The Stabbing

» The Expert (1995, USA)

The Expert - Michael Shaner as Martin Kagan, holding Assistant Warden Dr Alice Barnes (Alex Datcher) hostage

OK. So this bloke, John Lomax (Jeff Speakman), is not happy. Outraged, in fact, and seeking revenge and justice, in that order. He breaks into the Westgate Penitentiary in Tennessee*, to kill Martin Kagan (Michael Shaner), the psychopathic murderer of his sister, Jenny. Kagan has maintained that it was one of his multiple personalities who killed her, not him, and inexplicably he is supported in this by Westgate’s new Assistant Warden, psychologist Dr Alice Barnes (Alex Datcher), who has recently petitioned the Governor to move the resentenced Kagan off Death Row and into a new prototype rehab program for the criminally insane, The Saddle Horse, where he will talk to schoolchildren about stuff. But it just so happens that Lomax’s break-in coincides with a small emergency in the prison, from which nearly all the prisoners have been transferred to a newer prison, and in which Kagan has taken Dr Barnes hostage, shot and killed Warden Munsey (James Brolin) with his own gun, killed several other guards, and has freed all but one of the other condemned men from their cells. (more…)

Posted on September 26th, 2016 at 6:00 pm. Updated on September 26th, 2016 at 6:00 pm.

» Cellblock Sisters: Banished Behind Bars (1995, USA)

Cellblock Sisters: Banished Behind Bars - Gail Harris as May and Annie Wood as April Conner

May Conner (Gail Harris) is 19* and in prison. She’s a Miss Goody Two-Shoes… a little naive when it comes to crime and punishment, and is unused to prison lingo. “They found a second set of finger things.” “Prints,” says her street-wise older sister, April (Annie Wood). “Prints, right.” (more…)

Posted on May 16th, 2016 at 9:59 pm. Updated on July 9th, 2016 at 6:13 pm.

» Hari ng selda: Anak ni baby ama 2 (2002, Philippines)

Hari ng selda: Anak ni baby ama - Robin Padilla as Anghel

I haven’t had access to this with subtitles, sadly. And I’m not even sure of what the title means; Tagalog is notoriously tricky. I think it means something like: ‘King of the cell: Son of the baby father’, but it could just as easily be ‘King of the cell: his fling with a little rich kid.’ (more…)

Posted on April 25th, 2016 at 7:57 pm. Updated on April 25th, 2016 at 7:57 pm.

» Boys Behind Bars 3 (2015, UK)

Boys Behind Bars 3 - Debra Chant as Carol and Wade Radford as Darrell

The third episode of this trashy ‘cult exploitation franchise’ sees us return to Young Offenders Institution Barker’s Ludge and the unholy alliance between prisoner Darrell (Wade Radford) and pneumatic Wing Governor, Alison Muncher (Honey Bane). Its publicity claims a cult following, but this is as close to unwatchable as you can get; a following of any kind is remarkable. (more…)

Posted on April 11th, 2016 at 9:43 pm. Updated on April 11th, 2016 at 9:53 pm.

» Vendetta (1986, USA)

Vendetta - Karen Chase as Laurie Collins, with a wrist lock on Kay Butler (Sandy Martin)

Vendetta has all the standard ’80s trademarks you’d expect - prisoners with big hair and wearing workout gear like they’d just stepped out of a Flashdance or Let’s Get Physical video - but no-one (at least in prison) seems to be held accountable for much. Wasn’t glasnost an ’80s thing? (more…)

Posted on March 21st, 2016 at 8:00 pm. Updated on March 21st, 2016 at 8:00 pm.

» The Chair (1988, USA)

The Chair - Paul Benedict as Warden Edward Dwyer, Gary McCleery as inmate Rick Donner, and Mike Starr as guard Wilson

A warden with a past he’d rather forget. An idealistic psychiatrist running a new psycho-support program for prisoners. A prison not fit to house prisoners. A wrathful ghost of a former warden. And a film that mixes comedy and horror, but misses the mark on both counts… while remaining sort of amiable. (more…)

Posted on February 15th, 2016 at 1:12 pm. Updated on February 15th, 2016 at 1:25 pm.

» L’Addition / The Caged Heart (1984, France)

L'Addition - Richard Berry as Bruno Vinclert, in a confrontation with Officer Lorca (Richard Bohringer) in the yard

Bruno Vinclert (Richard Berry) is not so much an innocent man in prison; he is more of an accidental prisoner. (more…)

Posted on January 2nd, 2016 at 8:49 pm. Updated on January 25th, 2016 at 9:47 pm.

» Dance of the Steel Bars (2013, Philippines)

Dance of the Steel Bars - Joey Paras as Allona and Dingdong Dantes as Mando

I think nearly everyone has seen the YouTube clips of the dancers from the Philippines’ Cebu Provincial Detention & Rehabilitation Center. Because of those clips I expected this film - which I knew had been based around the prison’s stunning dance-based reforms - to be essentially a dance film… with a few dramatic threads attempting to hold it together. I couldn’t have been more wrong; to its credit (and no doubt its commercial disadvantage), it’s a prison drama with just a few dance routines woven into it. (more…)

Posted on November 15th, 2015 at 5:11 pm. Updated on November 15th, 2015 at 5:11 pm.

» Vendetta (2015, USA)

Vendetta - Dean Cain as Mason Danvers and Paul 'The Big Show' Wight as Victor Abbott

I feel for Dean Cain. I’m sure he wants to play serious prison roles, but in Dogboys (1998) he got to play an ex-Marine fighting killer prison dogs, and in New Alcatraz (2001) he had to play a palaeontologist fighting a giant prehistoric prison snake. Here he gets to play an ex-cop fighting a killer prison giant. (more…)

Posted on September 28th, 2015 at 9:47 pm. Updated on September 28th, 2015 at 9:49 pm.

» On the Job (2013, Philippines)

On the Job - Gerald Anderson as Daniel Benitez and Joel Torre as Mario 'Tatang' Maghari

Two contract killers and two honest cops in pursuit of them. Sounds simple, but this is anything but. The two killers are prisoners, briefly let out of prison and then sequestered away again after each hit. And the two cops find that they are looking for bigger fish to fry. (more…)

Posted on August 30th, 2015 at 9:22 am. Updated on August 30th, 2015 at 9:23 am.