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Terminal Island (free)

  • Vilas Hall 821 University Avenue Madison, WI, 53706 United States (map)

Director Stephanie Rothman got her start working for Roger Corman, but unlike many of her male contemporaries, she never got a chance to break out of low-budget exploitation filmmaking. Instead, she subverted genre film norms by adding feminist and socialist subtext beneath the sex and violence expected of drive-in filler like The Student Nurses (which UW Cinematheque will screen on October 28) and It's A Bikini World. In 1973's Terminal Island, set in a very 1970s near-future California, convicted murderers are exiled to a remote island where the prisoners have created their own brutal society cut off from the outside world. The arrival of new convict Joyce sets off a war between the authoritarian island ruler, Bobby, and a gang of revolutionaries seeking a more egalitarian society. Though Rothman instills some self-awareness into the chauvinistic sleaze, Terminal Island is still pure no-budget grindhouse women-in-prison trash filmmaking, full of sadistic violence, nudity, and big '70s mustaches—and as you can tell by the trailer, the results are very, very offensive. —Ian Adcock