Human Experiments (1979)

Article 5025 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-21-2015
Directed by Gregory Goodell
Featuring Linda Haynes, Geoffrey Lewis, Ellen Travolta
Country: USA
What it is: Mad scientist, WIP style

A singer is mistakenly sentenced for the mass murder of a family, and is sent to prison. There she becomes the target of a psychiatrist who is experimenting with an extreme therapy technique designed to make her a decent citizen…but which has only brought death to its subjects so far.

Most of the movie plays like a depressing, dreary women-in-prison film, somewhat less exploitative than others of its ilk. The rest of the movie is mostly concerned with the woman undergoing the therapy technique, the implementation of which strikes me as pretty unbelievable on any level. This movie is one of many which ended up on a “video nasty” list of movies that were banned in Britain. I’ve seen most of the others on this list, and this is easily the mildest of the bunch; in fact, I would imagine anyone drawn to this one for the gore and nastiness would go away very disappointed. The most grotesque scene has our heroine trapped in a cell with a lot of creepy-crawly insects, a scene which is rather disgusting but it also strains credibility, given the situation. Throw in one of those ambiguous endings, and you have just one more thing not to like about the movie. In some ways, the movie is watchable enough, largely because there’s a certain in curiosity value in finding out what is going to happen, but overall it’s a very unsatisfying experience.

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