Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 16th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Indonesia, 1987
Director: Ackyl Anwari
Cast: Enny Beatrice, Yenny Farida, Leily Sagita, Nina Anwar, Ratna Debby, Yetty Laurens, Harry Capri, Uckie Kartolo
DVD released: January 31st, 2005
Approximate running time: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
A girl biker gang lead by two sisters Shelia and Karen infiltrate and rob a casino owned by the sadistic Mr. Tiger. After the heist the Shelia convinces the other girls that they should help Karen and her take down the diabolical Mr. Tiger who killed their parents in cold blood. The girls all agree and they launch an all out assault on Mr. Tiger’s compound. It soon becomes apparent that Mr. Tiger knew they were coming all along and he sets a trap for them. Once the girls are in his custody he tortures them and uses them a guinea pigs for the drug his manufacturing. This drug is the ultimate sexual aphrodisiac and no woman will be safe if it is unleashed on the world market for men to buy.
Virgins from Hell like many films from Asia around this time are a mishmash of ideas from several different genres’. This film is more then a woman in prison film it is also a revenge film as the plots main driven motive behind why the girls are attacking Mr. Tiger is because he killed two of the girls’ parents. The direction is stylish from the get go as we’re brought into the film via a crane shot that tracks the action through out the casino. The sets look mediocre at times and in a way it adds to films charm as this film revels in its B film excesses. The customs wore by the lovely biker ladies are a product of the tacky 1980’s fashion and look like something one would expect a groupie of a hair metal band to wear. These women may sometimes play the victim that doesn’t mean that when it comes time to lay it all on the line that they don’t kick some serous ass.
Outside of spending part of the film in a cell there is not that much that makes this film your typical woman in prison film. Part of the ladies look and their tough exterior reminded me of Toei’s Pinky Violence films. The real treat for me in this movie is the villainous Mr. Tiger and the actor who plays him looks like he is enjoying every minute he torture the ladies. The film comes with a diverse score that includes music cues from David Lynch’s Dune and the Moody Blues Nights in White Satin. Overall Virgins from Hell is a film that makes little or any sense at all and yet despite or may be of its flaws it makes for a highly entertaining adventure that quickly moves from scene to the next.
Mondo Macabro presents Virgins from Hell in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Many films released on DVD from Asia tend to not look so good and outside of some minor instances of specs of dirt and a few scratches Virgins from Hell looks really good. The colors are strong and look nicely saturated. The black levels remain strong through out as details look sharp in the back ground and fore ground. There are no problems with artifacts, compression or edge enhancement.
This release comes with only one audio option an English dubbed audio track that is presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. The dialog is clear and easy enough to understand. The music and effects sound evenly balanced as they tend to compliment each other. There are no problems with hiss and outside of few minor instances were the music sounds distorted this audio mix is in great shape considering its age and how rare this film is. Also the English dub that is included ads too the films off the wall feel and there are even a few instances were the audio doesn’t come close to matching the speakers lips movements.
The extras for this release are divided over tow DVD’s. Extras for Disc 1 include the films original trailer in English, an essay about the Women in Prison genre written by Pete Tombs and as usual he writes an informative piece that is chock full of information. Other extras included on Disc 1 include a DVD credits page and the Mondo Macabro preview trailer which includes clips from titles they have currently released or about to release.
The bulk of the extras that are included on Disc 2 include a collection of trailers. The titles of the trailers included are The Snake Queen, The Devil’s Sword, The Warrior, The Warrior And The Ninja, The Warrior Against The Blind Swordsman, The Blind Warrior, Virgins From Hell, Escape From Hell Hole, Blazing Battle, Hell Raiders, Tiger Commandos, Freedom Force, Daredevil Commandos, The Terrorists, Final Score, Violent Killer, Bloody Vengeance, Revenge Of Ninja, Primitives, Slave Of Satan and Mystics In Bali. There are twenty one trailers in all and many of them star the legendary Barry Prima. This trailer collection gives a diverse overview Indonesian and the way they localized various genres’ and films that were popular at the time around the world. All of these trailers are letterboxed and most of them are not in the greatest shape, still they are an eclectic collection of titles that are fascinating to watch. All the trailers are in English and they all can be accessed separately via the main menu.
Rounding out the extras for this release is the documentary “Destination Jakarta” which runs about twenty four minutes in length. This documentary has previous been released by Mondo Macabro as part of their PAL Region 0 DVD for Mystics in Bali. The interviews form the various individuals who worked in the Indonesian film industry is insightful and even though a lot of information is crammed into this documentary I couldn’t help but wanting to hear more about these films. This documentary is in Indonesian and English and English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
This release like Mondo Macabro’s Turkish Pop Cinema Double Feature comes with menu’s that look like comic books. Mondo Macabro starts off 2006 in grand style by rolling out the red carpet for their first ever two disc release Virgins from Hell.
For more information about Virgins from Hell visit Mondo Macabro here.