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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 »
This sexploiter was quite clearly made for the sex & gore crowd. Thus we have here several beautiful women (nude most of the time), who are imprisoned and raped and tortured and raped and killed and raped. Completely lacking in this film is a source of reference, a coordinate system in which we could place any of these people. There are no answers to questions such as "Why?", or "Where from?", regarding any of the characters. They don't have a future, a past, a motivation, a connection to any kind of life as we know it. In a way, they are like some of these alien societies encountered once (and only once) by Captain Kirk in one of the Star Trek episodes.
We normally criticise movie characters as two-dimensional when they are underwritten - here even "one-dimensional" would give too much credit, as they don't move in space, time, or behaviour. Thus there wasn't much acting skill asked of the cast and thus they have no problems coping with this very limited demand; especially Howard Vernon is (as ever) excellent at portraying unpleasant people of the sinister kind.
Compared to other Franco flicks the cinematography is exceptionally good (none of his trademark out-of-focus zooms) and at times even inspirational. The sets are fine too, although it has to be said that torturing instruments that are meant to aid interrogation completely fail their purpose if they almost instantaneously kill.
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