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Jackson County Jail (1976) Review

Review; Dec. 20, 2011; Channels: Movies; By Charles Rector

There are some movies that are so poorly made, it defies belief that they ever made it to the silver screen. Jackson County Jail, produced by the prolific Roger Corman, is one such movie. If it were possible to gauge the IQ of the script writer from this movie, it would be pretty close to zero.

Jackson County Jail Stills

Jackson County Jail is a slapdash effort. It begins in Los Angeles when liberated career woman Dinah Hunter (Yvette Mimieux) quits her job as a commercial producer after a client pans one of her latest creations. She then goes home, and upon observing that her husband has been teaching their teenage daughter how to swim, talks down to him about how he is unworthy of being married to a great woman like her and how their daughter ought to be placed in a daycare center when Mom is at work as if men are automatically unfit to have any role in the raising of children. This scene sets a pattern that holds for the rest of the movie: white rich lady treats everyone around her like dirt or worse and then acts surprised when the other folks resent her poor behavior.

Once done trashing her husband, she then leaves Los Angeles for a new job in New York, intending to drive herself there. She doesn't pack or do any of the other things one would normally expect someone to do when undertaking a long road trip. One aspect of long distance driving that she is quite clearly incapable of doing is navigation and map reading. Driving from L.A. to N.Y. clearly means going northward, but she actually drives into the Deep South. On her trip, she humiliates a waitress and picks up a pair of hitch hiking punks who clearly have trouble written all over them. Once she makes it clear to them that she intends on driving north, they hijack the car and rob her.

Now, you would think that now that she is in peril, the California gal would start treating folks like fellow human beings at least long enough to get herself out of trouble. If so, you obviously are not familiar with Corman's work. In his cinematic world, all women who do not observe traditional values are overbearing, nasty scum who get their comeuppance by getting raped and worse. Likewise, all non-heterosexual characters in Corman movies get themselves killed. Another constant theme of Corman movies is that Southerners are all a bunch of ignorant yahoos with Southern law enforcement officers being the worst of the lot. As we will see, Jackson County Jail is a perfect example of these themes.

After the hijack, Dinah enlists the aid of a restaurant owner who calls the local law enforcement office on her behalf. However, she misjudges the kindness of the restaurateur as being a prelude to a rape attempt or something, and she launches into a physical assault upon the poor man right in time for the Deputy Sheriff to walk into the scene and arrest her on the spot. Once at the jail, she is then raped by a different deputy who is apparently the resident official rapist. In an unbelievably fake scene, she kills the pervert and frees both herself and another inmate even though the other guy is a braggart of a criminal. They steal a car, and on the way to the criminal hideout, they get into a goofy chase with the now-drunken sheriff. This chase ends when the sheriff gets into a head-on crash with another car. Once at the hideout, where there is a pair of lesbians and other obviously undesirable elements, Dinah pulls her Mrs. Superior act until the cops show up, and a gunfight ensues. Both Dinah and the criminal escape, but not until after we get to see both lesbians die.

This is the point where the movie really gets bad -- as unbelievable as that may be. Dinah gets into a discussion of right and wrong with her hardened criminal buddy and all but calls him a piece of white trash. Apparently all those years in the California sun have made Dinah feel superior to everyone or something. Her accomplice responds only by saying that she must have lived a sheltered life. Eventually, Dinah is severely injured by gunshots and caught. Her buddy gets himself gunned down right in the middle of a bicentennial parade which continues on despite the fact that police are engaged in a running gunfight with a hardened criminal whose six-shooter never runs out of bullets and several paraders and onlookers get downed by stray bullets. Even by Corman standards, this is pretty unreal.

Jackson County Jail is garbage that is only effective as unintentional comedy. Even on those undemanding standards, it is pretty bad. If you want to get your intelligence insulted, then this is the movie for you.

Editor's Note: This review originally appeared on OMGN's former sister site, FlickZone, on Feb. 9, 2005.


Review Score


An R-rated motion picture, in the view of the Rating Board, contains some adult material. An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously. Children under 17 are not allowed to attend R-rated motion pictures unaccompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Parents are strongly urged to find out more about R-rated motion pictures in determining their suitability for their children. Generally, it is not appropriate for parents to bring their young children with them to R-rated motion pictures.

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