Bad Girls Dormitory (1986, USA)

This trashy, tawdry, unimaginative film would be more accurately called ‘Several Bad Women, Amongst a Number of Others Who Aren’t, in a Dormitory with a Large, Rambling Basement Attached’ – if accuracy were ever a goal of the WIP genre.

The girls of the title are residents of the New York Female Juvenile Reformatory aged, supposedly, 15 to their early 20s, but all played by substantially older actors. Although they do sleep in a dormitory, they have unrestricted 24/7 access to a vast, dark, shadowy basement that holds the prison’s archives, plant, discarded equipment… and unlimited opportunities to smoke drugs, commit suicide, commit murders, rape, rendezvous, and anything else they choose. It also, conveniently, has a viewable shower room.

The women are, of course, not all bad. Paige (Natalie O’Connell) has been sexually abused by her father and seeks work as an actress; she is instead offered work as a nude model and has just been unexpectedly approached by a naked man when she is busted for ‘conspiracy to commit oral copulation.’ Marina (Teresa Farley) is set up by her drug dealing boyfriend, left holding some coke, so that she will be able to get close to other drug dealers inside for him. Lori (Carey Zuris) is handed over by her boyfriend to his mates, whom he invites to gang rape her; she’s serving time for manslaughter after shooting him with his own gun, uninvited.

The prison is overseen by warden Miss Maddison (Marita), but it’s not clear exactly how much she knows of what goes on. Her prison is chaotic, corrupt and uncontrolled. Her doctor and nurse deplete the prison’s morphine stocks, and sleep with the prisoners. Many of her guards also have sex with the inmates; some consensually, some not. One guard, in lieu presumably of having sex with the prisoners, fights with them. Two prisoner suicides are linked to the women being raped by guards. The prison’s budget covers the medicos’ drug habits but does not extend to providing bras for the women. Or lighting for the basement, other than in the showers.

Bad Girls Dormitory is almost entirely devoid of imagination and humour. If it’s a WIP standard, it’s in here: catfights, shower scenes, rapes, murder, drug trafficking, a smuggled gun, a baby born, escapes. Only the presence of a prisoner who fashions herself on Marilyn Monroe saves it from being totally derivative. And three fights that are so poorly choreographed and so laboured that they threaten to push the film into the ‘so bad it’s good’ category.

It’s a shocker.




You can watch it here on YouTube.

Posted on April 6th, 2022 at 9:26 pm. Updated on April 6th, 2022 at 9:26 pm.

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