Women In Prison Triple Feature: Chained Heat/Red Heat/Jungle Warriors
Released by: Panik House/Mr. Skin
Released on: 7/12/2011
Director: Paul Nicholas/Robert Collector/Ernst R. Von Theumer
Cast: Linda Blair, Stella Stevens, Tamara Dobson, John Vernon, Sybil Danning, Woody Strode
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Panik House has risen from the dead with some help from Mr. Skin to present the Chained Heat release that was discussed years back – with Red Heat and Jungle Warriors thrown into the mix for good measure. Rarely has a two disc set contained so much Linda Blair, Sybil Danning and John Vernon action – it’s almost too much to take!
Here’s a look:
CHAINED HEAT (1983):
The first film in the set is one of those titles cult movie buffs have been waiting a long time for, but it’s finally here after seeing heavily cut releases in Canada and the UK. The film starts off with a bang when trouble erupts inside a woman’s prison. A quick shoot out takes care of that problem and then we meet Warden Bacman (John Vernon) who has a hot tub in his office and how, in his opening scene, is in the midst of videotaping a naked woman. This sets up the sleaze to come as we then segue over to a bus transporting some new prisoners, the most important of whom is Carol Henderson (Linda Blair) who is about to do some time for accidently killing a man. Oops! When she arrives she learns very promptly that the wards are segregated by skin color after witnessing the death of a black inmate. The two sections of the prison are lead by two different ‘gang leaders’ – the black inmates by Duchess (Tamara Dobson) and the white inmates by Erika (Sybil Danning).
While the blacks and the whites are causing trouble, the warden’s right hand woman, Captain Taylor (Stella Stevens) keeps watch but tends to turn a blind eye to pretty much every conceivable wrongdoing you could imagine. Things go from bad to worse when a guard named Lester (Henry Silva) gets his hands on cute and curvy Carol, who soon has her fill of prison life and decides it’s time that the inmates stand up for themselves and fight back against their oppressors!
Chock full of rape, lesbianism, drug use, violence, pimping, bad fashion (what’s up with Henry Silva’s pastel sweater?), big hair, big tits, and big fun, Chained Heat might not be all too concerned with logic or realism but it sure does deliver sleazy thrills by the bucket load. Of course, the whole thing exists just to exploit the female cast members’ various assets, but that’s part and parcel to the women in prison genre and odds are pretty good that if you’re reading this, you expect a certain amount of T&A from a movie like this. It all builds to a ridiculously awesome conclusion and it’s as predictable as a bowel movement but you can’t help but love this one, a veritable masterpiece of trash filmmaking.
First and foremost, the movie makes great use of its cast. You wanna see Linda Blair and Sybil Danning in the shower together? Of course you do, and you will, oh yes, you will. You want to see Tamara Dobson of Cleopatra Jones fame kick white chicks around? That’s here too. You definitely want to see John Vernon in a hot tub with some chicks and a camcorder, right? No? Tough shit, you can’t turn away and you know it. You probably don’t want to see Henry Silva in a pastel sweater, but, yeah, that’s here too and the movie is all the better (?) for it. Everyone here gives 110%, with both Blair and her Carol character obviously losing some innocence here. Vernon slithers his way through the film with more sleaze appeal than in pretty much anything else he’s ever done (and that’s saying something!) while Danning seems more comfortable nude than clothed.
The sets are appropriately grubby (the cinematography from the great Mac Ahlberg accentuates this), the script little more than a series of depraved scenes strung together by flimsy character development and the story almost completely devoid of any originality whatsoever, but damn it if Chained Heat won’t kick your ass and make you say ‘thank you, may I have another?’
Note: While this release does contain more nudity than ever before, and some pretty awesome girl on girl shower fun time action, it is missing a brief shot in the opening sequence where the female prisoner is shot in the back. This version is also missing a quick shot of Vernon's character helping the girl from the first hot tub scene inject some drugs into her arm. Both are only quick shots and most won’t miss them, but it’s only fair to point out that these two shots are not there for whatever reason, particularly as the packaging states this is an uncut presentation.
Screen caps from the missing scenes can be seen here.
RED HEAT (1985):
The second movie once again finds Ms. Blair in trouble. Here she plays Christine Carlson, a woman involved with a solider serving his country behind the Iron Curtain. She jumps on a plane to go and visit him and before you know it, they’re making sweet, sweet love. Once they’ve caught up on carnal shenanigans, Christine decides to go out for a nice walk but somewhere along the way makes a wrong turn and winds up in a bad neighborhood where she’s abducted by Communists who promptly toss her into a cell somewhere in East Germany.
Here she meets an inmate named Sofia (Sylvia Kristel) who she quickly finds herself in a tussle with. Sofia is the warden’s pet as she’ll basically do anything the lesbian in charge (Elisabeth Volkmann) asks of her, so she was probably the last person Christine should have made enemies with – but regardless, they don’t get along… until they find themselves in the shower together at which point they get along only too well. Things quickly turn even sourer than they already were, however, and before you know it Christine is planning her escape all the while her boyfriend on the outside is doing everything he can to get her back on friendly ground in one piece.
Set to an appropriately weird score from Tangerine Dream, Red Heat never quite hits the heights of delirious depravity that the first film does but it’s not a bad women in prison movie. Blair is once again pretty good in the lead role, standing up against her oppressors with a seriously tough look in her eye but able to show her tender side when alone with her beau… or in the shower with another woman. You know, it’s easy to get confused when you’re locked up and stuff. At any rate, this is a noticeably darker film than Chained Heat, both literally and figuratively. Much of the movie is shot inside a bleak, dark, poorly lit prison and the abuse and sexual depravity are played a little more seriously here than in Chained Heat. The cast are game, however. If Blair steals the show Sylvia Kristal, miscast as she might be as a ‘touch chick,’ at least gives her all as far as the bolder moments the script asks of her. Elisabeth Volkmann stands out as the warden and, as you’d expect, she runs the place with an iron fist.
There aren’t a lot of surprises here and you’ll probably see most of the twists coming before they hit the screen but the movie is fast paced and sleazy and makes good use of its European locations. The film delves into politics here and there and apparently tries to say something about the whole East/West Germany division but doesn’t really succeed in doing much more than slowing down the pace. Regardless, the movie is entertaining enough, it’s just not on the same plane as Chained Heat and when they’re packaged together it’s hard not to compare them.
Note: There is a longer version of Red Heat around that contains a rape scene that is not included in this release. In this longer version, when the inmates go to watch a film, Blair's character is taken to an office where a male guard rips her clothes off and mounts her. This is followed by a sequence in which Kristal's character licks Blair's chin. In the version on this DVD, we see the inmates go into the screening room, we see Blair thrown to the mattress by the guard, and then it cuts to Kristal groping Blair's breast and it ends. Almost all of the rape scene is missing.
For screen caps of the missing footage, click here.
JUNGLE WARRIORS (1984):
The last of the three films in this collection sadly doesn’t star Linda Blair but it fits here nicely as it does feature Sybil Danning and John Vernon from Chained Heat. When it begins, Larry Schecter (Marjoe Gortner) leads a group of hot models deep into the jungles of South America for a fashion shoot. Unfortunately on the way, their plane is shot out of the sky and when they crash land, they’re kidnapped by a drug kingpin (who likes to sniff flowers a lot) named Cesar Santiago (Paul L. Smith) and his army of thugs. Never mind the fact that plane doesn’t actually seem to crash, it just lands normally, allowing the passengers to get out before it SUDDENLY BLOWS THE FUCK UP! KABOOM!
At this point Larry is killed and the models tossed into a cell in his compound where a woman named Angel (Sybil Danning) yells at them and plays with one lady’s tit for a few seconds. Soldiers and thug types, one of whom is a fat hairy guy in an E.T. belly shirt, and a guy named Luther (Woody Strode) have their way with the models while some mobsters, lead by Vito Mastranga (John Vernon) show up and try to make a deal with the drug kingpin for the girls – who are busy planning their escape and figuring out how to kill everyone around them as quickly as possible.
Not quite as blissful as it sounds, Jungle Warriors is still a pretty entertaining jungle movie (and yes, it’s more of a jungle movie than a women-in-prison film but it does feature some dungeons so we’ll let it pass). There’s a fair bit of violence and a wee bit of sexual assault to keep things trashy while the cast all deliver some interesting performances. Gortner acts like he’s in some sort of masterpiece, which contrasts in interesting ways with Vernon, who laughs constantly for reasons known only to him and who was possibly inebriated during the shoot. Sybil Danning is good in her assertive and slightly kinky role and the script gives her a few good scenes here, while Paul L. Smith is just weird as the drug kingpin who really does have a weird thing for flowers… and probably for his half-sister too (played by Danning).
There aren’t a lot of surprises here, you can figure out pretty early on where this is all going, who is going to stab who in the back and why, and where the requisite action scenes are going to kick in but it moves at a decent pace. The film also features a remarkably horrible opening vocal number credited to Martina Arcangeli that’ll stick with you for some time whether you want it to or not. The jungle locations used in the film are kind of cool and the dungeon is appropriately stinky looking. Dennis Hopper was at one point supposed to play Marjoe Gortner’s part in this movie but he got stoned and wandered around the set naked, after which he was arrested. Apparently he had no memory doing so, but he was fired and Gortner puzzlingly chosen as his replacement. Somebody was probably a Starcrash fan.
Note: Jungle Warriors appears to be truly uncut as the most common trim, that being the rape scene that takes place in the cell, is intact. Marjoe Gortner's death is as gory as it should be and the gang rape sequence in which the thugs have their way with the models doesn't appear to be trimmed at all.
Chained Heat, which is on its own disc with the interviews (more on that in a minute) looks pretty good in this 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. There’s some grain present, as there should be, but no serious print damage to be concerned about, just a speck here and there. Colors look pretty natural, detail is strong and black levels are also pretty solid. There aren’t any compression artifacts to complain about nor is there any heavy edge enhancement or aliasing. Skin tones look lifelike, and texture is good, as is contrast.
Red Heat, which shares its disc with Jungle Warriors, doesn’t fare quite as well, though the 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen picture is still decent enough. Some mild ghosting is evident and the dark scenes are very dark meaning that shadow detail isn’t the best. The good outweighs the bad, however, as colors are reasonably well defined.
Jungle Warriors is also presented in a 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and it’s definitely the softest looking of the three films though if you’ve seen the movie before you might remember that it’s always looked this way as that’s the way that it was shot. Softness aside the movie is presented here in good shape without any major print damage. The picture is clean and stable throughout.
The English language Dolby Digital tracks for the three films are all fine – dialogue is easily discernable and simple enough to follow while the levels are consistently well balanced. There aren’t any problems with hiss or distortion to note and the scores all sound fine. These aren’t reference quality mixes but they are free of any major problems.
Included on the Chained Heat disc are two bonus interviews, each roughly eleven minutes long from Ballyhoo Productions. The first features Stella Stevens and she talks quite candidly about working on the film, the locations, and her fellow cast members and also gives her thoughts on all the nudity in the picture. The second interview features the immortally awesome Sybil Danning and she covers some of the same ground, discussing her role in the film, what it was like working with director John Nicholas, and many of the actors and actresses that she worked with on Chained Heat. Both interviews are nice additions to the set.
Each of the three films also contains an optional introduction from Mr. Skin (each roughly a minute long and basically an advertisement for the famous naked celebrity website), its respective theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection. The lack of involvement from Linda Blair herself is a disappointment (as she did do a commentary for the Canadian release from Third Strike) but what’s here is good.
The Final Word:
While a bit more love in the extra features department probably would have made some fans happy and a few minor missing snippets might irk some, this is, overall, quite a good set. Chained Heat is definitely stronger here than it has ever been and both Red Heat and Jungle Warriors hold up well resulting in a perfect triple feature for trash movie fans and Blair-o-philes alike.
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