Lust for Freedom (1987) from Brainscan

One of our readers recently wrote a twenty-word review of a girls-in-prison-movie. Most useful twenty words I've read in a long time. Went something like this: it's not an exploitation flick so there is no communal shower scene, no abusive female guards, no male rapist guards, no lesbian contact between inmates.

Now the mirror image of that a movie is Lust for Freedom (1987). All I need to say is that it IS an exploitation girls-in-prison movie. So there is a communal shower scene, an abusive female guard who has an inmate whipped, a male guard who forces himself on an inmate and a girl-meet-girl scene between inmates. That makes Lust a standard, run-of-the-mill "girls behind bars" movie. What makes Lust stand out is that all the above occurs in a five-minute stretch. Three of the "magic four" are filmed as if they are going on simultaneously ... in adjacent cells ... as the wrongly imprisoned good girl looks on passively. And okay, she'd just gotten the shit kicked out of her by the bad inmates, but there is plenty to suggest the lack of emotion is SOP for the actress playing our protagonist (one Melanie Coll, whose career in Hollywood spanned this entire film).

Before and after the fabulous five minutes is bullshit. Pure, unrefined, in fact distilled to its very essence, bullshit.

Gal is a cop, sees her betrothed blown away in a drug bust gone bad, moves to Georgia County ... which is either in Arizona or West Texas, around El Paso somewhere, maybe Van Horn, who the fuck knows. Gets thrown into prison for no reason whatsoever after she picks up a gal, who just disappears and then is gunned down after a burly native American guy in a van runs down her 240Z. This is some ass-kicking van because later it runs down a GTO. Gals in prison are there because about 142 people, including all the guards, all the local cops, the warden, the judge, everyfuckingbody in their little Van Horn planet is blessed with no conscience at all. Not one little bit of an inner voice that says stuffing women into prison so you can drug them and film them in snuff movies is just not the right way to lead one's life.

That's the drama side ... just the smelliest bullshit you have ever encountered. What about the action? Two little sequences sum up the quality of the action side.

1) Main gal gets jumped by another inmate but, 'cuz she's a cop, you know, and a badass mofo-in' cop at that, she flips the other gal over and adopts the most ridiculous martial arts posture you will ever see. Arms a-flaillin', hopping 'round like a toad, with all the grace of Chevy Chase doing a Gerald Ford impression. Never been done better, not even in the very best parody by the most gifted physical comedian. Hilarious stuff. Unintentional, but hilarious.

2) Then, towards the end when the cop-gal gets herself armed with a fully automatic weapon, almost a SAW but not quite so large, and she puts a couple o' rounds into a male guard, he starts to slump forward. I can see that. About a third of the way, down, however, he flings his shotgun onto the desk in front of him. Doesn't throw it, in some last act of defiance against the world that made then abandoned him. He just tosses it, in the most girlish act, as if he could hear Sister Mary walking down the hall and he knew, just knew, she was going to rap his knuckles with her ruler if she caught him dead with a shotgun in his hands. Silliest damn thing I have seen in any movie in my entire life, ever.

There are two ways to view all this. The writer could be a genius with a comedic irony streak running through him that would make Jon Stewart look like Bill O'Reilly. In that case it's all the director's fault. Every last bit of this monumental failure in style and substance could be placed at his feet ... in that case. But wait, the writer IS the director, one Eric Louzil. IMDb has the boy writing, directing or producing just about every bad movie in the entire database.

(as director)

  1. (3.72) - Dilemma (1997)
  2. (3.37) - Class of Nuke 'Em High 3: The Good, the Bad and the Subhumanoid (1994)
  3. (3.35) - Class of Nuke 'Em High Part II: Subhumanoid Meltdown (1991)
  4. (2.79) - Lust for Freedom (1987)
  5. (2.68) - Fatal Pursuit (1998)

(as producer)

  1. (4.30) - In Dark Places (1997)
  2. (3.52) - Shock 'Em Dead (1991)
  3. (3.21) - Shadows Run Black (1986)
  4. (2.23) - Sizzle Beach, U.S.A.

Sizzle Beach, Class of Nuke Em High Part 2, every damn piece of flotsam and jetsam you could imagine.

So okay you get the message, this one of watch with all ten fingers on the fast forward button. What's the payoff?


see the main commentary

Well, that would be eight gals topless or better.

  • One of them is Michelle Bauer, default B-movie babe of the 80's and 90's in all her full frontal glory.
  • Another is Lisa Stagno, better known as 80's pornstar Crystal Breeze. She had a perfect body, BTW, and is the one who does the lesbo-lite routine with Michelle.
  • And Pamela Gilbert, topless and drugged as the snuffette.
  • Plus a scrawny redhead named Adrian Scott, who did this movie and had a bit part in The Doors. Full frontal from her, too.
  • Minor characters also give up some goodies.
  • Mary Robinson flashes our Native American friend in his van... which is not a good idea in downtown Philadelphia, surrounded by cops but is criminally stupid on a lonely county road.
  • Elizabeth Carroll plays an inmate. You see her face with her shirt on. You see soom hooters in a shirt that's been cut off. Problem here is that the cut up shirt is in shot that precedes the face shot with the intact shirt. Conclusion? Body double.
  • Last up you see a couple of fine looking gals in a shower. Unnamed fine looking gals.

Let us finish by noting this is a Troma Productions film and that the transfer to DVD was done as if by a group of amateurs, neither terribly bright nor particularly interested. Ah, dear reader, but I repeat myself.

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics, possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

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