Lust for Freedom

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“Lust Highway”

lustforfreedomUndercover cop Gillian Kaites (Coll) needs a break from the force after an operation goes wrong, with her boyfriend and fellow cop being gunned down in front of her. She goes on a road-trip, but has the misfortune to go through a town where the local cops are in league with the prison to arrest fetching young ladies on fabricated charges. They can then be shipped off to jail and… Well, the script is kinda vague on the specific purpose behind this, clearly quite significant, operation involving a large number of people and no small effort. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, and presume the ends, whatever they may be, justify the means. Gillian ends up framed for drug possession, and has to survive against brutal guards, brutal fellow prisoners and matron Mrs. Puskar (Trevor) – in the interests of sustaining suspense, I will avoid revealing whether or not she is brutal. Eventually, the brutality on display becomes too much, and she leads the inmates in a revolt against their cruel captors. In other words: women in prison plot 3A.

It’s not a genre which naturally is at home here: whether it qualifies, depends on the approach taken with the heroine as much as anything. How pro-active and action-oriented is she? It’s really a judgment call, but in this case, Coll is physical enough to qualify, and there are a couple of other elements that just about push this into the fringes of our territory. Most obviously, is the lengthy pro-style wrestling match between two inmates, at the behest of Puskar. It’s notable, because one of the participants is actual pro wrestler Dee ‘Queen Kong’ Booher, who was part of the GLOW franchiseas ‘Matilda the Hun’ (a name shamelessly stolen from Death Race 2000), and at 6’4″, certainly deserves the name. Kaites also professes to possess some close-combat abilities, befitting her role as a cop – which she, curiously, never mentions during her incarceration – and uses these to defend herself.

The downside is, this isn’t very good in most aspects, ranging from the overuse of voice-over, clearly as a penny-pinching tactic to avoid the rigours of sync sound recording, through a godawful soundtrack consisting largely of two songs by eighties hair-metal band Grim Reaper (in the film’s defense, it actually was the eighties), to the performance of the lead. This is Coll’s only credit ever, according to the IMDB, and you can understand why. Compared to, say, the Female Convict Scorpion films which were my last dip into the field, it’s positively chaste, outside of a lesbian scene between scream queen Michelle Bauer and porn starlet Summer Breeze. So you have something which is neither tongue in cheek, nor excessive, nor well-acted or filmed. Kinda hard to work out what the point actually is. Great poster though…

Dir: Eric Louzil
Star: Melanie Coll, William J. Kulzer, Judi Trevor, Elizabeth Carlisle

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