OCTOBER 31 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : ESCAPE FROM HELL HOLE
Okay, so remember back during the famed Alphabet Project, when I took a break in the hot, steamy letter action to bring you a review for an inept Indonesian movie called Jungle Virgin Force? And remember how I also promised to bring you a review for its disc mate, an equally inept Indonesian movie called Hell Hole? Well, it turns out the title (according to the credits, anyway, and what the hell do they know?) is actually Escape from Hell Hole, and here it is. I was right in thinking that it couldn’t hold up to the spine-fracturingly awesome JVF, but it’s pretty cool none the less. Choke on it, pink boy.
After an oddly out-of-place comic relief opener, the movie takes a depressing downward spiral into madness and depravity (one could even call it a degradation trip, couldn’t one, Mr. Cantrell?) as the innocent country girl Indri is tricked by the eeeevil Cartina into coming to work for her “uncle” M.G. (I recall Booker T. had a few of those once) in the city. “Working” for M.G. means that you sell yourself to sleazy Indonesian men to further his kingdom of whores. And let me tell you, no men on Earth can pull off sleazy like Indonesians. Seriously, I don’t think there’s a single attractive male in that whole damn country. If you can find one, send me a picture and I’ll mail you a prize.
M.G. claims the maidenhead of each new virgin for himself before selling the meat at market, but when the strong-willed Indri refuses his advances, he figures a few months in the Hell Hole will break her spirit. The Hell Hole is a women’s prison run by his main lackeys, Bugle, Coors, and Barrio. Either it was a flaw in the dub, or those are their actual names, and either way, it’s awesome. Bugle looks a lot like Thomas Rosales, Jr., that Mexican guy who’s in about six hundred movies playing that Mexican guy who dies in every movie he’s in. You know, he’s the guy who gets stuck to the bottom of the T-Rex’s foot in Jurassic Park II.
Here we meet Helga (…an Indonesian named Helga, huh? Yah sure yabetcha!), who was once M.G.’s prize whore (I really wish there was an alternate spelling that let you the reader know that every time I type that word, I hear it pronounced HOO-ur, because it’s just so much more fun that way). Once she became too old to please him, he gave her free run of his Hell Hole, as sort of a matron to the other girls.
After a rather hallucinogenic party sequence in which the guards get the girls all coked up and they dance to the trippiest synth music ever in front of a pedestal holding a large number 18 in flames (fuck if I know, dude, maybe it was a birthday party) ends with one girl stabbing herself to death with a shiv, Indri decides it’s time to escape…by giving herself to M.G. Except she bites his tongue off instead, which lands her right back in the Hell Hole.
Meanwhile, Cartina tells M.G. she won’t lure any more girls into his service. Seems he was holding her father captive to force her into baiting girls to work for him. Just to see how much attention you’ve been paying so far, here’s a little pop quiz. Where do you think Cartina is sent as punishment for her impudence? If you said Arby’s, you’d be wrong. If you said the Hell Hole, congratulations, you just won yourself $500,000! E-mail me your bank account number so I can wire your winnings to you post-haste! No, really, I’ve got the five hundred grand right here in front of me! I’m rubbing it all over my cock’n’balls as we speak. Mmmmm, money feels good on my taint.
Wow, we got way off track there, didn’t we? Okay, time for the wrap-up. Ready? Deep breath, here we go. Indri takes her own virginity with a length of pipe to spite M.G., after which she bands the girls together, making them forget their hatred of Cartina so that when M.G. comes for his monthly inspection, they have all managed to break the locks on their cells so they can rise up and slay him and his henchmen. There’s an insane escape sequence in which girls attack men, and men do ridiculous things to girls, including catching them in electrified nets and tying them up and lowering them tauntingly into pits full of explosives before blowing them up. The Hell Hole is set ablaze, and M.G. and his men die in the conflagration, while everything boils down to a wacky car chase/fire fight between Indri, Helga, and Cartina, and Bugle and his buddies. Everyone dies except for Indri, who climbs a hill into the sunset murmuring “I’m free, I’m free, I’m free” over and over and over again.
Holy poop, what a movie. When you can watch one of these things by yourself and have almost as much fun as if you were watching it with a group, you know it’s something special. It’s obvious the DVD was taken from a bad VHS transfer, as the first five minutes or so are plagued by that annoying skip-frame problem so common in old VHS tapes where the picture jumps up the screen, giving you a sort of “Holy shit I’m falling through my floor” vibe.
The dubbing team had more fun with this flick than any human rightfully should. The dialogue must be heard to be believed, and makes me desperately wish that I was still working on the famed and never-finished b-movie record that Fistula and myself have been planning/writing for years with various other musicians, and more importantly, owners of expensive home-recording software. If someone wants to send me a copy of Acid Pro or Cool Edit Pro, I’d be most appreciative.
The one thing that stands out in this movie, more than the silly set pieces and brain-melting dialogue, is the foley. All throughout the movie, blows are landed with the accompanying sound effects several seconds off in either direction. Then, when we come to the final gunfight between the boys and the girls, every muzzle flash is hand-scratched into the film for each machine gun, and every single flash is accompanied by a perfectly-synched, painstakingly edited gunshot. It’s like they had the grip’s grandparents doing foley for the whole movie, and at the end of filming, the director found a twenty in his couch cushion and hired ILM to finish the flick off.
So no, it’s not close to the awesomeness that is Jungle Virgin Force (which you’re going to go re-read the review for as soon as you’re finished here, aren’t you?), but it’s a damn fine addition to the collection of any cinemasochist. It’s one of those movies that you want to take to work the next morning and say, “This is what I watched last night for fun, on purpose. Seriously.”
The Moral of the Story: Indonesians have vital organs in their shoulders and their butts. Aim for the shoulders and the butts. Holy crap, this movie was an HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES LONG! HOW!?