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Title: Hellhole

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :3stars:
Audio: :3stars:
Extras: :2stars:

HTS Overall Score:58



Ahh, the horrible trappings of my youth. Well, to be exact more like the late night, 2:00 A.M. riddled youth where I would stay up against the knowledge of my parents and watch late night trash cable movies until my eyes bled (or at least until an hour or so before my parents would get up and I would sneak back to bed till the next late weekend movie marathon). “Hellhole” was one of those late night excursions, although I had completely forgotten about it until I saw the press release from Scream! Factory, and with it came a flood of pre-teen memories with it. I can’t say with a clean conscience that “Hellhole” is a good movie. In fact it is a horrifyingly BAD, awful, no good pile of inane drivel that could only have come from the 1980’s. But it is one of the most ridiculously awesome bad, awful, no good pile of inane drivel that I have ever seen. Taking a cue from a billion other late night trash movies with lascivious prison guards and desperately beautiful prisoners, “Hellhole” rolls around in the garbage and low brow filmography, just relishing every delicious morsel of insanity.

The opening scene sets up the tone for the whole movie. Susan (Julie Landers) is there to witness the murder of her mother, who has been executed for knowing too much about her employer. Facilitating the murder is a crazy assassin by the name of Silk (the late Ray Sharkey), who sings children’s rhymes as he murders his victims. Thinking he killed Susan as watching her fall off of a building, his employer has to send him in for round two when Susan wakes up with amnesia. Transferring her to a mental ward where she has no one to talk to, said employer sends Silk back in to terrorize the poor girl and find out just what exactly she remembers. However, Silk is not the only monster in Ashland Sanitarium. The place is more than just an insane asylum, with Drs. Fletcher (a ludicrously tall Mary Woronov) and Dr. Dane (Marjoe Gortner) are performing chemical lobotomy experiments on poor patients down in the abandoned storage building, nicknamed the “Hellhole”.

However, hope is not COMPLETELY lost as there is an orderly there by the name of Ron Stevens (Richard Cox) who has a few secrets of his own. It seems that he is actually working undercover in an effort to expose the crazed Drs. And their twisted experiments. With that being said, it may be a tougher job than he thinks, as the mixture of evil doctors, mysterious benefactors on the outside as well as the inclusion of the heavily unpredictable Silk may throw a monkey wrench into the plans of the good orderly.

“Hellhole” is not even subjectively a good movie. It revels in the low brow sort of filth and insanity that is usually displayed on late night weekends around 2:00 A.M. You know, the kind of lurid insanity where a gang of women is being held prisoner by an evil overlord (usually a female herself) where everyone looks like a 1980’s model and run around with skimpy outfits beating each other up (sometimes with and sometimes without the outfits). However the movies is an INCREDIBLY guilty pleasure. The sheer insanity and over the top acting by everyone (and the over the top psycho-lurid action) makes it a joy to watch. In fact, the best way to watch “Hellhole” is through the eyes of a comedy. I know I laughed more times in this 95 minute film than I do in most modern comedies. Everyone acts like they’re on their first movie and stares into the camera with villainous gusto. Nothing is left to the imagination and nothing is ever unpredictable (these movies never are).

I honestly though the dialog couldn’t get any worse, but the over acting from the underpaid and EXTREMELY stupid sound actors was even better (or worse, depending on your point of view). The hulking Robert Z’dar (you need to see him in “Samurai Cop, one of the worst movie ever made, and “Maniac Cop” to get his cult following) makes an appearance as a thug working for Dr. Fletcher, and the late Ray Sharkey hams it up as the over indulgent assassin, Silk. He chews up the scenery with glee, muttering threats into his 70’s pornstache, while singing nursery rhymes during his murders and making out with a pair of bimbo orderlies. Mary Woronov is disturbingly twisted with her kink infused lobotomy experiments, while Julie Landers” runs around looking scared the whole movie with a head of hear that’s bigger than over stuffed chest.


Rated R by the MPAA

Video :3stars:
The film starts out with a message that the negatives for “Hellhole” are long gone and that the last inner positive is missing scenes. However a film print was found and cleaned up as best as could be done and then spliced in the missing scenes from that print, leaving the film looking a bit ugly and patchworked. You can definitely tell the difference, with the digital inner positive looking a bit nicer with some decent film grain and acceptable detail. The old print is definitely more thread bare, with lots of smearing and some nasty noise and heavy crush in the sweltering Freddy Krueger inspired boiler room torture chamber. The film looks a good bit better than the DVD, but it is sadly not nearly as impressive as I would have liked, but the lack of any real negatives to pull from means this is one of the last surviving elements for this forgotten piece of trashy cinema.

Audio :3stars:
The DTS-HD MA mono track is a bit boxy and has some damage to the track, but it is definitely acceptable. Vocals come through as best they can, but there is some scratches and hisses along the way with a few distortions and volume level discrepancies as well. The film’s score seems to be taken from a low budget synthesizer track that feels reminiscent of C and D level movies where the editor had to use public domain music due to the budget (which was probably the size of about half a shoe string in reality). There isn’t a whole lot of directionality besides the score itself, but the track is more than enough to get the job done (albeit a little roughly).

Extras :2stars:

• NEW Interview with Mary Woronoz
• Official Trailer

Overall: :3stars:

“Hellhole” has it all. Naughty orderlies, naked shower room cat fights, abusive guards who laugh maniacally as they carry innocent victims to their doom, an assassin who talks like a Rico Sauve wannabe, and of course the ever present screaming. I can’t even say with a straight face that it is a good movie, but it is certainly one of the most entertaining pieces of late night trash to come across my review pile in quite some time. Thus I have to give a sort of hybrid rating (1/5 for movie, 4/5 for entertainment, rolled down to a 3/5 overall). Audio and video are the best they can be considering the source negatives for the movie are nowhere to be found, and the new extras with Mary Woronov is a blast to chew through (even though there’s not a WHOLE lot there). Definitely recommended for fans of the more twisted late night trash cinema of the 80s.

Additional Information:

Starring: Ray Sharkey, Judy Landers, Marjoe Gortner
Directed by: Pierre De Moro
Written by: Aaron Butler, Lance Dickson
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA Mono
Studio: Scream! Factory
Rated: R
Runtime: 95 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: July 26th 2016

Buy Hellhole On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Gloriously Twisted Fun

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