A girl is caught in a drug bust and sent to the hoosegow. The iron-handed superintendent takes exception to a skit performed by the girls and takes punitive steps, aided by the sadistic ...
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A girl is caught in a drug bust and sent to the hoosegow. The iron-handed superintendent takes exception to a skit performed by the girls and takes punitive steps, aided by the sadistic doctor who is doing illegal electroshock experiments and raping drugged prisoners. After a while the prisoners put away their petty differences and plan the Big Prison Escape. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Not as sleazy as some entries in the genre, but still good.
Jonathan Demme's feature length first unit directorial debut was this women in prison favourite, done for his boss in the 1970s, Roger Corman. It stars Erica Gavin as Jacqueline Wilson, a young woman nabbed by the police during a drug bust. While serving time, she meets a variety of convicts, among them the ultra tough Maggie (Juanita Brown), the equally feisty Belle (Roberta Collins), and the more low key Lavelle (Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith). When two of the ladies perform a risqué routine in order to entertain the others, the superintendent (Barbara Steele) decides to come down hard on her charges.
Once one stops to think about it, they do realize that there is more going on than in the standard issue type of W.I.P. feature. It *is* exploitative, of course; Demme does realize what's required of him. Still, he waits until about 24 minutes into the movie before he even begins showing off the birthday suits on the babes. There are shower scenes, and cat fights, and generally agreeable mayhem. There's also a decent subtext about the degrees to which males exploit females, and take advantage of them, and what can happen when enough females band together to take preventative steps. One can hardly fail to notice the depravity of a central male character, the nefarious prison doctor Randolph (Warren Miller), who has a taste for electro shock therapy and for taking nude photos of his patients at their most vulnerable.
The script by Demme is also laced with humour at appropriate moments. The characters maintain a good amount of rooting interest, with exploitation veterans like Brown and Collins offering standout performances. However, the most intriguing person here is Superintendent McQueen, played as being very repressed by Ms. Steele. In the real world, McQueen is confined to a wheelchair, and has one very erotic dream sequence.
Fans of the 1970s B movie will recognize a number of the supporting and bit players: Crystin Sinclaire, Carmen Argenziano, John Aprea, Patrick Wright, Gary Littlejohn. Pay close attention to catch Demme's regular cinematographer Tak Fujimoto as a sex emporium customer.
"Caged Heat" is sexy and violent, paced reasonably well, and delivers some excitement in its climactic prison breakout sequence.
Seven out of 10.
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