Terrified. The odd cuts, the screams, the look of terror on the face of the inmates, all of these combined for one of the more horrific viewing experiences of my childhood. After a recent re-watch I can see how this could creep a kid into some wicked nightmares, but HUMAN EXPERIMENTS fails to really click on any level. It’s a confused film that is trying to be too much of everything and ends up being good at nothing.
Directed by Gregory Goodell, who after this film made a career directing made for television films, the picture stars an inspired Linda Haynes (fresh off of ROLLING THUNDER) as a hard workin’ country star on the rise who gets caught up in a nasty case of the slaughters. Though it was all in self-defense, Haynes ends up in the slammer where she is tortured by a wicked Geoffrey Lewis. Screaming, shower scenes, and cat fights ensue, but as exciting as that sounds the film constantly works against itself. The film tries to inject suspense and psychology into a story that would generally be right at home in the grindhouse but instead it cripples any structure the picture may have had.
Despite great performances from the stars and a generally good supporting cast (that features Aldo Ray), this picture can be tough to get through. It did an admirable job of scaring the shit out of me when I was 10, and did an equally powerful job boring me more than two decades later (and some change, but who’s counting). This film needed a director like Rino Di Silvestro or Jess Franco, someone who wasn’t afraid of the consequences of the rough and tumble world of WIP films. So, long story short, skip this and grab WOMEN IN CELL BLOCK 7 or 99 WOMEN instead.
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