that is using some of the female patients as guinea pigs in her mad experiments. Her associate, Dr. Dane (Marjoe Gortner), doesn't approve but the guards, let by beefy Brad (Robert Z'Dar credited here as Robert Darcy) don't mind so much. It gives them an opportunity to get rapey with the poor women. These horrible experiments, which seem to really just involve Fletcher injecting something into the neck of her patients, are conducted in the basement of the facility nicknamed the 'Hellhole.' A nice guy named Stevens is out to help Judy, but will it be enough?

    Essentially an ultra-trashy women in prison movie, Hellhole brings nothing new to the genre. It's formulaic and riddled with one cliché after the next. It plays to stereotypes. It's not got much going on in terms of plot and the pacing is kind of terrible. But you know what? Despite all of this it's pretty entertaining if you're in the right mood for it. Those looking for a horror picture could be setting themselves up for disappointment as there's nothing frightening about this movie at all save for a few bad boob jobs and Z'Dar's mighty chin. But fans of cheap, trashy exploitation? This'll deliver.

    The cast is pretty killer. Z'Dar's role is a supporting one but he makes the most of it and roughs up pretty much everyone that he comes into contact with. Marjoe Gortner is also here in more of a supporting capacity but he's fun in the part. Edy Williams spends most of her time in her birthday suit, so there's that, and look for none other than Ilsa herself, Dyanne Thorne, cast here as one of the crazy patients! Judy Landers is fun to look at but more than a little wooden as Susan. She's likeable enough, and really the material doesn't ask much of her so her work here is fine, it just lacks a bit of range is all. The real starts of the show are Woronov and Sharkey. Woronov has been type cast in roles like this over the years but that's because she's good in them. She does the stern thing well, you can buy her as a lesbian (she cover this in her interview in an amusing way) and she definitely puts plenty of diabolical enthusiasm into the part. Sharkey is… awesome. He's over the top more often than not and he struts about in some pretty nutty costumes. This guy was born to play a sleazy bad guy and that's exactly what he does here.

    On top of that, the 'Hellhole' itself is interesting. Given that this is the basement the facility it makes sense that there are lots of pipes and Freddy-esque boiler room props kicking about. What you don't expect, however, is some seriously dope colored lighting effects. For reasons never really explained, much of this area is bathed in orange, red and blue - you can't quite called it Bava or Argento-esque, but there are times where it gets pretty close! On top of that there's nudity aplenty - we get shower scenes, a weird mud bath scene, a naked cat fight in a locker room and some good old fashioned sex - and a fair bit of depravity too. This isn't deep, it isn't really even all that original, but it is good trashy fun.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Shout! Factory brings Hellhole to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p 1.78.1 widescreen high definition transfer. To do this they had to use two sources - the interpositive and a theatrical print. The bulk of the footage comes from the IP and it looks quite nice. There is a slight drop in quality when footage from the theatrical print is used, but it's slight. For the most part the two sources actually jive pretty well. Some print damage shows up here and there but for the most part the image is pretty clean. Color reproduction is great, there are a lot of bold, bright primary colors used throughout this movie and they look awesome in high definition. Detail is decent enough, and there's a reasonable amount of texture and depth here. This won't win transfer of the year but it looks decent. The image is free of obvious noise reduction and there are no compression problems to note.

    The English language DTS-HD 2.0 mix is fine. Dialogue is easy enough to follow and the levels are properly balanced. There aren't any issues with hiss or distortion and this is a perfectly fine mix. Optional subtitles are provided in English only.

    The main extra on the disc is a five minute interview with Mary Woronov, who looks back on this one reasonably fondly and with a good sense of humor. She knew exactly what kind of movie was being made with this project and doesn't seem to have any regrets - at least she had fun working on it!

    A theatrical trailer is also included, as are static menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release there's also a DVD disc included inside the Blu-ray case alongside the Blu-ray disc. Extras on that disc mirror those found on the Blu-ray.

    The Final Word:

    Hellhole is pretty trashy stuff, but entertainingly so! The film might rely really heavily on a lot of genre clichés but at least it's never dull - and what a cast! Shout! Factory have done a decent enough job bringing this one to Blu-ray in its full strength cut and the interview with Woronov, while on the short side, is a lot of fun. If sleazy, cheap thrills are your thing, this one will scratch that itch.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!































    • Mike DiRoma
      #1
      Mike DiRoma
      Senior Member
      Mike DiRoma commented
      Editing a comment
      Good review, good movie. Probably the first WIP movie I rented and pleased by the high sleaze factor.Sharkey died way too soon. Now we have to wait for a BD of Du-Beat-E-O. :woot:

    • Jason C
      #2
      Jason C
      Senior Member
      Jason C commented
      Editing a comment
      Enjoyed the review. Sounds like I'll love it.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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