The Horror Honeys: Don’t Drop the Soap - Prison

Don’t Drop the Soap - Prison

A Supernatural Honey Review - Suzanne

Prison (1986)

I’m slightly obsessed with prison life. What goes on behind those big, stone walls is utterly fascinating to me. Perhaps that stems from my dad being a guard at NY’s infamous Sing Sing. He never tells any cool stories, but that’s ok. I learned all I need to know from watching OZ. Clandestine, forbidden love. Betrayal! Execution! Vengeful spirits! Christ, it’s just like Shakespeare!

Prison is directed by Renny Harlan, who brought us such horror masterpieces as A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 & Exorcist: The Beginning (gosh, I hope the sarcasm was noted). It stars a very young Viggo Mortensen. A young, hot, sweaty, naked Viggo Mortensen… Hold on while I collect myself. OK. I’m good. (Fun Fact: Thom Matthews from Return of the Living Dead was originally considered for the lead)

Charles Forsythe, a man wrongly accused of a crime and executed, comes back to haunt the prison and torment the men who sent him to the electric chair. Forsythe’s spirit is released when a couple of prisoners break down the wall to the execution room.  It’s obvious from the start the new warden is the target, but our ghost doesn’t discriminate and destroys all in his path, leaving the warden for last. Yes, our spirit is a bit vengeful. Hopefully, the Revenge Honey will cut me some slack on this one.

Mmmm...fresh Viggo
The story is pretty simple. Warden Sharpe (Lane Smith), who was formerly a guard at the prison and the main perpetrator behind Forsythe's conviction, is haunted by the memories of his treachery long before the ghost ever comes into play. Sharpe’s other problem is a prisoner named Cresus, who not only knows what Sharpe did, he backed him up. Cresus believes in the spirit and while most of the prisoners and guards think he’s nuts, Sharpe fears he could blow his cover.

Joke's over guys...ha ha...guys?
Viggo Mortensen plays Burke, a mild mannered race car driver who ends up in prison mostly out of bad luck. He always seems to be at the right place at the right time or the wrong place at the right time. Take your pick. He usually ends up saving someone’s ass.

The major plot confusion lies with Burke. He bears an uncanny resemblance to Forsythe, which puts the warden on edge. The problem is, that’s never explained. They seem to have no real connection. There is no real plot twist. He’s just there and just looks like someone else. In the end, it honestly doesn’t matter because, did I mention naked?

Horror Honey approved death
Anyballs, while the story has plot holes big enough to fit my ass through, the kill scenes were original and special effects were way above average. There is a decent amount of blood and gore, with unique deaths by fire and barbed wire. The barbed wire was particularly gruesome… We never see Forsythe’s ghost until the end when he makes a spectacular entrance in his death chair. His presence is preceded by light or some other form of electricity, which keeps the hokey factor to a minimum.

The acting is solid and everyone held their own. Kudos should be given to character actor Smith, who played the Warden in such a way, even if he tried to redeem himself, you’d still hate him. Harlan even used actual prisoners as extras to make it more believable.

Produced by Charles Band and Irwin Yablans, it has a certain cheesy quality, but I like cheesy so I'm not complaining.
Cheese level: acceptable

Guest Supernatural Honey Says: Aside from some story issues, I had very few problems with this film. In fact, I only rolled my eyes a couple of times. So lock me up and throw me in the hole! Prison made me its bitch.