30 October 2007
Independent Film Channel
© Empire pictures.
Before Viggo Mortensen became Aragorn and before Renny Harlin became known for helming such flashily forgettable action fare as The Long Kiss Goodnight and Driven, the two made sweet incarcerated horror music together with the aptly named Prison (1988). Well, not that sweet, but Prison does have the dubious distinction of being one of Harlin's best as well as the finest film to come out of the late '80s trend of the return of the vengeful executed (remember Wes Craven's Shocker?). Mortensen plays an inmate who, along with former pro-wrestler Tommy 'Tiny' Lister and others, is moved into a rundown, just reopened Wyoming prison where the new warden (Lane Smith) was once responsible for the electrocution of an innocent man. Natch, the dude's ghost has been lurking in the penal complex waiting for a chance at revenge and to kill off characters in all manner of imaginatively gruesome ways. Prison was shot on location in the abandoned Wyoming State Prison, an asset Harlin uses to full advantage, with its gothic atmosphere and bedraggled yards and hallways. Ghost aside, Prison actually manages to make incarcerated life look wearying, boring and difficult, which is more than can be said for many movies of this ilk.
Last edited: 12 May 2008 11:43:16