Women in Cellblock 9

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Women in Cellblock 9
Women in Cellblock 9 FilmPoster.jpeg
Region 1 DVD cover
Directed by Jess Franco
Produced by Erwin C. Dietrich
Written by Jesús Franco
Starring Karine Gambier
Music by Walter Baumgartner
Cinematography Ruedi Küttel
Edited by Jesús Franco
Distributed by Elite Film
Release date
  • 17 March 1978 (1978-03-17) (West Germany)
Running time
75 minutes
Country Switzerland
Language English

Women in Cellblock 9 (Original title: Frauen für Zellenblock 9) is a 1977 Swiss exploitation action horror film written and directed by Jess Franco, and starring Karine Gambier. Its main theme is women in prison.

Unlike most of Franco's work, this film remains banned in the United Kingdom due to large amounts of sexual violence, and as one of the lead actresses in many of the sex scenes was 16 at the time the film was made. The film was rejected by the British Board of Film Classification when submitted in 2004 and has since not been successfully appealed.[1]


The film is set in a South American jungle prison during a revolution. Initially, the camp commander and the prison physician, Dr. Costa, wait for a few guards on a truck. On board are six young women. Three of them were arrested on suspicion of revolutionary activities, the other three are made available to the guards to be raped. The three detainees, Karin, Barbara, and Aida, can be found shortly thereafter, naked and chained in a standing position, in the notorious cellblock 9. Gradually, they are presented to the "interrogation", which is supported by the doctor through various tortures and treacherous. Barbara and Aida resist the torture and remain silent, Karin breaks down under the torture, and some revolutionaries denounced the (unnamed) city.

In the meantime, the young indigenous student Marie also ends up in the cellblock. Allegedly, propaganda material was found on her by the insurgents. Their torture was to spend three days without food and water in a single cell. She was then taken to dinner with the commander of the doctor, where they have oral sex in order to then get a little sip of salty Champagne.

After the four women in cellblock 9 again are forging among themselves, they devise a plan to contact their contacts in the capital. The quartet manages to distract the guard to knock him out and flee with his rifle. Shortly after leaving the cellblock Aida is killed in a gunfight with another guard who is also killed. The other three flee into the jungle, where Barbara has been shot and they progress slowly. They make it to an old temple, where they feel safe and remove the bullet from Barbara's shoulder. Karin and Marie go into the jungle to look for food, but the guards find their trail and meets them at the temple. As Barbara is killed, the other two, alerted by her screams, run back to the temple and are suddenly confronted by the camp commander and the doctor (surrounded by prison guards). In a last desperate action Karin attempts to steal the commander's pistol. When she fails to pull the trigger, the commander gives the order to fire and the last two prisoners are struck down on the spot. With the desecration of the corpses, the film ends.


  • Karine Gambler as Karine
  • Howard Vernon as Dr. Milton
  • Susan Hemingway as Maria
  • Aida Gouveia as Aida Moret
  • Esther Studer as Barbara
  • Dora Doll as Loba
  • Cesar Anahory as Guard


The film was first released in West Germany on 17 March 1978. In addition to its original title, the film is also known as Escape from the Island of Death. In English-speaking countries it's also known as Tropical Inferno and Women in Cellblock 9.


External links[edit]