Reviewed byScott LeBrunVote: 7/10
Objectively speaking, this B flick is a mess, with a sometimes incoherent screenplay by Aaron Butler. Judy Landers stars as Susan, a young woman who's forced to witness her mother being killed by gleeful thug "Silk" (a scenery chewing Ray Sharkey). While fleeing him, she has a bad fall, gets amnesia, and ends up confined to a mental institution for young women. And it just so happens that the mad doctor in charge, Fletcher (Mary Woronov), is up to no good, performing insidious lobotomy type experiments.
"Hellhole" is not without the charms common to such exercises in pure sleaze. This exploitation-melodrama-horror film comes complete with all of the girl ogling / female nudity that a trash lover could want. There's even a pointless mud bath sequence that one must assume was in there because the producers demanded it. There is some decent atmosphere, but there is practically no gore to speak of. Some viewers will have to prepare themselves for the fact that some story elements are introduced and then pretty much dropped: the "papers" that the bad guys controlling Silk want so badly come off as a MacGuffin.
Making it all worth watching is a B movie cast to die for. Woronov gives easily the best performance in this thing, camping it up in her turn as the female villain. Sharkey is blatantly comical and offbeat as the psycho goon. She may be very sexy, but the less said about Landers' acting, the better. Also turning up are Marjoe Gortner, Richard Cox, Edy Williams, Robert Z'Dar (in his first film), Cliff Emmich, Lynn Borden, Dyanne Thorne, and Carole White. Cox is the nominal hero, a nice guy orderly who sympathizes with Susans' plight. Z'dar is amusing as a sadistic guard. Thornes' cameo as an inmate who thinks she's an actress is a highlight.
Executive produced by A.I.P. legend Samuel Z. Arkoff, and co-produced by his son Lou.
Six out of 10.
Reviewed byCoventryVote: 7/10
Maybe the golden years of sleazy & campy "Women in Prison" were long history by then already; maybe it didn't get properly promoted or announced in trailers (like "Reform School Girls", for example) or maybe it's just not good enough to compete with other & more successful films with a similar theme, but "Hell Hole" is a totally anonymous & overlooked 80's exploitation flick that only a handful of genre fanatics have heard of. The obscure status of this film honestly surprises me, as it has a fairly interesting cast (including Ray Sharkey, Judy Landers, Mary "Eating Raoul" Woronov and even Robert "Maniac Cop" Z'Dar) and a plot outline that certainly appeals to fans of rancid exploitation. Landers stars as a twenty-something and supposedly sexy young woman who witnesses her mother getting killed by cheesy and unconvincing killer Sharkey, because he's looking for "papers" that apparently are very important to him as well as to the people who hired him to kill the woman and to get rid of any other possible witnesses. Just what exactly are these papers? Damned if I know? Throughout the entire movie, the value and importance of these papers is continuously emphasized, yet not one character ever reveals anything about their content. Anyway, Sharkey fails to get rid of Landers properly, but instead she falls down a construction site and suffers from amnesia. She's brought to a sanatorium where a she faces a whole new series of issues, like sadistic wardens, lesbian and power-mad inmates and ? of course ? the female head doctor who submits patients to grotesque lobotomy experiments. If all that isn't enough, Sharkey shows up in the clinic as well (as a fake doctor) and uses his charms on other patients to get rid of Susan. "Hollhole" is a crazy, incompetent and overall ridiculous film. The screenplay doesn't make any sense and seriously lacks coherence as well as basic logic. There seem to be very few wardens and security personnel in the clinic. Most of the time, the patients ? who are supposed to be dangerous and severely unstable ? are left completely unsupervised and whenever a riot or cat-fight breaks out, it literally takes several minutes before someone in a white coat shows up. Dr. Fletcher's experiments in the basement of the asylum are quite stupid & pointless, and don't expect to see much gore or sadistic images here, neither. Admittedly there's a fair amount of sleaze and female nudity to enjoy in "Hellhole", but the same girls exclusively provide it over and over again. In case you're hoping to catch a glimpse at Judy Landers voluptuous curves, don't hold your breath? Apparently, her contracted stated that she could keep a robe on at all times. The last half hour of this movie is indescribably retarded and boring at the same time, which certainly isn't the best combination. It's fun to watch Robert Z'Dar playing a crazed sanatorium warden, but he as well as Mary Woronov are given way too few screen time. Only recommended in case you're really, really bored ?. Or in case you feel the urge to check out every single variant of Women in Prison movies that ever got released.
Reviewed bymegatone230Vote: 5/10
I remember first seeing this exploitation gem on HBO in the mid 80's, while spending the night at a friends house during 8th grade. It reminded me of a cheaper, dirtier Reform School Girls.
Mary Woronov as the deliciously evil, Dr. Fletcher has some great moments. I especially love when she blows the state inspectors a kiss goodbye while they are leaving the hospital... (after nearly discovering her clandestine, underground chamber of horrors, known simply and ominously as Hell Hole.
Lots of the actors look like rejects from a lame porno movie, and deliver their lines accordingly. One will find themselves alternately rolling their eyes and laughing their butts off while watching this.
The movie also has one of those great, cheesy synthesizer soundtracks to add to the fun. If you enjoy watching a movie just to see how bad it is, filled with senseless violence, drugs and lesbian sex, then watch Hellhole.
An unlucky woman's mother is murdered by a scarf-wielding killer named Silk, leaving the woman injured, traumatised and suffering from amnesia. She's committed to a mental institution, where Silk follows her, looking for the papers he was trying to get from her mother. And Silk's only the beginning of her problems, since the asylum is run by a mad doctor, performing experiments in chemical lobotomies!