Lust for Freedom (1987)

14% – Critics
14% – Audience

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Lust for Freedom Movie Reviews

An entertaining W.I.P flick from Troma.

This Troma Women In Prison film ticks all of the genre boxes and then some. It takes a while to get going, kicking into gear at about the half-hour mark with the obligatory shower scene, after which it’s non-stop trash and sleaze all the way, making it hugely entertaining for fans of exploitation cinema.

Melanie Coll stars as Gillian Kaites, a former undercover cop who is framed by a corrupt sheriff, finding herself thrown behind bars at a women’s correctional facility where the warden and staff use the inmates for their own perverted pleasures and to line their pockets.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the delights on offer…

Catfights, including a no-holds-barred wrestling match to the death.

Full frontal nudity, most notably from ’80s scream queen Michelle Bauer.

A flogging/lesbian sex/rape montage, set to a heavy rock song.

Seedy warden Maxwell (Howard Knight) making snuff movies.

Scar-faced psycho Indian Jud (John Tallman) forcing himself upon innocent inmate Sharon (Elizabeth Carroll).

Elderly white slaver Doc Bass (George Engelson) leering over 17-year-old hottie Holly (Terri Beck).

Jud killing a couple on the highway, setting fire to the man and forcing the woman to crash her car (which explodes).

A violent breakout in which Gillian blasts the deserving guards and warden with a machine gun (resulting in lots of blood!).

High art it most certainly isn’t, but for those with a taste for the outrageous, Lust For Freedom is well worth tracking down. I rate it 7.5 out of 10, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.

No classic of the genre, but entertaining.

“Lust for Freedom” is a pretty typical entry in the familiar “Women In Prison” genre from Troma films, and considering the often outrageous and overtly campy nature of many Troma productions, this is actually played rather straight most of the time. That’s not to say that it’s not without its cheesy charms, of course. Most of the villains *are* overplayed. However, co- writer / director Eric Louzil (“Class of Nuke ‘Em High” Parts 2 and 3), making his directing debut, handles things in a surprisingly tame fashion at first: it’s a half hour into the story before we get our first shower scene, and he actually makes the viewer until the thing is half over before he starts treating us to more truly exploitative moments, with many appreciable leering shots of the female anatomy. There’s also a sufficient amount of gore in the more violent moments.

Gorgeous and sexy Melanie Coll, who somewhat resembles Virginia Madsen, stars as Gillian Kaites, an undercover detective who loses her partner / fiancée in a sting gone bad. Needing a breather, she heads for the hills, only to fall prey to a very crooked ring of corrections officers who abduct mostly innocent young women and keep them prisoner. Gillian doesn’t care much about anything since the loss of her beloved, but after witnessing enough depravity towards her fellow inmates, she’s motivated to start kicking ass.

In general, “Lust for Freedom” just might not be sleazy or grimy enough to suit the tastes of some trash fans watching. Its script is largely of the routine variety, and Louzils’ pacing is a little sluggish, but there’s adequate entertainment in eyeing the assorted attractive female cast members. As was said, some of the performances are pretty unsubtle: Judi Trevor as hostile matron Ms. Pusker, Howard Knight as cheerful warden / judge Maxwell. Elizabeth Carlisle is a hoot as tough gal inmate Vicky, as is the towering Dee Booher as thuggish con Big Eddie. John Tallman is likewise fun as the creepy Jud, Elizabeth Carroll is appealing as the innocent Sharon, and William J. Kulzer is very effective in a low key turn as the morally compromised but not completely villainous sheriff; Kulzer also worked behind the scenes, functioning as stunt co-ordinator, associate producer, and special effects creator. Coll is decent in the lead.

If you’re an addict of this sort of entertainment, you may be reasonably amused by this one.

Seven out of 10.

What do these other critics expect? Ridley Scott? puhleeze

Okay, its a Troma Film… which doesn’t hold much water personally. I’d say roughly 3 out of 5 Troma productions I’ve seen annoy the @#$% out of me, and I end up either sleeping or turning it off entirely.

But lets admit folks, every now and then those crazy quasi-exploitation nut jobs who call themselves the Troma Team make a truly entertaining flick.

And while Lust For Freedom is pure cheese, what the heck do most of the other reviewers expect? Fellini? Jodorowsky? Leone even? That is IMHO where most of these horrifying reviews go wrong. The critic obviously didn’t go into this film with a light heart and a total lack of seriousness.

With that I wholeheartedly admit that I gave this action oddity a score of ten, solely for the purpose of (innefectively) giving this forgotten gem a slight boost in score. (currently at 2.9, c’Mon folks lighten-up!)

So for those that like a solid dose of imaginary yet strong exploitation, and isn’t all film exploitation in some regard, this film pulls no punches.

Behold a few reasons why this film is underrated, with respect to its intended target audience, and without giving away direct spoilers..

+ I counted somewhere around 33 dead people by the end of this film.this should give the action fans something to get a kick out of.

+ almost every character except the protagonist is a villain, and its hard to determine which is more despicable.

+ A good portion of the violence and murder occurs off camera, and yet it still carries impact. Splash in some scenes that even got trimmed by UK censorship (poor blokes) and we have some versatility.

+ Yea I counted, and I could come up with over 30 felonies committed by the corrupt warden and his twisted staff. Drug Dealing, extortion, murder, kidnapping, rape (and actually done mostly off camera too), corruption of minors, Folks these bad guys are out of this world wicked.

+Lots of pretty women in prison. Its a WIP film, so right there you should know what you are getting yourself into.

+The acting drifts between lousy and noteworthy. kudos for Judi Trevor and her character Mrs. Pusker.

+the soundtrack fits perfectly and actually “rocks you to hell” as the theme promises repeatedly

Action craver’s. Horror fans. Gorehounds. Open minded film buffs who can suspend belief for more than 5 seconds, I say go for it!

Everyone else, good luck.

so there you go. Its a WIP film, and a damn fine one indeed.