True Story of a Woman in Jail: Sex Hell (1975) – By Duane L. Martin

This film is another film from the Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection, released by Synapse’s Impulse label. In this film, a group of young women are sent to prison to pay for their various crimes. One was a drug addict, one was a prostitute, one was a murderer, etc…. Once inside, these women are thrown in with the other prisoners, who already have a leader and a pecking order, and as such, are subjected to the usual shakedown all the new girls get. One girl however, the murderer, wasn’t impressed by the leader’s attempts to threaten her and would not be intimidated. She paid the price for this, but survived it and continued to be defiant.

The girls have it pretty hard. They only get two pairs of panties and they don’t get any replacements if they don’t hold on to them. Houjo, the murderer, was a nurse who’d been having an affair with a doctor on the outside. When the doctor was performing a kidney stone operation on the girl he was in a relationship, he killed her while she was on the table and tried to make it look like an accident. When there was an investigation, he threw Houjo under the bus and she was blamed for the crime, as she was the one responsible for mixing the drugs that killed the girl. Houjo has a rough time, and becomes a bit of a loner, never subjecting herself to the will of the leader of the girls, yet not actively opposing her either unless given a reason. Will she survive to get revenge on the doctor who left her to rot there? What about the tough leader of the girls who was in prison for killing her husband’s lover. Will she ever be reunited with her husband? There are a lot of stories in this prison. Every girl has one. They just have to survive long enough to get out so they can complete their stories.

This film, while it does have a lot of sexual situations in it, is nowhere near the level of Debauchery in its sexual depictions. What it does have is a lot of the typical "women in prison" movie situations, but done in a far more realistic and believable way than many of the other films of that genre. One of the most brutal scenes in the film involves one of the girls who’s gotten pregnant from one of the guards who used cakes to take advantage of the girls in solitary. They were so desperate for anything sweet and nice that they’d allow him to have sex with them through the food hole for a mere piece of cake. When Houjo found out the girl was pregnant and planning to keep the child, she went nuts and starting kicking the girl in the stomach and beating her stomach until she had a very bloody miscarriage, thereby solving her pregnancy issue, even though the girl was planning to keep it.

A standout in its genre, Sex Hell draws you in with its realism from the beginning and doesn’t let go until the final conclusion. It has hot women, sex, violence, and a good story, and it’s well acted to boot! What more could you want in a great women in prison movie? This is one you’ll definitely want in your collection if you dig these kinds of films.

The only special features with this release are newly translated English subtitles and liner notes from Japanese film scholar, Jasper Sharp.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page on the Synapse Films website here, and if you’d like to get yourself a copy, you can order it directly from Synapse, or you can order it from Amazon here.