Cell Block Girls





   (Made as Thunder Alley in 1974- also popped up on video and drive-ins briefly as Convict Women, Convict Women and Swamp Fever). Our friends at East West DVD (http://www.eastwestdvd.com ) put this one out and I found it at a local WalMart for a buck. The cover hooked me; not because of it’s weak layout, but its promise of “Hot Women BEHIND BARS!” and the stars Robert Shaw (‘Quint’ from Jaws); Ted Cassidy (Lurch from the TV show The Addams Family), and Mickey Rooney (from those pretty bad Judy Garland movies of the 40’s- and his eight (!) marriages) was too big a promise to resist. Yeah, there’s a sucker born every minute…


   Just as a crime lord (Cassidy– obviously the only one in this having any sort of fun with his part) and his henchman are making their way across Florida, four women convicts have escaped (including Carol Locatell, who still acts and has been in things like Friday the 13th– A New Beginning and ER; DeeDee Bradley– who became a Hollywood Casting Director for television;  and Anya Ormsby– who was in Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things and has acted using the pseudonym ‘Onya Mark’ (HAHAHA! Get it? ON YOUR MARK??). Well, they cross paths and it ends up being a fight as to who is going to survive (and who can avoid the cops chasing the girls)?…






   I guess I should have known that all was not what I had hoped for when I opened the package- normally East West DVDs have silk-screened covers; what I ended up getting was a simple shiny disc with a white rectangular label that says in simple font “CELLBLOCK GIRLS”. So then I popped the disc in the player and I get the “menu” page that you see above. When I use to own a DVD burner/player, it was a Panasonic that created menus like above- giving you a date and time stamp of what you recorder. This disc didn’t even Autoplay- you had to select the recording; my guess is that either is the Company’s Master or a test pressing- either way, this is the first time I ever got something like this from a retail outlet. Now, if this were the only problem- well then, OK- I can live with that. But the fun continues…


   ROBERT SHAW ISN’T IN THIS! Where they thought that the Academy Award- nominated actor appeared in this drek I couldn’t tell you. The only one who looks somewhat like him is the Director Chris Robinson (who’s most famous for being in the cult baddie Stanley), who also appears in this as the only decent guy in the whole flick. If they wanted to boost there fake list of stars, they could have added Oliver Reed, who one of the bad guys looks like. As for Mickey Rooney, 22 minutes in you get a bare-chested and bubble-gutted Mickey as the “Gas Station Attendant”, scratchin’ and spittin’ and unspooling pearls of wisdom like “Yeah- whadda ya want?” and “Nature’s my only enemy- I drank too much beer last night” and helps the girls escape (he’s briefly kidnapped) from the cops in his little flat boat down the river, only to be forced out into the water and ‘threatened’ by stock footage of a gator and then is abandoned, splashing around in the water like an idiot. He must have been REEEaaallll hard-up to take this gig- it’s the worst thing that I have ever seen him in (and I’ve seen Skidoo and Platinum High School!)…


   No nudity but some violence (gunplay, cat fights and strangling) and TV language. It’s a full frame print taken from a VHS dupe- I have a feeling that it’s as good as it’s gonna look, as no one would want to release a legitimate copy of this sleazy snorefest. 92 minutes of tedium and low-rent swamp drama- I’d advise to take a pass on this one.



   Cell Block Girls– 1-1/2* out of 5



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