Monday, July 18, 2011

WOMEN IN PRISON TRIPLE FEATURE

The final DVD release from Panik House (co-presented by the Internet's premiere celebrity skin site, "Mr. Skin") is the long-awaited, eagerly-anticipated WOMEN IN PRISON TRIPLE FEATURE, containing a triptych of sexy, sleazy, and satisfyingly sordid 80s chicks 'n chains flix, starring cult goddesses Linda Blair and Sybil Danning.

The gem of the set is CHAINED HEAT (1983), possibly the slickest and most entertaining of all WIP pictures, with an all-star exploitation cast. In this tongue-in-cheek paean to prison reform, Blair (ROLLER BOOGIE) is Carol, a relative innocent, who's been given a brief sentence on a minor charge. Once in the clink, though, she's caught up in a whirlpool of corruption, decadence, racial warfare, and the sexual interest of the statuesque lesbian Erika (Sybil Danning, BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS).

Aside from Blair and Danning, the cast includes Tamara Dobson (CLEOPATRA JONES), Michelle Bauer (EVIL TOONS), Stella Stevens (SLAUGHTER), John Vernon (ANIMAL HOUSE) and Henry Silva (CODE OF SILENCE). The script, by Aaron Butler & director Paul Nicholas, includes all the usual WIP tropes and conventions, with more than a few lurid twists. Nicholas' direction is brisk and perfectly suited to the material, never missing an opportunity for nudity. That said, the film is not as gritty or grim as many entries in the genre, with a clearly intentional camp sensibility and slightly cartoonish tone.

Blair returns in RED HEAT (1985), a somewhat more serious, nastier take on the babes behind bars genre. Here, she's an American tourist who, due to a case of mistaken identity, finds herself tossed into a West German woman's prison, where she is subject to the usual parade of abuse by corrupt officials and sadistic inmates, while her desperate fiance tries to get her released through political channels. Co-starring Sylvia Kristel (EMMANUELLE, PRIVATE LESSONS), RED HEAT is a great entry in the genre. It's not quite as much fun as some others, but it hits all the right genre notes, with plenty of gratuitous nudity and sleazy cellblock action.

The third and final flick in this nipple/triple feature is 1984's JUNGLE WARRIORS. A planeload of gorgeous models are shot down over a South American jungle by a ruthless drug lord. Captured by his minions, the women are subjected to all the usual abuse until they are finally able to escape and turn the tables on their captors. Danning is on hand as the drug lord's (Paul L. Smith, DUNE) kinky half-sister, while the rest of the delightful B-movie cast includes the aforementioned John Vernon, the great Woody Strode (THE PROFESSIONALS), and curly-haired, "hero," Marjoe Gortner (BOBBIE JO & THE OUTLAW, STARCRASH). Well-paced, with lots of beautiful, sweaty girls and violent action, JUNGLE WARRIORS is a plenty of trashy fun.

Disc One of this 2-disc set contains CHAINED HEAT, presented uncut for the first time on U.S. home video. The 1.85: anamorphic widescreen transfer is quite nice, culled from a relatively clean and stable source print. Colors and details are strong and there's only minimal evidence of wear. The Dolby 2.0 Mono sound is clear and relatively free of defects. Extras on this disc include new video interviews with actresses Sybil Danning and Stella Stevens, the original theatrical trailer, and an introduction by "Mr. Skin."

Disc Two is shared by RED HEAT and JUNGLE WARRIORS, each presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The prints aren't quite as nice as that used for CHAINED, but they're better than any previous video/cable television  presentations I've seen. JUNGLE WARRIORS also appears to be uncut, running a few minutes longer than previous U.S. home video editions. Both films enjoy solid Dolby Digital mono audio. The only extras on this disc are the respective trailers and Mr Skin intros.

This special, limited-run collection will only be available for a short time, so if you're a fan of the genre, you'll want to pick it up when it goes on sale this week. All three films are sleazy fun, but CHAINED HEAT is as close to a genre classic as it's possible to get, and well-worth the price of the collection on its own. Highly Recommended.

BUY: WOMEN IN PRISON Triple Pack (CHAINED HEAT / RED HEAT / JUNGLE WARRIORS)