Girls in Prison (1994) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Girls in Prison was directed by the same guy who did Wild Things, so it would not be unreasonable to expect sleazy, entertaining, tongue-in-cheek camp.

There is some of that, but this film has a big flaw in it. Somewhere in the middle, they forgot it was a satire. The first ten minutes of it are marvelous, with high camp pictorializations of early 1950's anti-communist paranoia, and faithful recreations of the stock characters from movies in that period period. The combination of intentionally bad acting, excessively dramatic music, and period movie clichés (the headlines spinning into focus) makes it very amusing.


They did manage two great shower scenes, which provided all of the nudity.

Anne Heche shows breasts in the second shower scene, Ione Skye shows breasts and buns in a lesbian shower scene with Bahni Turpin, and several unknowns show all three Bs in the shower scenes.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen

  • no features

Of course, all that was just a set-up for the incarceration of the various stock dames we need to be in the hoosegow so we can watch a parody of cheesy WIP films. Unfortunately, the jokes soon fizzle out, and we end up watching a cheesy WIP film instead of a parody of one, with the director only intermittently remembering that it's supposed to be a send-up.

Too bad, because they started out with a lot of promise, and completely lost the thread.

TUNA's Thoughts

Girls in Prison (1994) is a Showtime production direct to cable, and is supposed to be a send-up of many things, including the 50's "red menace," McCarthyism, public service films about "girls in trouble", and "women in prison" flicks. For a TV movie, they put a lot of effort in the 50's decor and props, and the film was brilliant, with one major exception. They were totally unable to create a spoof of WIP films, possibly because those are so exaggerated already. The only in prison sequence that worked at all was a sack race, where the inmates acted like it was roller derby for $2M. Had they solved the problem of exaggerating the prison sequences, this would have been a great flick. Anne Heche oozed screen presence in this bad girl role.

The Critics Vote

  • Apollo 74/100

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 4.4/10, Apollo users 50/100
  • with their dollars: made for cable
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D+. Could have been a decent comedy if they had stayed focused on that. Tuna says: "While parts of the film were outstanding, I cringed every moment they took us inside the prison. The 4/3 aspect ratio is expected in a TV film, but  special features might have been interesting on this bare bones DVD. Yet, for a made for TV, it is only a little below average. C-."

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