Cult Movie Retrospective: Reform School Girls

Remember the 1996 classic kid’s film Matilda? You know, where Mara Wilson played a little girl who is forced to attend a school ran by an evil, sadistic principal? Well, have you ever wondered what that movie would be like if you included sex, nudity, and tons of profanity? Well, look no further.

Directed by Tom DeSimone, 1986’s Reform School Girls depicts a reform school for girls that is operated by a cruel and immoral warden, and her henchwoman. Upon its release it was supposed to be a satire of all the women in prison movies that came about during the decade prior. The film features almost every cliché that type of film encompasses. You have strip searches, the group shower, and even female gang-bangs.

The protagonist of our film is Jenny (played by Linda Carol), after she gets involved with wrong guy while he’s out committing a robbery she is arrested and sent to reform school. Once there, we meet our other girls. We have our tough girl named Nicky (played by Laurie Schwartz). We have the quiet runaway named Lisa (played by Sherri Stoner) and a few others.

They go through the typical cycle of stripping butt naked and getting hosed down while a few of the female guards look on with a hint of lust in their eyes. They are then sent to their bunk where we meet the most memorable character of the film. Charlie (played by Wendy O. Williams) runs things on the block. If this were HBO’s OZ, she would be Adebisi. When we first meet Charlie she’s looking at a porno magazine while lifting a dumbbell. Of course, she gives the new girls a hard time and does so in the most ridiculous over-the-top way possible.

Reform School Girls Wendy O Williams

Reform School Girls Pat Ast

Speaking of over-the-top, the lady who runs the block, Edna (played by Pat Ast) might just be the greatest villain in the entire history of cinema! That’s no exaggeration, just pull this film up on YouTube, even if you just watch her scenes. Edna openly shows favoritism towards Charlie (i.e., they’re having sex). She sets a girl’s doll on fire… just because. She denies the girls food and water and laughs when they pass out from heat exhaustion. She even stomps a poor little kitten to death. Heck, by the end of the film she’s even brandishing a shotgun, systematically shooting all of the girls one by one. It’s nuts! Honorable mention to Sybil Danning, who plays the equally evil Warden Sutter.

This film is also notable for being a mini reunion for a couple of the girls from the Friday the 13th franchise. Two of Charlie’s girls have been killed at the hands of our favorite machete wielding psychopath Jason Voorhees (or close enough). Tiffany Helm plays Andrea “Fish” Eldridge. You’ll remember Tiffany as new-wave punk chick Violet from the fifth entry of the franchise, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. Violet meets her demise after Jason (though not the actual Jason) catches her doing an odd robotic dance to Pseudo Echo’s ‘His Eyes’.

Tiffany Helm Reform School Girls

Darcy DeMoss Reform School Girls

The other Friday the 13th alum you’ll recognize is Darcy DeMoss as Karen “Knox” Charmin. Darcy is best remembered as Nikki in the sixth film of the franchise, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. She dies after getting it on in a trailer with her boyfriend Cort.

Back to the story. Reform School Girls has everything you would expect from a movie such as this. The soundtrack is so ’80s you’ll want to throw on your Jordache jeans just for good measure. The girls of our titular reform school are always completely naked or at least scantily clad. Food fights, girl fights, riots, and bra and panties make up most of the movie. What’s not enjoy? All in all, get some friends together and prepare to be entertained. The only thing missing from this reform school is a giant tub of Jell-O.

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