Film / Prison

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Prison is a special effects extragavanza horror film by Renny Harlin, released in the year 1988.

The film opens with the title prison, Wyoming State Penitentiary, being opened again after 20 years. When rebuilding starts, a wrathful spirit is released which starts to cause mayhem around the premises, seeking those who had wronged him in the past.

This film features the examples of:

  • Agony of the Feet: Knowing that supernatural things are going,Cresus steals a rifle form one of the guards, and shoots his foot to get in the infirmary.
  • Anti-Hero: Prisoner Burke. It helps that he's more of a thief than hardened criminal. The plot makes a huge deal about how he looks so much like the dead prisoner Charlie but in fact Burke never gets possessed or has a part in Charlie's revenge. He's more of a distraction towards Sharpe who focuses his anger towards Burke rather than make the not-too-crazy conclusion that Charlie's ghost is back and pissed.
  • Big Bad: Charles "Charlie" Forsythe, an executed convict whose spirit poses a danger to anyone in the prison.
  • Burn Baby Burn: Warden Sharpe burns all the inmates mattresses at one point to weed out Rabbitt's supposed killer.
  • Captivity Harmonica: And with it, a whole band of other instruments.
  • Catapult Nightmare: The opening scene depicting Charlie's execution is revealed to be a flashback dream that's Sharpe is having when he wakes up from it by bolting upright and screaming.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Rhino's cellmate, whom he has been forcing to be his... close partner, gets back at him when he leaves him for dead behind a locked door during the ghost's endgame rampage.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: After Charlie relays the message "The prison dies tonight" to Katherine's computer, it explodes.
  • Great Escape: Attempted by Rabbitt twice; first by stealing a prison transportation bus, then by trying sneaking away when the prison loses all of its power. On his second try, he is trapped and killed by Charlie's spirit, and his body later bloodily crashes the other prisoners' dinner.
  • Groin Attack: After Rhino tells Burke to join his in-prison dealings or else, Burke grabs his balls in a hard grip to kindly suggest that they both should mind their own businesses.
  • Heart Beat Soundtrack: Heard during the opening credits.
  • Identical Grandson: According to Word of God, Burke is Charlie Forsythe's son. In the film, it's quickly noted by both Warden Sharpe and one of the older prisoners who knows what Sharpe did to Charlie how much Burke looks a lot like long-dead Charlie Forsythe...
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Rhino is impaled by a pickaxe that flies by itself through his back.
  • Institutional Apparel: Inmates wear jeans and light-blue shirts.
  • Ironic Nickname: The tall guy Riddle has the nickname Tiny.
  • It Won't Turn Off: Katherine notices this when Charlie's spirit enters her room to giver her his first message, and he puts her television set on, which she can't turn off.
  • Large Ham: Lane Smith as Warden Sharpe, who gets crazier and more pissed off at the ghost's antics as the film goes on.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Electricity caused by Charlie's spirit can possess computers and machine guns.
  • Lock Down: Ordered by Sharpe when things are getting out of control in the prison.
  • Karmic Death: Several but especially the Warden, who gets fried by Charlie Forsythe for putting him to death for a crime that he didn't commit.
  • Kill It with Fire: Hershey's death. He is trapped inside a solitary cell that's getting hotter by the minute, and he ends up burning to death.
  • Nightmare Dreams: Warden Sharpe's past crimes plague him through nightmares.
  • The Old Convict: Cresus, who has been in various prisons since the forties.
  • One-Word Title
  • Peek-A-Boo Corpse: Rabbitt's mutilated corpse drops through the roof of cafeteria.
  • Prison Riot: As the ghost wreaks havoc, the prisoners grow more frustrated, culminating in a full-blown riot when the power fails for the second time.
  • Psycho Electro: After one inmate with knowing of supernatural stuff summons Charlie Forsythe's spirit, it manifests itself as electric energy that starts causing chaos.
  • Railing Kill: Kramer, one of the prison guards, flies over the railing when he gets electrocuted by Charlie's spirit.
  • Rain of Blood: Katherine notices one of the dead guards above her when his blood drips on her car's windshield.
  • Vertigo Effect: Used on Sharpe when he is handling the bullets for his revolver and giving orders for stricter security to Captain Horton.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We don't find out if the other prisoners survived Charlie's rampage.
  • Window Pain: When Charlie's spirit is released from the execution room, several windows explode into showers of glass.