Very Much A… – Hellhole (1985)

Hellhole, a film released in 1985 falls more into the exploitation and women in prison genres than it does horror but it is there, fleetingly as the warden performs experiments on the unruly inmates, sometimes killing them or leaving them lobotomized monsters. That being said, the horror quotient in this film is low, at least in the more conventional aspects that one associates with that type of film.

Such as it is, the movie features all of those tropes one expects to find in a film like this – a ton of nudity, a shower scene, lesbian antics, drugs and so forth. There is even a mud bath being taken by a couple of the women towards the end of the film which served no real purpose so one has to wonder just why it was included other than the obvious. The villain of the piece is played by Mary Woronov who turns in a fun performance as the warden, a sexually repressed being who is attracted to women and who is looking to see her experiments succeed, though if it was ever explicitly said what she was hoping to accomplish must have been lost in the sea of lady fights and bare breasts. Everything that happened felt fairly pointless as the original plot about some sort of missing papers that would convict or free a criminal was lost amid everything else and to a point, so was lead actress Judy Landers as she would take a back seat to all of the action in the final act.

As for Landers, she was decent enough but it would be Woronov who would stand out more than most. Also starring would be Ray Sharkey as a sleazy killer who at first would refuse to follow Landers to the sanitarium in order to get those aforementioned papers but once there, would find himself partaking of the women who were only too happy to allow him to do so. At the end of the day though, one does not choose to watch this film for its cast but for the obvious and playing it up as a horror movie is quite misleading as it is hardly touched upon though one could argue there is plenty of horror present given everything these women are put through.

If there had just been a little more focus on the script, the acting and a good dose of blood, perhaps Hellhole would have been better than it was but as it is, there is very little to chew on.

2 out of 5

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