Emanuelle Escapes from Hell (Emanuelle fuga dall’inferno) (aka Emanuelle in Prison, Women’s Prison Massacre, Blade Violent) (Bruno Mattei, 1983)

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Intrepid reporter Emanuelle finds herself incarcerated in a women’s prison after threatening to expose a corrupt official. Humiliated and tortured by the sadistic penal staff, things take a turn for the worse when the prison is taken over by a group of escaped male convicts.
In this final entry to the Black Emanuelle series, the always idiosyncratic Bruno Mattei (Strike Commando, Hell of the Living Dead) presents an unusual take on the standard women in prison model that proves to be a refreshing diversion from the usual “torture sluts, rinse, repeat” meanderings.  Sure there’s plenty of girl on girl action, full frontal nudity, the obligatory shower/washroom scenes, sadism and the like – which is welcome and expected by fans of the subgenre – but about half way through the debauchery Mattei introduces a male element into the prison (who act like kids in a candy store, having the run of the place) and then shit gets really interesting.
COSDS-Emanuelle-Escapes-from-Hell00002Filmed back to back with the equally outstanding Violence in a Women’s Prison, Emanuelle Escapes from Hell is fortuitously populated with much of the same talent including but not limited to: Laura Gemser (Black Emanuelle series, Erotic Nights of the Living Dead), her real life husband and oft collaborator Gabriele Tinti (Cut and Run, Emanuelle in America), Franca Stoppi (Beyond the Darkness, The Other Hell), and the always lovely Lorraine De Selle (Madness, House on the Edge of the Park) as the cruel warden.
COSDS-Emanuelle-Escapes-from-Hell00005One of the most entertaining aspects of this film is the often bizarre dialogue that is uttered with the sincerest bitterness. Lines like “I’d like to bite your nipples off. And I’ll do it!!!” and “Take my advice and die!” are so riotously outlandish that they’re likely to coax a chortle out of even the most stoic of viewers. In addition to the high camp factor of these exchanges, the characters themselves are functionally retarded for the most part – the death row inmates that wind up taking over the prison being the worst offenders. In an oddly roundabout way, the film contains a slightly misandric message in that things start out reasonably bad (we are in prison, after all), but once the male element is introduced with its blatantly Neanderthal approach the circumstances turn infinitely worse in a very short time. However, the fact that the women in the prison are quite adept at dominating each other when left to their own devices yet when confronted by a group of predatory men they are reduced to helpless victims themselves smacks of a specific brand of misogyny.  As a result Emanuelle Escapes from Hell seems to have a lot to say, but remains very noncommittal on bias.
Like many of its ilk, Emanuelle Escapes from Hell contains its fair share of abused naked sluts; stockings fans should take heed that the film was partially financed by a French pantyhose company thus ensuring that the ladies in question stay garbed appropriately during their time on screen. Titillating aspects aside, the film also boasts some pretty memorable bits of violence and gore – a scene involving a female inmate who foils a rape attempt by inserting a razor blade/cork into her ladybits as well as a particularly nasty game of Russian roulette being the most remarkable.
As for the score – while entertaining in its own right – is heavily influenced by Goblin’s soundtrack to Dawn of the Dead (in some parts it’s practically identical). This shouldn’t come as a surprise as Mattei was a known admirer of Romero even going as far as to often use the pseudonym “Vincent Dawn” as homage to the man’s work. This is far from detrimental to the film, but more of a nod and a wink to those of us who have spent way too much time cramming our heads full of this sort of nonsense over the decades.
As far as the Black Emanuelle series goes, Emanuelle Escapes from Hell is essential viewing and without a doubt one of the stronger entries. Genre fans would be remiss to let this one slip through their sweaty little fingers.
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:
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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.

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