Reform School Girls

Browsing on YouTube for eighties films I chanced upon this and chose it because it had the name Wendy O. Williams attached to it. She was of course the vocalist for the Plasmatics, a band I got into a while back.

The story is about a teenager busted for a crime she unwillingly took part in (a shootout between her boyfriend and a security guard), and she is sent off to reform school. The school turns out to be run by a mean and unhinged ward head, and a nazi-like reform school warden. The school is populated by bad girls, mostly wearing designer lingerie and sporting very 80’s hairstyles.

Wendy plays a bully who is also best buds with the ward head, Edna. Together they terrorise the new girl and her fellow new inmates. The story follows pretty much any other story of this type: the girls rebel against the oppressive regime, fight the bully, a kind-hearted doctor at the school tries to expose the goings-on at the school but fails. But after the suicide of one of the girls, all of the girls go berzerb and trash the place then march on the warden. Edna totally flips and goes on a shotgun rampage then dies after climbing up a tower (while blasting away with the shotgun), which caught fire after Wendy drove a bus into the tower, causing an explosion and fire, and she fell to a flaming/screaming death.

Williams, the warden, ward head “Edna”.

It all sounds rather fun, but for the most part it just played out like a bad 80’s action flick, but with scantily-clad females and of course a nude shower scene or two. Reading about it on the Interwebs I see that the director actually intended this film to be a spoof of two of his own earlier “women-in-prison” films which he was not pleased with. It didn’t really feel like a spoof, it mostly played out quite straight except for Edna who was playing her part way over the top.

Still, it was kind of fun to watch, mostly because of Edna and Wendy. I suspect Wendy was pretty much playing her on-stage self, when she yelled angrily in one scene you could hear the angry singer of the Plasmatics.

Some trivia from IMDB:
Wendy O. Williams refused to wear any outfits that weren’t her own for the film. She also refused to take off her boots and even wears her boots in the shower scenes.

Wendy O. Williams would come to work and do 200 sit-ups before coming onto the set.

Director ‘Tom DeSimone’ has stated that actress Pat Ast could be a headache on set as he would have to feed her lines, and in one scene in particular she refused to walk because the ground was too soft.

This documentary about Wendy, while not well made, was interesting.

Date watched: November 30th
Score: 5/10
Film count 2018: 79

Wendy O. Williams And The Plasmatics: 10 Years Of Revolution

The Plasmatics were a band I was aware of in the day, but their music didn’t interest me much. But, I was interested in this documentary, it is good to learn about all kinds of music and bands, especially the influential ones, which the Plasmatics and especially Wendy O. Williams turned out to be.

Unfortunately though this was not particularly well made, it had a straight-to-video feel about it. There was text being flashed on the screen at times, which was difficult to read as the narrator was droning away at the same time so concentrating on both was a task.

There were some good interviews with the band members, crew, and guys from Kerrang! magazine that were close to the band. There was a lot of footage of live gigs as well as news reports and stuff, so that was good.

The Plasmatics were pretty extreme in their day, and made the Sex Pistols, Ramones, and even Motorhead look a bit tame really.

Wendy was quite the performer and was really hardcore in everything she did, and quite intelligent. While still not a big fan of their music, I came away from this with mucho respecto for what she did. Unfortunately she committed suicide after her career ended.

So I would recommend this to those who like a bit of music history, even if you are not a fan of the band or punk/metal.

Date watched: September 12th
Score: 8/10
Film count 2016: 142