"Prison (1988/Blu-ray & DVD Combo/Scream Factory)" Review

 Creedmore Prison becomes a supernatural battleground when the specter of Charlie Forsythe, a man executed for murder, returns seeking vengeance from the brutal guard, Ethan Sharpe, who was aware of his innocence. The lives of the inmates hang in the balance as Forsythe and Sharpe lock in demonic combat.

 Review: Prison is one of those films that I remember so much as a kid going into the video store and seeing the cover and thinking "that looks awesome", it had the cool looking skull that's teeth formed the name Prison. Eventually I was able to rent the film and it was everything I expected and then some. I got the gore that I was looking for and also an awesome prison film with a great supernatural edge to it. This film in ways went into obscurity for whatever reasons and only had a VHS release that was in full frame and really didn't give the film the justice it deserved. That's why I am so glad that Shout! Factory picked this title up and put it with their Scream Factory line of horror films, also it's great that they did not skip out on putting Prison out on Blu-ray like some other film release companies would of.
 Some people who would run across this film would look at it as nothing more than cheesy horror that has a stupid plot and they would be so wrong. Prison is really a good horror film that works on so many levels. First off you get a great cast of actors that are known and unknown for the time as well as actual convicts. Some of the cast consists of the then unknown Viggo Mortensen (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4) as well as Tom Everett (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3), Lane Smith (My Cousin Vinny), Chelsea Field (Masters of the Universe), and Tommy "Tiny" Lister (Friday). To me the cast was very well picked and I especially liked Lane Smith as the warden because he just played the role very realistically. The other thing that made this film work was the overall atmosphere and film. It has a very dark and foreboding atmosphere that helped the film take you into a nightmarish hell.
 I have always liked prison films weather they are drama or anything else so it was so great to see a horror film be based in a prison. It takes the horrors of prison and incorporates them with supernatural horror. To top it off there was some truly awesome gore and death scenes, the one that I think most fans will remember is when the guard gets wrapped up in barbed wire and thrown up through the ceiling into the wardens office. I will say it over and over again that you cannot beat practical special effects no matter how good of CGI you use! One thing I must not forget to mention is the haunting score that I think really helped the atmosphere and feel. The score is very dark and nightmarish and is one of my favorite of it's kind. If you are into supernatural horror that incorporates amazing gore and one hell of a cast then you should seriously get this release.
Now as far as the presentation goes they did an amazing job with cleaning the film up and giving it the justice it deserves. There is alot of parts where the film looks soft which I have found to be common for the time when Prison was made. Also this is the first time it's had a home release in the US that is in widescreen. Along with the great presentation you also get some great special features which include a very informative retrospective called Hard Time: The Making of Prison also with trailers and an audio commentary from director Renny Harlin.

-Daniel "Damnation" Lee

Director: Renny Harlin

Genre: Horror/Supernatural
Blu-ray Release Year: 2013
Theatrical Release Year:1988
Time Length: 102 mins.
Company: Scream Factory (Shout! Factory)