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'Freedom' Leaves Viewers Lusting for a Quick Exit

February 29, 1988|MICHAEL WILMINGTON

"Lust for Freedom" is a low-rent women's prison movie which gives us plenty of lust and little freedom. Shot with the elan of a TV soap opera on a bad day and packed with performances for which "staggeringly inept" might be a mild compliment, this appalling little Troma Team release offers murder, mayhem, kidnapping, drugs, false arrest, perversion, rape, pornography, white slavery, arson, carnage--and, as if all that weren't enough, a rigged wrestling match.

Heinous deeds, too numerous to count, flicker past--recalled in a bored monotone by distraught ex-policewoman Gillian (Melanie Coll), who has stumbled onto a gang of fiends somewhere on the California-Mexico border. These vile predators are the "Georgia County" police and prison force, hot at work kidnapping nubile women and framing them on drug charges.

Some of the victims are supplied to a dirty old man named Doc who fondles them and murmurs "What marvelous lungs!" The rest are subjected to incessant abuse by a mob of gun-crazy hayseeds, lecherous Indians, butch female guards, and a sordid old coot of a warden who likes to swig whiskey in his underwear.

One mystery remains. Since most of these girls are innocent victims, why do they act like the guilty crowd in every other women's prison movie? Environmental conditioning?

As Gillian's whacked-out narration drones on, we can sense discontent brewing among her fellow inmates. Soon, the prison populace explodes into revolt, overwhelmed by the lust for freedom--or perhaps just sick of hearing the same two Grim Reaper songs repeated endlessly on the sound track.

"Lust for Freedom" (MPAA-rated R for nudity, sex, violence, language and bad table manners) has one thing going for it: It looks as though it cost almost nothing to make. That's a relief. Even if this movie is abysmal, at least it doesn't look profligate.

'LUST FOR FREEDOM'

A Mesa Films/Troma Team release. Producer-director Eric Louzil. Script Craig Kusaba, Duke Howard, Louzil. Camera Ron Chapman. Music John Massari. Editors Steve Mann, Thomas Rondinelli, David Khachatorian. With Melanie Coll, William J. Kulzer, Judi Trevor, Howard Knight, Dee "Queen Kong" Booher.

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes.

MPAA rating: R (under 17 requires an accompanying parent or adult guardian).

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