Reform School Girls (1986)
Back of the box...
“Enter Pridemore Juvenile Facility and you can look forward to a world without windows, without the possibility of escape, and without hope. A claustrophobic world bursting at the seams with pent-up aggression and caged terror.
Jenny Williams, a young first-time offender, learns hard and fast that the rules of the outside world don’t apply at this reform school. Warden Sutter (Sybil Danning), rules with an iron fist. Edna (Pat Ast), dictates sadistic order, and Charlie (Wendy O. Williams), the unofficial head of the cell-block, preys on the weak. At Pridemore, even ‘solitary’ is preferable to the beatings and sexual abuse that run rampant in the cell-blocks.
Do Jenny and her close-knit group of friends stand a chance in such brutal surroundings? Can they even hope to escape with their health and sanity? And will they live long enough to tell the horrible truth of Pridemore’s atrocities? The answers lie in the action-packed conclusion of Reform School Girls.”
Director: Tom DeSimone
Starring: Linda Carol, Wendy O. Williams, Sybil Danning
Watch the Trailer
So young. So bad. So what? Well, not as young as you might think. There’s been some confusion about the age of Reform School Girls’ lead, Linda Carol, suggesting she was 16 at the time of the films release. With two nude shower scenes before the 30 minute mark, this could be considered problematic. But not to worry, this was just due to IMDB getting her birthdate wrong and she was actually 22 at the time.
Jenny (Linda Carol) gets arrested for. . . being a shitty getaway driver? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ We’re not really sure. She’s sentenced to 3 years in Pridemore Juvenile Facility where the corrupt staff play favorites and use inhumane tactics to maintain control over the scantily clad teenagers. Sybil Danning is underused as the warden while Pat Ast, by far, has the hammiest performance in the film as Edna, the head of Jenny’s ward. Through cruelty and intimidation Edna enforces her authoritarian rule over the girls, which seems to include a ‘No Pants Allowed’ policy because even as they toil in the fields the girl’s panties are on display for pasty sleazebags to leer at. The resident bad-ass of the ward is the always-butt-cheek-clenched Charlie, played by THE Wendy O. Williams. Reform School Girls was Wendy O’s first film and her band, The Plasmatics, contributed four songs to the soundtrack including the title track. Her acting isn’t very good but she is by far the most entertaining thing about the movie. There’s also the problem of casting a 36 year old as a juvenile which may not have been the best choice ever but we’re glad they did it. Jenny is immediately at odds with Charlie and her gang as they try to recruit Lisa, a soft spoken runaway who Jenny has pledged to protect. This presents a huge problem for Jenny as being at odds with Charlie means she’s also up against Edna and the Warden as they’re all in cahoots. The only male presence in this movie is the incredibly off-putting “Truck Driver,” and by off-putting we mean cover you eyes in horror as he busts out his disgusting potato-body in the hot sun attempting to seduce the teenage juveniles. And the WORST part is that it works.
Reform School Girls is an attempt by director Tom DeSimone to spoof his own ‘women in prison’ movies Prison Girls and The Concrete Jungle. The film includes all the expected prison movie tropes, which can be funny, but the laughs never come across as intentional. The humor rests in the over the top performances instead of any kind of traditional joke set-up and delivery. We haven’t seen the director’s “serious” prison movies but we wouldn’t be surprised if they were just as funny as his spoof of them.
If you’re a fan of cult exploitation films, Reform School Girls has got a lot to offer: from a punk rock legend trying to brand a girls ass cheek with a wire hanger to a former box factory receptionist turned actor trying to stomp on a kitten. It’s a punk rock spoof of women in prison movies starring Wendy O., and if that isn’t enough to make you want to watch, the movie probably isn’t for you.