The Devil Says

Skip It

(Unless you're a huge WIP fan)

If you're making a Women in Prison flick (WIP) titled Purgatory, and you've hired Tanya Roberts to star, you have to realize that you're not going to be creating Midnight Express.  What you need is nude showering, naked cat fights, exploitative rapes, and a  climactic revenge scene.  Instead, the filmmakers chose long, whiny speeches from Ms Roberts and tons of argumentative conversations between officials.  Wrong decision.  OK, we get a little girls-with-guns action at the end, but it's not enough. 

The story's an exploitation staple.  Two girls are convicted of a crime they didn't commit, and sentenced to a prison where they are sexually abused by the warden and guards and forced to work in a brothel.  Just how many prison brothels are there?  If I were to see the world through WIP movies (now that would be interesting), I'd have to accept that all women's prisons are brothels.  Huh. 

Tanya Roberts nudeThis time the crime is drug smuggling in a very peculiar African country that has reached racial harmony: Blacks and whites, working hand in hand to abuse hot women.  It's kind of heartwarming.  We get to meet many of the racially tolerant soldiers and policemen, which is odd, since most of them have nothing to do with molesting those hardened girls behind bars. It's even odder that most of them pop up, talk on the phone or drive about in a jeep, and then exit the picture. Seven or eight of them could easily have been edited out of the film. Only the warden sticks around long enough to play out the expected doomed-sadist role.

It looks like the filmmakers were excited to get Tanya Roberts, a relatively big name for a WIP picture, and ready to adjust the picture to suit her.  Roberts may not mind showing a bit of skin, but not the degree needed for this genre.  So, they had to fill in the time normally spent with the star being whipped by cruel guards with something, and they didn't care much about what.  Thus the irrelevant military men and cops. Hey, you want to know what to stick in a WIP picture when the star won't wallow in sleaze?  Supporting actresses, wallowing in sleaze! These are not clever filmmakers. They couldn't find any no-name girls to strip and be felt-up by a butch matron?

Tanya Roberts toplessWith so little violence and even less nudity, it's hard to come up with a reason to spend eighty-nine minutes on this sad excuse for an exploitation movie. shot with all the style of an old A-Team episode, it creeps along until finally reaching the preordained revenge/escape. That it's the best part of the film says more about the lowly state of the first hour than it does about the last few minutes.

Don't worry, this sub-genre offers many better opportunities for enjoying a bit of the old ultra-violence. For anyone fearing that women being raped, whipped, and watched as they shower is degrading:

1. What are you doing watching or paying any attention to a Women in Prison movie

2. Any of that would be less degrading than Tanya Roberts emoting on the unfairness of her plight.

Sins (What does this mean?)

Pride Nada.
Sloth Nada.
Avarice Nada.
Gluttony Nada.
Aesthetics Nothings.  Not even a clear view of female flesh.
Surrogate Cruelty A guy's shot, and another is set on fire.  Several off-screen rapes.  And the final revenge killings which are almost satisfying.
Thought Don't make me laugh.
Humor The acting is pretty funny.
Lust Tanya Roberts shows off the slightest flesh on her way into a curtained tub and lying on a bed.  The girls shower, with bare breast but wearing panties, and Roberts keeps her back to the camera.  Plus those non-graphic rapes, including implied oral sex.


Buy It


Film Info

Producer/Director: Ami Artzi

Writers: Paul Aratow, Felix Kroll

Cast: Tanya Roberts, Julie Pop, Hal Orlandini, Adrienne Pearse, Marie Human, Rufus Swart

Runtime: 89 min