Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity (1987)/ Purgatory (1988)
Both of tonight's selections are about two foxes unjustly imprisoned. In the first feature, a couple galactic slave chicks wind up victims of the "Most Dangerous Game" trope. In the second feature, a couple white girls end up behind bars in an African hellhole. Good times await....
Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity (1987)
Elizabeth Kaitan plays "Daria" and Cindy Beal is "Tisa", a couple slaves who manage to break out, kill the guards and steal a spaceship.
Their spaceship goes down in flames and the two escapees become separated on a strange planet.
Elizabeth Kaitan (Daria above) played in a multitude of B-movies including Friday the 3th Part VII, Vice Academy and Silent Night, Deadly Night II. I find it infinitely amusing that she later became the secretary/assistant for conservative David Horovitz.
Daria finds a castle inhabited by a robot and the infinitely shmarmy Zed, played Don Scribner (who, according to IMDb was, at one time, the youngest school principal in Wisconsin).
Also at his palatial estate is Daria's fellow slavegirl, Tisa.
The two don't trust this Zed character one bit.
Interestingly, the only other movies Cindy Beal was in are My Chauffeur (1986) and Dragon Ball GT (1996). I guess it shouldn't be too terribly surprising - she is not a good actress, even for B grade films like this one.
That evening, Daria and Tisa are given fancy clothes (admittedly, I was sad to see the slave girl bikini go), and they join Zed and his robot manservant for dinner. There they learn he is an avid hunter, and somewhat of a psychopath.
Also at dinner are brother and sister Rik (Carl Horner) and Shala (scream queen legend Brinke Stevens). They are also newcomers to the Zed's castle.
Rik, sporting a dynamite puffy shirt, enlists the help of Tisa and Daria to find his missing sister, Shala.
As hopeless as this movie is, it does manage to keep the girls in ogle-worthy attire. Perhaps the film's only strength. Still, it's by no means close to the level of indecency proclaimed by Jesse Helms in 1992. That's right - Helms singled this movie out by name!
Surprise. Shala has been captured by the evil Zed, and is chained up in his dungeon.
As you can probably tell, the movie would be a whole lot better if the picture quality wasn't such shit. All I could get a hold of was a muddy VHS; however, I haven't checked recently to see if this has ever gotten a proper DVD/Blu Ray release.
Anyway, Tisa explores the castle while Rik and Daria check the grounds. Director Ken Dixon remains a faithful provider of eye candy via an almost constant supply of scantily clad babes.
Strangely, Dixon only directed two films: this and The Erotic Adventures of Robinson Crusoe over ten years earlier (1975). What's the story there? I'd be interested to learn.
Tisa finds Zed's secret dungeon lair, and sees Shala on his slab.
I've got to say - Zed plays a good creep, Brinke is hot as always, the robot is pretty cool, and Tia & Daria are stone cold foxes. What's not to love?
Turns out a lot. The film, suffers from some woefully bad direction, and the zero budget is very evident. It just doesn't have the energy, mojo and campy flair that would make this a cult classic. But moving on...
We do get a couple topless moments midway through. Tisa distracts a robot by bathing topless, and Daria and Rik pretend to have sex to fool Zed.
I must admit, it does give me some pleasure to see the secretary of conservative zealot Horovitz naked.
Eventually, all three girls are captured and chained in Zed's dungeon.
...Zed's dungeon.... anyone else reminded of Pulp Fiction?
The girls are then released into the jungle and hunted by Zed. Sadly, most of the jungle-hunt scenes are in such poor lighting, the otherwise suspenseful chase is rendered confusing and lame. Director Dixon should've sacrificed the "scary" darkness vibe and filmed this portion in the daytime.
The connection here, of course, is The Most Dangerous Game, a 1924 short story about hunting humans that has supposedly spawned more movie and television "adaptations" than any other work of fiction.
The slave girls, on the run from Zed, wander into an ancient temple. Tisa is grabbed by an alien and we are treated to the time-honored carry scene.
Daria finds a laser gun and the two girls open up a can of whoopass on Zed, then escape on a spaceship.
What about Rik and Shala? Oh, they died.
Yeah, this movie is kind of a mess. Perhaps with more pixels and better direction this could've been something special. Alas, it ends up just being a poorly lit movie with hot girls in bikinis running around.... which, I suppose, isn't such a bad thing.
The wonderful thing about Girls Behind Bars movies is that they always follow The Women in Prison (WIP) Cliché Handbook. Yes, there have literally been hundreds of WIP films, and all, without exception, adhere rigorously to the following set of rules:
1. The central character will be a beautiful chick who shouldn't be in prison. She's there because she's been wrongly accused, or she's undercover to help get a wrongly accused chick (often her sister) out of prison.
2. There will be a shower scene. Usually, it's full of gross women you'd wish you hadn't seen naked. But it's made okay by your primary good-looking characters baring it all as well. In addition to the shower scene, there may also be a hosing or strip search scene.
3. The prison will be run by a wicked warden. This individual is usually a hard-ass dyke, but sometimes is a greasy male pervert, who inevitably will die in the end.
4. The central character will always have a weak, pathetic and traumatized friend. As a general rule, this character will die before the movie is half over.
5. There will always be the bad girl inmate; this alpha bitch will instantly bully the central character. She's usually in good with the wicked warden, and is flanked by a gang of underlings. She will die in the end.
6. There will be at least one torture scene. The central character will always get tortured, but often so will a friend of the central character.
7. There will always be a shiv killing, or attempted kill. The alpha bitch will attack the central character as well, but won't succeed in taking her life.
8. There will be a prison riot and subsequent escape of the central character. Note that sometimes this escape can encompass the final quarter of the film - in which case, she escapes with fellow inmates; several of whom will die before reaching freedom.
One day I'll cover this genre in detail. But that day is not today. Instead, let's just take a look at an example from the late 1980s. By this time the genre was basically through... yet it still clings fairly faithfully to the WIP mandates....
Carly (Tanya Roberts) and Melanie (Julie Pop) are two Peace Corp volunteers in Africa. They may a critical mistake by agreeing to pick up a male hitchhiker. When there VW bus is pulled over by the military, they find large quantities of cocaine. The hitchhiker gets shot and Carly and Melanie go to the African prison. Framed! (Rule #1)
After a boring court battle, the two girls (and some hot chick in a black mini who we never see again) are handcuffed and sentenced to eleven years at Rampot Prison. Take note of Carly's awesome acid washed jeans.
You'll note we're in full compliance with Rule #4 - The central character, Carly, has a weak, traumatized friend, Melanie.
Rule #3 - Hal Orlandini is Bledsoe, the wicked warden. He whores out his inmates, thus giving himself that necessary greasy pervert cred.
Things start to really go to hell for Carly when she finds Melanie has hung herself (thus meeting the full requirement of Rule #4). Carly is pimped out by the warden, and forced to lay with disgusting rich white guys.
I will say that Tanya Roberts does not phone this one in. The role actually asks for some serious drama - a level of acting that Roberts isn't quite equipped for, but you can see she's giving it her all.
Purgatory does contain the most hallowed of all WIP rules: Rule #2. Unfortunately, it woefully under-delivers. While you do get to see Tanya topless here and there, you won't find her baring it all in the shower scene. A grave mistake.
Carly is kept in isolation (Rule #6) for her misbehavior as a whore. But this just inspires her further. She initiates a prison riot and escapes, guns ablazing (Rule #8). She eventually reaches freedom, but her friends, predictably do not.
Sadly, this is a pretty lame example of a WIP flick. It tries hard to be a legitimate drama, forgetting its sleazy roots. It could have benefited also from having an alpha bitch foil for Carly in the prison. Instead, it fails to fulfill Rules 5 and 7, and ends up seeming more like a TV movie, rather than drive-in/grindhouse WIP classic. Gilligan says skip it.