Color, 1987, 94m. / Directed by Ackyl Anwari / Starring Enny Beatrice, Yenny Farida, Leily Sagita, Nina Anwar / Mondo Macabro / WS (2.35:1) (16:9)

Basically an '80s Indonesian action version of a Russ Meyer movie, Virgins from Hell features hordes of women in spandex kicking butt, being victimized, and kicking butt again; or, to paraphrase the immortal Joe Bob Briggs, there ain't much plot to get in the way of the story. The fast-paced fun begins with a female biker gang (looking like they escaped from the nearest Cannon Film) gunning into the gambling den fortress of drug lord Mr. Tiger, with whom two of the lovely ladies have a particularly personal axe to grind. When their seige goes south, the damsels wind up held captive in his underground lair where they're mistreated in classic women-in-prison fashion by a sadistic warden, who likes torturing them with small furry critters. Of course, it all turns out to be a front for a much larger, James Bondian scheme being hatched by Mr. Tiger to infect the world with a ruthless sex drug, so the tough ladies must find a way to escape before they become his first test subjects.

Good lord. There's really no way to react to Virgins from Hell aside from utter bemusement, as the filmmakers do their best to keep the audience entertaining for the full hour and half no matter what. Any artistic merit is pretty negligible, as the entire film is shot in static long and medium shots that catch all the action without any undue fuss and bother; for some reason it was also lensed in scope, though the director makes no attempt to be creative with the framing. Meanwhile the riotous soundtrack pilfers every music library in sight, with everything from '70s pop tunes to familiar horror themes cropping up at the most inappropriate moments. It's too bad Roger Corman didn't hire all these guys on at New Concorde, since they obviously kept the classic girl-gang action spirit alive with plenty of verve long after Westerners had given up.

Considering few people outside of Indonesia have even seen this film, Mondo Macabro has really gone overboard with generosity by going all-out with a double-disc edition. The first DVD contains the feature film (looking quite nice in full anamorphic widescreen), a trailer, reliably informative Pete Tombs essays on the feature and the women-in-prison genre, and that wonderfully berserk Mondo Macabro promo reel again.

Disc two contains the reedited Mondo Macabro documentary on Indonesian cinema, but trash cinema fans really hit paydirt elsewhere with a whopping 70 minutes of Indonesian exploitation trailers! Feast your eyes on jaw-dropping promos for Blazing Battle, Final Score, Daredevil Commando, The Devil's Sword, the four Barry Prima Warrior films, The Snake Queen, Revenge of Ninja, Freedom Force, The Terrorists, and much more, each individually selectable or viewable in succession with a mind-shattering "Play All" option. Technically all of the trailers (many culled from videotape) are 16x9 enhanced, though some aspect ratio fudging on a couple of titles results in a squeezed image that will have widescreen TV owners scrambling to adjust the image with their remotes. (Unfortunately the very first trailer is one of these, so get ready for quite a bit of aspect ratio switching.) Wonderful stuff, and easily worth the double-disc decision; now if we could only see all of these other films in their entirety!

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