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Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Ah, yes.  It was only a matter of time before Retrospace touched one of the most reviled and rejected genres of cinema - the Women In Prison (WIP) films.  Why was there no love for WIP? Well, let's just say that masochism became politically incorrect.  But, once upon a time, the WIP flick was quite popular in grindhouses and in the early days of VHS - so much so, that there is no accounting for how many were actually released.  Suffice it to say, there are plenty to keep you occupied.

This is is a VHS post, so I've got plenty of cover scans to share with you.  But before I do, let me explain the basics of the WIP flick for the uninitiated.

Basically, they all follow a basic template, and it's really amazing how rarely these films violate the 'guidelines". The sacred tropes of the WIP film are as follows:
  1. The main character is unjustly thrown into a prison.  She has been framed, committed a justifiable crime for the greater good (i.e. killing her rapist) or sometimes she enters the prison under false pretense to infiltrate the system. We'll call her The Final Girl (FG)
  2. There is always at least one group shower scene.
  3. There is always a wicked warden.  Often it is a dominatrix styled female.
  4. There is generally a butch assistant to the warden who does his or her dirty work.
  5. The FG befriends a poor weak girl (who often cradles a teddy bear and cries a lot).  This weak character is summarily offed by rival inmates or the wicked warden. 
  6. The FG becomes a special interest to the warden when she steps into trouble one too many times.  The FG is usually sequestered to an isolation tank after a beating.
  7. An inmate is brutally tortured by the wicked warden.  It is generally the film's most graphic scene, so it's played by a no-name actor willing to do anything onscreen to make a buck.
  8. The FG always has a rival inmate.  Typically this animosity will erupt into violence in the mess hall or the prison yard.
  9. There is always a male prison guard who is ridiculously sleazy.  Typically he will provide favors to the FG for a price.
  10. The movie always ends in large scale rioting.  The warden and her assistant die horrible deaths. The FG (and sometimes her arch rival) escape.
If anyone out there would like to fill in the gaps with any other tropes, please do so.  Otherwise, on with the video covers. (You'll note that a lot of these are not domestic VHS tapes. Make no mistake, there were US WIP tapes a plenty, I just don't have them.)





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