Thursday, February 27, 2014


REFORM SCHOOL GIRLS (1986) (R) Dir. Tom DeSimone
94 mins.
Jenny is a driver for a heist with her boyfriend (?). He shoots a cop; they get caught. TITLE SCREEN. Honestly, the title screen in this is so amazing.
Jenny is sent by a judge to Pridemore reform school (which looks less like a school and more like a prison), where she is bunked with bully Charlie (Wendy O. Williams), terrorized by lesbian rapist Nurse Edna, and ultimately oppressed by the uncaring warden (played by Cybil Danning.... insert Howling II joke here).
The corruption is absolute and poor Jenny is thrust into a world of sadism, hopelessness, rape, and lingerie-clad inmates. It's typical of the genre, but it's good. Softcore nudity, wacky prison hijinks and off screen animal cruelty all lead to a very entertaining climax where the girls riot and liberate the prison. Even Wendy O.'s despicable character gets her redemption in these scenes, and they are epic.
Yet, as the chaos dies down, in the last reels, only Jenny gets to leave the school; maintaining that the prison is still up and running, despite the wholesale destruction of the compound by the livid inmates. Cybil Danning's Warden Sutter seemingly (as in, it's not brought up) survives the coup, so maybe that explains the abrupt and perplexing ending.
Reform School Girls works as both a parody of the women in prison genre and also as a genuinely quality exercise in the format. The Wendy O. songs are a welcome addition to the women's prison clichés, and the whole movie stinks with the rancid sweat of 80's nostalgia, even if you haven't seen it before. Tiffany Helm, the dancing goth chick from Friday the 13th V is in this as well. Oh, and as a side note, naked prisoners, forced to spread, are sprayed with DDT. I'll just end on that. 6/10

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