We’re proud to present in partnership with Lunchmeat VHS magazine the best archival reviews from from the Lunchmeat magazine series. Josh Schafer give us his take on “Hellhole”, or as we like to call it….20 minutes in Radioshack.

Lunchmeat Magazine VHS

Hellhole – (1985) Arkoff International
Director – Pierre De Moro
Screenwriter – Aaron Butler/Lance Dickson
RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video (1985)

“Captives…stripped naked, forced to submit to the ultimate experiment!”

Fans of women in prison flicks, you just landed on the right page. This little slice of cinematic sleaze is brimming with tons of gratuitous skin, lesbian sexcapades laced with stolen lab drugs, and of course, an unhinged femme doctor that performs inhuman experiments on disobedient inmates in a dark and dreary boiler room. Now does that sound great or what? Your damn straight it does. And whether it is intentional or not (probably the latter), this film even manages to elicit quite a few laughs with some well placed expletives and some amusing quips from the players.

Judy Landers (B.J. and the Bear, Dr. Alien) plays Susan. A most hapless girl who after witnessing her mother being strangled to death by a killer known simply as “Silk” (played with greasy style by Ray Sharkey), ends up in a sanatorium stricken with a wicked case of amnesia. She has no recollection of the horrid event and is told that she had a nasty fall and is being held at the institution for her safety while her mother is out of town. You see, her mother was hiding some documents that could very well ruin some big shot, so he hired Silk to go in and find them. Since he never got to the damned things, Silk is sent into the asylum posing as an orderly to try and extract the details from Susan and to make sure that when her memory does come back, he is there to intercept any possible trouble that may stem from those pernicious papers. Silk is the man, by the way. He is cool as ice (and apparently smooth as silk!) as he saunters around the halls puffing a smoke, sexing up one of the more ravishing inmates (Edy Williams! Ooo-la-la!), and of course, stirring up a little trouble in the asylum with another orderly by the name of Stevens.

Stevens is that goody-goody type and mainly serves as the guy who is out to ruin all the fun. However, he is on the receiving end of some of Silk’s best one liners and caustic gestures which make him pull his weight. While the plot shambles on, this film freely injects lesbian encounters, patient freak outs and, yes, even a full-frontal shower scene (that culminates in a nude catfight!) to create fodder for the menacing Dr. Fletcher (played by sultry cult favorite Mary Woronov!) as she has her uniformed enforcers drag the insubordinate crazies down to hellhole for her bogus experiments where she jams needles into pretty little necks. Woronov (Death Race 2000, Eating Raoul) is terrific in her role as she adds just enough camp to her character to make it fun to watch without inspiring overwhelming disbelief. It’s also worth mentioning that one can infer that Dr. Fletcher uses the failed experiments to satiate her sexual hang-ups. That doctor really knows how to flex those superiority muscles in the right direction. Trouble comes on the horizon when that cat Stevens (see what I did there?) brings one of his legal buddies in for a surprise inspection. Will the inspectors uncover Dr. Fletcher’s dirty little secret? Honestly, who gives a shit? Bring on more naked crazies!

This film has all the ingredients for a titillating WIP flick mixed with that endearing 80s delivery that makes for one hell of an enjoyable trash gem. Where are these types of films nowadays? Nowhere, I tell you, nowhere! That is exactly what makes them so spectacular. I picked this video up out in California at a second-hand record store for a few dollars. I see it on eBay for about $10 every once in a while, but I am sure it will only continue to go up. Get it while the gettin’s good! The people at RCA/Columbia need to wake up over there. I am beginning to see a dismal pattern with the majority of their video releases. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: look for Robert Z’Dar as Dr. Fletcher’s lead enforcer. He delivers some of the best lines and definitely has Bruce Campbell beat for most commanding chin in horror!

-Josh Schafer

Lunchmeat Magazine