The film was rejected for a DVD certificate in February 2004 in the United Kingdom by the BBFC over sexual violence being eroticized, and indecent images of an under-eighteen (in Britain, indecent images of children are illegal). The BBFC website has this to say regarding the film: This work was rejected. Dubbed,Widescreen,Under the Video Recordings Act 1984,the Board is required to consider any harmful effect that a video work may have upon potential viewers or,through their behaviour,to society by the manner in which it deals with (amongst other things) violent behaviour,horrific behaviour and human sexual activity. Women in Cellblock 9 contains many sequences depicting the abuse,torture and humiliation of naked women. These sequences were found to be in conflict with the Board's published classification guidelines,which prohibit scenes that eroticise or endorse sexual assault. The Board's strict stance on titillatory sexual violence is supported both by public opinion and by a large body of media effects research. In addition,The Protection of Children Act,as amended by the Sexual Offences Act 2003,makes the distribution and showing of indecent photographs of a child under the age of 18 a criminal offence. One of the lead actresses in Women in Cellblock 9 was just over 16 at the time the film was made. The Board was in no doubt that many of the sexualised scenes involving her would therefore be illegal. Although the amendment will not take effect until May 2004,the BBFC cannot classify material which would be in circulation in breach of the Act. The Board considered the option of cutting the work. However,the quantity of scenes involving eroticised sexual violence,combined with the indecent photographs of a person under 18,meant that cuts were not a viable option. See more »
Franco WIP film that leaves the mold completely intact
I saw this a few years ago when I was living in Europe (it's currently unavailable in the US except as a bootleg or an import). It is a completely stereotypical and unremarkable Franco WIP film of the era. Four implausibly sexy "revolutionaries" in an unnamed South American country are captured and thrown into an isolated jungle prison (after they try to drive their caravan right by the prison). They are stripped naked, chained by their necks to the ceiling in the titular "Cellblock 9" and forced to stand hours on end. The "Ilsa"-like female and her bent doctor cohort (long-time Franco regular Howard Vernon) take great delight in trying to torture information out of them. Some of the tortures (like the "Spanish horse) are exceedingly unpleasant but also surprisingly non-graphic, and this movie doesn't quite approach the nastiness of Franco's earlier "Barb-Wire Dolls" and "Ilsa, the Wicked Warden". It also doesn't have the plot of the later "Women Behind Bars" (or feature the genuinely talented Lina Romay). The girls eventually bust out, run into the woods (still completely naked mind you) where the movie ends EXACTLY the way all these Franco WIP films do. Furthermore, despite the four girls having very nice bodies and being almost perpetually naked, the only time this movie approaches any real eroticism is when the heroines stage a four-way lesbian orgy (that goes on for some minutes) in order to trick a horny, dimwitted male guard into unchaining them. This movie is completely unremarkable in any way, EXCEPT. . .
The BBFC (British Board of Film Censors) recently banned this movie after they somehow discovered that one of the incredibly obscure actresses was underage (I'll let you figure out which one--she looks maybe 17 and a half at the youngest). I do NOT want to try to defend Franco on this particular count, but this is a perfect example of where what no one knew would not have hurt anybody. Now though thanks to the "vigilance" of the BBFC (you're about thirty years late, guys) this movie, widely available from continental Europe through importers and bootleggers, will become another "holy grail" for the perverts who obsess about this kind of thing. Worse for me though is the hypocrisy. The BBFC did not cut the gratuitous nudity of much more obviously underage girls out of the more recent and much more respectable movies like "American Beauty" and "The Hole", even while the girls in question (Thora Birch and Keira Knightly, respectively) were STILL underage. If you are not going to protect actual underage actors from exploitation, it is downright silly to try to "protect society" from us Franco fans who might unwittingly see a naked seventeen year old and presumably go on some kind of sex-crazed rampage. This movie sucks frankly, but not nearly as much as brain-dead censorship and the BBFC.
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