Judge Daryl Loomis believes that hot tubs are a basic right of the prison warden.
Our reviews of Red Heat: Special Edition (published October 28th, 2004), Red Heat (Blu-ray) (published July 2nd, 2011), and Schwarzenegger: 4-Film Collector's Set (published May 22nd, 2009) are also available.
What these women did to get into prison is nothing compared to what they'll do to get out.
The 1980s gave late night cable viewers a very skewed view of women's prisons. It turns out that instead of filthy hovels of forced prostitution and drug trafficking, these prisons are actually a lot like their male-oriented counterparts. While there might be perceived benefits to having Sylvia Kristel or Sybil Danning as your warden, it's probably better this way. Still, you don't get much more prurient than these films and, if you want to spend close to five hours wallowing in cinematic filth, have a look at Women in Prison Triple Pack presented by Mr. Skin. I doubt you'll be disappointed.
Facts of the Case
The first two films in this collection of highly dubious films are very standard examples of the genre. A woman goes to jail for a minor crime that she may or may not have committed. She is humiliated, first by the warden, and then by her fellow inmates. She makes a friend in a kind soul, but she will be viciously murdered. She is alone and nobody knows what has happened to her. Now, she must suffer through rape/prostitution/forced drug addiction before she can escape. I'm not sure there's an easier type of movie to write and, as long as there are women willing to disrobe in an attempt to jump start their careers, there will be horndogs who will watch.
In these two cases, the services of Linda Blair were employed. After The Exorcist, Blair didn't have much of a career, mired in such awfulness as The Exorcist 2: The Heretic and Roller Boogie. So, like many others, she found an easier route through exploitation. True, she chose the sleaziest sub-genre and, true, her career never really went anywhere after that, but it worked for a lot of people, so it's hard to fault her logic.
Red Heat is the better of the two for three reasons. First, the East German setting, which allows for a ton of hilarious interrogations. Second, Sylvia Kristel, who isn't given a lot of screen time, is one of the true queens of sexploitation. Third, the hair, oh my goodness, the hair. The hairspray budget must have been astronomical for this prison, especially surprising given the Communist bureaucracy running the place. Red Heat is my second favorite women in prison film (after Caged Fury, starring Erik Estrada) and, yes, that's probably because of the hair. Chained Heat, for it's cult status, has very little going for it beyond Sybil Danning (Reform School Girls) and John Vernon (Animal House), both of whom we will see more from in Jungle Warriors. It does mix sexploitation with a little blaxploitation, so there's that, but it's not much.
Jungle Warriors takes us in an entirely different direction. There is still a prison filled with women, so don't worry, but this is much more of a Euro-flavored action film than a traditional genre entry. It's remains as trashy as you would expect, but there are a lot more explosions and the action is less centered around the ladies that the other films and more focused on the drug trade. It's a bad movie, don't get me wrong, but it's considerably more enjoyable than either of the other two features. It has a veritable cavalcade of B-stars, including Vernon and Danning, but also Woody Strode (Once Upon a Time in the West), Alex Cord (Airwolf), and Paul L. Smith (Dune). In general, it's a lot weirder and more fun than the other two films in the collection, and the only one I could even mildly recommend.
The Women in Prison Triple Pack is brought to us under the ignominious name of Mr. Skin, through the Panik House label. The website that boils cinema quality down to a quantity of nude scenes provides introductions to each of these films, explaining to an audience that they must think is desperately slow that the movies they have just purchased have tons of naked ladies in them. Don't worry, horny boys, they aren't lying; you will get to see parts of the female anatomy if you watch these movies, so bully for you. For the rest of us, who have seen such things before, we get a deeply sub-par triple feature that should be better, given the cult following that these films have built and the fact that Chained Heat, the most popular women in prison film ever made, is presented uncut on DVD for the first time ever, but their appearances on DVD alone will be cause for fans to celebrate.
The image transfers on all three films are poor, with a grain structure that makes the films look like they were blown up from 8mm prints and there is dust and damage all over the place. No work has been done on these transfers at all. Likewise with the sound, the mono tracks sound like the films did on VHS; not impressive in the least. Aside from the trailers we get for each film, we have an interview with Stella Stevens on the Chained Heat disc and one with Sybil Danning for Jungle Warriors. It's better than nothing, but not much.
Cult following aside, women in prison movies are bad and boring. The first two films in the Women in Prison Triple Pack follow the mind-numbing template perfectly, while Jungle Warriors actually branches out a little. It's better for that, but still nothing great. Fans of the films finally have them on disc, and good for them, but there's little appeal for most.
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