DIRECTOR– Pierre De Moro
PLOT– A young woman (Judy Landers) enters a psychiatric hospital after witnessing her mother’s murder. The killers, who want to steal some “papers” from her, infiltrate the staff at the hospital and join forces with a wicked doctor (Mary Woronov) to terrorize the girl.
6 REASONS TO WATCH–
- leg warmers
- HUGE mustaches
- very, very nervous women
- gum-chewin’ bad guys
- medical malpractice…lots of it
REVIEW– The Landers sisters probably hold a place in many cult movie fans’ hearts. They were the Kardashian’s before Kim & Khloe were ever a glimmer in OJ Simpson’s lawyer’s eye. Instead of “medically enhanced” posteriors, they went old school with silicon breast implants and quickly rose through the ranks of bleach blonde b-movie queens. Judy Landers supposedly “stars” in Hellhole. However, her scenes are few and far between. Which is a shame. It such a weirdly depraved plot, it would’ve instantly been Judy’s Citizen Kane. But with so little of her in the film, it becomes just another average exploitation diversion. Ray Sharkey and Mary Woronov turn in wild performances for sure, but not really enough to save the film from meandering to a foregone conclusion.
FUN FACT– Although a fictional story, Hellhole has some basis in fact. One of the first investigative stories involving a women’s psychiatric hospital was done by Nellie Bly in 1887. Acting insane in order to get herself committed to New York’s Blackwell Island Women’s Lunatic Asylum, Nellie spent 10 days in the abusive hospital and, upon exiting, described it as a “human rat trap”. Her efforts to expose the inhumane treatment inside the hospital not only caused a legal investigation but inspired lawmakers to improve conditions across the system to benefit those who are unable to fight for themselves.