The Film (4/5)
Hellhole is the sort of sleazy trash that I am proud to see make it's way on to the Blu-ray format. Scream Factory has been promising this title to fan's for a number of years now, but had to push it back, when the materials they had been supplied to make the Blu-ray were not up their quality standard, and also were cut. It has been a long wait for this film to make it out from Scream Factory, but now that it is out there, I am happy to say the wait is most definitely worth it.
Hellhole opens up with a break-in being perpetuated by a man named Silk, who looks like a reject from Motorhead. He has come to the home of an unnamed woman to silence her, before she can act as witness against his boss. As he is murdering her, the woman's daughter, Susan (Judy Landers) comes downstairs and observes the scene. Silk, can't let her go, and pursues her all the way to the second floor of a house that is under construction. Rather, then let herself be murdered, she falls from the house, and away from Silk.
Unfortunately for Susan, the fall had the unintended side effect of leaving her an amnesiac. With no one to claim her she is sent to a mental home to be treated. This home is run by Dr. Dane (Marjoe Gortner, Starcrash), and Dr. Fletcher (Mary Woronov, Rock and Roll High School), The two run sadistic experiments on the most unruly patients in the facility as they attempt to perfect a "chemical lobotomy". Silk, however, hasn't forgotten Susan and gets hired on at the home, and attempts to get her memory restored so he can find out what she actually knows. Susan finds herself between mad doctors and a murderer as she tries to regain her memory and escape.
The easiest way to describe Hellhole is that it feels like a sleazy 80's updating of Pete Walker's classic House of Whipcord. This is appropriate, although Hellhole is a much more hamfisted and cheesy film than the earlier Walker epic, the film maintains a very large sadistic streak, that would not be out of place in Walker's film. The character's portrayed by Gortner and Woronov also have a sort of sadistic authoritarianism that channels the British auteur's work.
However, Hellhole is certainly it's own thing. It is in it's own way a comic-book version of a Women in Prison film done in a mental home. The film is chock full of violence and nudity sure to please genre fans. The direction from Pierre de Moro keeps things at a steady pace, and rarely allows things to slow down. The film has an awesome, dark, and grimy look that I found altogether pleasing. Performances from the cast were solid and fitting to the material, with Woronov predictably stealing the show.
Scream Factory presents Hellhole in a quite solid 1:78:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer. There is a warning which prefaces the film that it is restored from multiple sources of different qualities and that much is apparent. However, we have a transfer with very decent clarity, and detail. The flesh tones are accurate, black levels are deep, and a very nice natural grain field present.
The audio on the disc is presented with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track in English. The track is quite solid with dialogue and score being audible throughout the presentation.
We are treated to a 5 minute interview with actress Mary Woronov, and a theatrical trailer for the film.
I had not seen Hellhole prior to this release, but found it a sleazy violent grimy slice blend of horror and Women in Prison genres. The Blu-ray from Scream Factory looks and sounds quite nice, and has some minor extras. RECOMMENDED.