If you’re looking to recapture the 1970s grindhouse experience, director Tom DeSimone’s X-rated sex flick PRISON GIRLS is the right place to start. Even if you’re unable to see it in its original 3D (exhibitors claimed it was the first 3D adult feature), it will still send you straight to the nearest shower as the end credits flash to get the grime off of you.
DeSimone’s background was in gay pornography, so maybe he considered a picture about men and women getting it on with each other something of a lurch toward the mainstream. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that he was able to escape the sex field for good, although I’ll leave it to you to determine whether directing bad TV shows like SUPER FORCE and SWAMP THING is considered an upward move.
You know you’re looking at a high-class production when you can hear the rattle of the 16mm camera filming during dialogue sequences. Despite the X rating, PRISON GIRLS is strictly softcore, but it jams so much nudity and groping into the frame that DeSimone is really pushing the limits of what he can get away with (I suspect some performers refused to simulate the sex). The wall-to-wall coupling is neither romantic nor erotic, and the hideous period furnishings display more personality than the performers do. So do DeSimone’s playful nods to the 3D gimmick—watch out for that soap!
The screenplay is credited to Lee Walters, which is probably a pseudonym for DeSimone (who hates this film). After six female inmates get into a wet catfight in the prison shower, they each are given two-day furloughs from the joint, which they use to get into sexual shenanigans. Some of them look like fun, but Maria Arnold’s gangrape by bikers is scored with groovy music, so the audience understands it’s supposed to be fun too. Uncool, Tom. Uschi Digard is the only actress who looks like she’s having a good time, but then the Swedish sex bomb always did, even in the direst of films.