I’ve been following this actress, Lori Jo Hendrix on her Facebook page, whom I’d seen in several Playboy videos in the 90’s. And yesterday she brought up this movie she was in, called Prison Heat, and how it’s officially out of print and therefor hard to find. And I remember it, and how I still had this on video tape, from when I recorded it off cable TV all those years ago. And just for fun I thought I’d look up that tape and give it another viewing.
Released in 1993, this film was written by David Alexander and directed by Joel Silberg. It opens in Greece with four female friends, Bonnie (Hendrix), Michelle (Gilya Stern), Colleen (Rebecca Chambers), and Audrey (Kena Land), who are vacation for some kind of school trip (presumably college). They decide to take detour to Turkey, but are stopped at the border where corrupt guards plant cocaine on them, and arrest them. They’re taken to a brutal women’s prison, which is run by a sadistic warden named Saladin (played by Uri Gavriel), and his main guard Faida (Katia Zinbris).
From there on most of the rest of the film is standard “Women in Prison” film fare. There are the prerequisite shower scenes, filled with naked women (except for Kena Land, whom I noticed never get nude or even topless in this film, only seen in bra and panties, unlike the other actresses), and cat fights in the cafeteria and prison yard. The four ladies quickly run afoul of Hellena (Toni Naples), a tough prisoner who has her own little gang inside the prison, who sets her sights on Bonnie and tries to assault her. Hellena is not the only one with designs on Bonnie, as Saladin takes her and rapes her repeatedly in the shower and in his office, almost driving her to suicide. Colleen, the defacto leader of her friends, tries to stick up for them, and finds herself thrown in solitary confinement for her efforts.
Eventually, the ladies learn that Saladin is using the prisoners to smuggle sex slaves to some unnamed Arab Sheik, where ladies are framed and taken to the prison and held there until Saladin picks the ones to sell to the Sheik, for the Sheik’s personal harem. So they try to devise a plan to escape and get the proof they need to expose the warden’s crimes. But not only do they have to outsmart the warden and his guards, Hellena is also keeping an eye on them, and suspects that they’re up to something. All of this leads to a thrilling and suspenseful action-packed conclusion, which I won’t spoil here (other than to say that Bonnie does get some pretty direct and final payback on Saladin).
As far Women In Prison films go, Prison Heat doesn’t feel as exploitative as other films in this genre tend to. There is some shooting and stabbing, but nothing too gory is shown, and the rape scenes take place off-camera. Really, if you removed the nudity, this could film could easily be shown on the Lifetime Channel, or Spyke TV, alongside alongside other late-80’s/early 90’s action films like American Ninja.
Like I said, it’s out of print. So VHS or DVD copies can be hard to find. All the copies on Amazon are from 3rd part sellers and very expensive, although a seller is offering it for sale much cheaper on iOffer.com