• RELEASE DATE: Now Available on Blu-ray/DVD (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
• WRITTEN BY: Milo G. Cuccia
• DIRECTED BY: Jess Franco
• STARRING: Maria Schell, Luciana Paluzzi, Mercedes McCambridge
-Reviewed by Daniel XIII
If there are two things that go great together it’s chocolate and peanut butter. If there are two more things that go great together it’s Jess Franco and sleazy as all shit women in prison movies. Guess what we are reviewing today my creeps? That’s right, Reeses new Herbert Lom commemorative edition peanut butter cups! What’s that? 99 WOMEN? Oh…
99 WOMEN starts off with a gaggle of lascivious ladies being sailed to an island prison as a “right on” mod rock anthem plays. It isn’t even five minutes in before we learn that this is the type of institution that doesn’t take a single pellet of shit from anyone, as the scene chewing wicked warden (who of course is a lesbian for good measure) let’s us know. We also soon discover that things look rather bleak for our heroine, 99, and her cell mates as prisoners keep dying due to the extreme punishments that are doled out. In between the violence we are treated to oddly staged lesbian sex featuring those Franco greatest hits; zooms on nothing and out of focus photography. Before long a new supervisor arrives to investigate the rampant ass beatery so things are bound to get better for our pals, right? If you answer “yes” to that than I absolutely know you have n’er laid your eerie eyeballs on a “women in prison” picture before!
Nowhere near as filthy and “wrong” as these pictures would become; 99 WOMEN nonetheless features it’s fair share of soft lesbianism, deplorable authority figures and illicit situations to satisfy lovers of the genre. This being a Jess Franco production you can also expect some artiness (such as the sequences that detail how some of the women became incarcerated…the aesthetics of which bring to mind sequences from FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: JAILHOUSE 41 which came three years after this film’s release) among the titillation, as well as inexplicable choices in cinematography as mentioned above.
If there’s a negative to be had here for me it’s a sequence where a snake is stabbed. If that was somehow faked it showed a level of expertise beyond anything else in the picture.
So that’s the flick itself; but I know you’re wondering what bounty of bonuses this release contains…and I’m fixin’ to tell ya! First up is an archival interview with Jess Franco where he details the production of 99 WOMEN, followed by an interview with Franco expert Stephen Thrower that explores the professional relationship between Jess and producer Harry Alan Towers (and the films they created). Also included are a collection of deleted and alternate scenes (including nearly 20 minutes of “what the fuckery” from some rando distributor who decided to include his own scenes without informing Joltin’ Jess…a true laugh riot), the film’s theatrical trailer, and a still gallery. But wait! You also get a DVD copy of the film, a collectible booklet, and the soundtrack on a separate CD!
If you’re a fan of ol’ freaky Franco or a women in prison buff this is simply a can’t miss release; especially with the bonus features Blue Underground have included! Recommended!