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The Human Experiment - Blu-ray Review

3 beers

Poor Rachel Foster.  The joint-smoking singer did nothing wrong except witness the brutal execution of a family by one of its members.  BANG! BANG!  And, because it is convenient (being a stranger in a strange county), she pays the ultimate price for the blood spatter: unneeded reform at the hands of a sadist prison psychologist.  Welcome to the neatly executed (but brutally realized) B-grade territory that is Human Experiments. 

Prison experiments are not things of fiction.  They have been going on – and continue to do so ( believe) – for a long, long, lonely time.  From electroshock therapy on children to mind control, humans have been subjects for a lot of gnarly experimentation.  For 20 years, Dr. Albert M. Kligman, a dermatologist at the University of Pennsylvania, used prisoners to carry out a multitude of tests on their backs and arms.  The results produced a number of products, namely one dealing with acne control, but the prisoners – largely minorities – had no idea what was going on.  It is shocking and quite disturbing to realize that it went on so long.

"Sadistic and sick, with a very rough edge to most of its narrative, this film will certainly appeal to the demented crowd of cult enthusiasts"


So, in 1979’s crime thriller Human Experiments, it should come as no surprise to learn that the Kligman situation makes for an interesting grindhouse-type spin on scientific research.  The Women in Prison subgenre of exploitative filmmaking gets a whole new inmate when Rachel Foster, a rising country singer, enters the prison.  Played by Linda Haynes, this singer – a frequent flyer of the road with stops at every dive along the highway – quickly becomes the target of one demented prison doctor (Geoffry Lewis), though, and so begins the test; she is haunted and traumatized by his endless targeting.  I mean, this poor lady can’t even masturbate without an interruption. 

And it is all because she pissed off the wrong family when she accused the lewd owner (played by the one and only Aldo Ray) of the dive she performed at the night before of shorting her money for the concert. Guess who his brother is?  The sheriff.  Uh oh.  And the sheriff (The Kid’s Jackie Coogan) isn’t liking what she’s saying at all.  Why his brother is the nicest person there is.  The fat sheriff practically leaps at the chance to pin a gruesome set of murders on her.  Soon enough, she is behind bars and out of their hair.  {googleads}

It is shocking how quickly Foster becomes someone else’s concern.  And Doctor Hans R. Kline (Lewis) is all about reforming prisoners, no matter the cost or the harm inflicted to them.  She easily comes to his attention and, with surprising help, so begins her “reform” at his hands.

This is a decent B-grade flick that has an effective twist ending as the reality of the whole reform is unveiled.  But, in the moments before the brainwashing, there is a set of gruesome obstacles which Rachel must overcome.  That sequence of extended psychological torture – occurring in the final 10 minutes or so – might be as realized as this B-grade flick becomes, but it is worth it.  Real bugs dropped on an escaping Haynes?  Gross!

The Human Experiment - Blu-ray Review

Sadistic and sick, with a very rough edge to most of its narrative, this film will certainly appeal to the demented crowd of cult enthusiasts.  And Scorpion Releasing has done a fine job of presenting the film, complete with reversible art work, for this its Blu-ray debut.

Directed and co-produced by Gregory Goodell, Human Experiments earned its gory and brutal reputation early on, being slapped with an obscenity charge thanks to the whole Video Nasty brigade in the 1980s.  It co-stars Ellen Travolta, Lurene Tuttle, and Darlene Craviotto.  While slow to unfold, the results are unsettling enough to be memorable. 

Bang your head!  Human Experiments will drive you mad.


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The Human Experiment - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
82 mins
: Gregory Goodell
Gregory Goodell
Linda Haynes, Geoffrey Lewis, Ellen Travolta
: Horror | Crime
A Terrifying Trip Into Terror & Madness.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Sheriff, he's trying to cheat me."
Theatrical Distributor:

Official Site:
Release Date:

DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 14, 2018
Synopsis: In a secret room, deep in the catacombs of Gates Prison, there are secret experiments going on …. human experiments! Rachel Foster, a beautiful country singer is falsely convicted of murder and is sentanced to prison. Once inside, her existence becomes an unending nightmare of pain and terror. In a desperate attempt to escape, she embarks on a terrifying chase through the catacombs of the prison. But instead of finding freedom, she finds herself in a final confrontation with the sadistic prison psychiatrist, Dr. Kline.


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The Human Experiment - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Scorpion Releasing
Available on Blu-ray
- June 14, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: None
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Newly minted from the original 35mm camera negative, Scorpion Releasing’s handling of the new remaster is solid.  The transfer has extensive color corrections and it shows with a blissfully sharper palette.  Details are strong and the night scenes of escape and pleasure have strong edges throughout.  Shadows are defined, too. 



  • The NEW audio commentary with director Greg Goodell is moderated by the host of Katarina’ Nightmare Theater Mode and has some nice information about the filming of the movie.

Special Features:

Scorpion Releasing presents this film with new supplemental material, including the ability to watch this film is Katarina’s hilarious Nightmare Theater Mode.  The original trailer and alternate cover art both are included.

• Katarina's Nightmare Theater Mode

• Original Trailer


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The Human Experiment - Blu-ray Review