A sign that something’s rotten in Thunder Country appears during the opening credits. Mickey Rooney has top billing, even though his character only appears onscreen for about 10 minutes. The picture’s second-billed star, former Addams Family giant Ted Cassidy, plays the villain, so he’s onscreen throughout the picture, but he often trades screen time with a group of women. Because, as some of the film’s alternate titles suggest, this is a women-in-prison picture—except when it’s not. Also known as Cell Block Girls, Convict Women, Swamp Fever, and Women’s Prison Escape, this rotten flick cuts back and fourth between a quartet of female inmates and the exploits of a drug dealer, played by Cassidy. Threads converge after the women escape and seek refuge in a shack owned by a sweaty redneck in a Florida swamp, because the redneck has connections to the drug dealer’s operation. Eventually, the drug dealer and the fugitive ladies battle while authorities search the swamp, attempting to capture various crooks and escapees. As for Rooney, he plays a grimy shopkeeper forced by the women to escort them to the aforementioned swamp. Thunder Country is pointless sludge, lacking even the courage of its sleazy convictions; since the picture bears a PG rating, the lurid elements one normally expects from a women-in-prison picture are absent. There’s some fun to be had in watching the Artist Formerly Known as Lurch play a slick modern-day criminal, all stylish shades and tailored suits, but that novelty wears off quickly. Even the kick of watching gators prey upon people gets old. If anything about this movie sounds appealing to you, seek similar pleasures elsewhere and you’ll be glad for the decision.
Thunder Country: LAME