Lust for Freedom 1987

When you go into a film released by Troma, there should be no question as to what you’re likely in for. Low budgets, gratuitous violence, gratuitous nudity, and the ability to entertain despite what mainstream critics and audiences may think. There are two types of films they release — independent acquisitions and in-house productions. Some of the earlier acquisitions are just as terrific as the in-house films, and one of the more memorable ones is Lust for Freedom. It’s a by-the-numbers women-in-prison movie that never strays from the formula, delivering exactly what it should, when it should.

Gillian Kaites (Melanie Coll) is an undercover detective who witnesses the murder of her partner. This partner also happens to be the man she loved, her fiancé. Needing to clear her mind, she goes on a road trip only to be kidnapped by corrupt police near the California/Mexican border. She’s then framed for a crime she didn’t commit and thrown into a brutal prison where she has to fight for survival every day. Tired of the humiliation and pain, Gillian unites the other prisoners, and together they’ll give it all they have to break free of their brutal chains.

Eric Louzil co-wrote, directed, and produced Lust for Freedom on a shoestring budget of $50,000 and still turned it into a pretty big hit. When Troma came on board, they provided the film with some additional funds to finish it the way it should be and have it blown up to 35mm to launch it into a theatrical run. It made several million dollars, so something was done right.

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During the late ’90s, I saw Lust for Freedom during my video store days and quite enjoyed it for what it was. It’s exploitation for no reason other than showing off the aforementioned qualities, but who cares. You either enjoy cult films like these, or you don’t, and I’m not ashamed to say that I still enjoyed it, warts and all. It’s a fast-paced, depraved little ride delivered exactly as expected from the oldest independent studio in the world.

Troma packs the disc with their usual goodies, such as trailers, DVD intros, the radiation march, words of inspiration from Eli Roth, a commentary, and more. Louzil has directed films like Class of Nuke Em High 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown, Bikini Beach Race, and others, so you know what you’re in for. I have a fondness for films of this ilk, so I enjoyed the trashy little experience, and you might too.

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Lust for Freedom


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