When Janie’s sister is abducted and taken to a women’s prison in the Phillipines (to be used as a guinea pig for scientific research), the young veterinarian goes to great lengths to ensure that she will be incarcerated at the same prison in order to free her. There she meets a bevy of stock characters (the nymphomaniac, the lunatic, the addict, the inmate who smuggles various essentials in her a*s…), vicious homosexual guards (led by Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman), and the new, inexperienced slacker warden (appointed by the even-more-and-gleefully-vicious, though underused, Woronov). Let’s not forget the mad scientist conducting the experiments on the aforementioned sister (“curing the common cold through torture and mutilation”). Throw in a random ninja attack and a shower scene countdown clock, and you have the makings of a lunatic good time.
Barak Epstein’s women-in-prison parody definitely gets better as it goes along. While the editing could definitely be tighter, which would aid in the joke-delivery department, the movie is so good-natured and goofy, it’s difficult to even nitpick its drawbacks. Shot on 35mm on an obvious shoe-string budget, everyone involved seems to be having a wonderful time. Shear does a surprisingly good job as the appealing nympho “Jackpot” and it’s always wonderful to see Woronov, though you can’t help but wish she’d been in the movie more.
The most shocking and surprising aspect of the movie, considering its distributor, is just how tame the movie is. Apart from a few gross-out moments and very minimal nudity, “Prison A-Go-Go” could play on extended cable with virtually no editing. Yes, there are about six or seven shower scenes peppered throughout the movie (and, yeah, that countdown clock gets a little annoying after a while), but aside from some very brief topless shots, they’re the cleanest shower scenes ever filmed (pun intended). Again, considering that Shock-O-Rama is a sub-label of EI, most viewers will be expecting wall-to-wall lesbian action and gratuitous nudity. The resulting silliness is actually a welcome surprise.