Renny Harlin is probably best known for directing films like Deep Blue Sea, Cliffhanger, The Long Kiss Goodnight and Die Hard 2.  But Harlin's big-screen directorial debut was a horror movie filmed in the Cowboy State, and that movie is getting a special edition BluRay release.

Harlin's Prison was filmed at the Wyoming Frontier Prison in Ralwins in 1987.  Starring Viggo Mortensen and Lane Smith, the film follows a prison guard (Smith) watches a convict (Mortensen) get put to death in the electric chair.  Several years later the angry ghosts of the past come back to haunt the prison guard who is now a warden.

A sometimes gory horror film, Prison isn't exactly the stuff of critical acclaim.  However Prison has found a home among cult horror fans, and Scream Factory, a subsidary of the movie/television/music distribution label Shout! Factory, is re-releasing Prison on BluRay for the fans and for the curious.

An official press release from Scream Factory boasts "Available for the first time on Blu-ray and DVD, the Collector’s Edition of Prison contains a collectible cover featuring newly rendered retro-style artwork, a reversible wrap with original theatrical key art, new extras and more!"

It will certainly be up to the viewer to decide if Prison the movie has aged well, the actual prison that provided the setting for the film is a different matter.  Tina Hill, Historic Site Director for The Wyoming Frontier Prison says that when the production came through town in '87 they left their mark.

"The people of our community were really excited to have a movie made in town," Hill says.  "They weren't viewing the Old Pen as a historic site, they didn't stop the movie company from doing, pretty much, whatever they wanted to do."

Hill says that the production company made serious alterations to the historic site that still present problems to this day.  One of which is a large hole that was made in the wall of the exercise yard.  In the movie the hole was used to construct a second entrance for the prison, but after shooting wrapped the hole remained.

"We still have the hole in the exercise yard.  Which allows people to get in when they're not supposed to be, and so there's vandalism on our exercise wall," Hill says.  "It's a security issue.  You can't really get spray paint off of concrete.  And being that we're a historic site, we can't paint over the graffiti because the walls weren't painted.  It would be inaccurate to paint them."

Hill also says that the historic site is currently repairing damages the production made to the prison's A-Block walls.  Plaster had been chipped off to expose the brick walls underneath to make the prison look older for the movie.  Hill said that the plaster damage was being repaired at the time of the interview.

Despite the damages, Hill says there's no sour-grapes about the production of Prison coming through the site.  "Now, we're pretty much happy that [the production] happened.  We wish that the people who were in charge of the prison at the time would have taken a little bit better care, and maybe have not let the production do the damage that they did."  Hill goes on to say the historic prison now has measures in place to prevent further damage from film and television productions.  Just recently the Travel Channel show Ghost Adventures filmed an episode at the prison.

As a historic site, the prison has a museum and still offers tours of the "old pen."

Renny Harlin's Prison is being released by Shout! Factory on BluRay on February 17th, and is available for pre-order through their website:

The Official Prison Trailer from 1988 (Warning: Images of violence)

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