Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Regular readers of this column know that I dig those "Women In Prison" (WIP) flicks of the Seventies and early Eighties, the raunchier and more perverted the better. Well, I think I've just discovered the sleaziest WIP movie ever made. Oswaldo de Oliveira's insane, utterly over-the-top BARE BEHIND BARS (a/k/a A PRISÃO, 1980) may very well be the ultimate in chicks 'n chains cinema.

As usual, there's no real plot to speak of, but all the usual elements of the WIP genre are present, and taken to the extreme. You've got beautiful naked convicts, the lusty lesbian warden, a perverted prison nurse, horny guards, full-body cavity searches, sapphic shower sex, rapes, torture, castrations, car chases and white slavery… but where in every other WIP flick they seem to stop just short of delivering the goods, BARE BEHIND BARS goes all the way, with copious bloodletting and hardcore sex scenes.

Yet, mixed in with all the carnality and carnage, there's a definite and deliberate sense of the absurd. Obviously, while everybody involved was determined to leave no exploitation opportunity unfulfilled, there's still the feeling that no one involved was taking it all that seriously. Pineapples are used as sex toys, a rubber dildo makes its way from cell to cell in amusing ways, and a man's severed sex organ is tossed to a stray dog to get it to stop barking. No, really. And it's funny.

Blue Underground's DVD of BARE BEHIND BARS presents the film in a surprisingly sharp and impressive 1.66:1 anamorphic transfer that belies the film's 26-year age. Every decadent detail is crystal sharp and print damage is virtually non-existent The Brazilian import is dubbed into English and the movie is presented unrated, although BU has designed the packaging to include a huge "X" on the front cover. The only extra is a theatrical trailer, but I can't complain. The movie is the real bonus here.

It's not for prudes or the squeamish, but if you're a fan of WIP films and feel that they never quite go far enough, BARE BEHIND BARS just might be what you're looking for.

BUY: Bare Behind Bars (Uncut Edition)