Combustible Celluloid
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With: Linda Blair, Sybil Danning, John Vernon, Stella Stevens, Henry Silva, Tamara Dobson, Monique Gabrielle, Sylvia Kristel, , Nina Van Pallandt, Marjoe Gortner, Woody Strode
Written by: Paul Nicolas, Vincent Mongol, Robert Collector, Gary Drucker, Ernst R. von Theumer
Directed by: Paul Nicholas, Robert Collector, Ernst R. von Theumer
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 287
Date: 03/18/2013

Women in Prison Triple Feature (2011)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Rage in the Cage

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In association with the website Mr. Skin, Panik House has released this surprisingly high quality, remastered, anamorphic widescreen collection of 1980s "women in prison" movies. This was a fascinating subgenre that featured the same staples over and over again: unfairly punished heroines, nudity, sex, showers, catfights, lesbians, sadistic wardens, drugs, racial issues, torture, escapes, and revenge. Some saw in them a parade of the most basic of exploitation elements, and others saw in them a celebration of women's power, and a genre in which men identified with and rooted for the women characters.

Of the three movies in this set, Paul Nicholas' Chained Heat (1983) is the most archetypal. It has everything the genre needs, in addition to a pretty great cast. Linda Blair stars -- ten years after The Exorcist -- as the wrongly accused Carol Henderson, who goes to prison and appears topless in the shower. The warden (John Vernon) has sex with girls in his hot tub and videotapes them. Prison officer Captain Taylor (Stella Stevens) and her guard boyfriend Lester (Henry Silva) run a kind of drug/prostitution ring on the side. Ericka (Sybil Danning) leads the prison's white gang, and Duchess (Tamara Dobson) leads the black gang. Lastly, the gorgeous "B" movie scream queen Monique Gabrielle appears as one of the warden's hot tub babes. Eventually the prisoners team up and take on the crooked prison officials. If you're going to see any one "women in prison" movie, this one will do fine.

The set also includes the follow-up, Robert Collector's Red Heat (1984), also starring Blair, along with Sylvia Kristel as a sadistic lesbian prisoner. And Danning returns as the star of Ernst R. von Theumer's Jungle Warriors (1984), in which seven models crash land in Peru and are abducted by coke dealers. John Vernon, Nina Van Pallandt, Marjoe Gortner, and Woody Strode co-star. Extras on the two-disc set include introductions by "Mr. Skin," and interviews with Danning and Stevens.

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