Thursday, March 27, 2008

What happens to girls without men?

The "women in prison" genre is a peculiar construct. I do not know exactly where and when it started, I honestly have not seen very many, but examples of the formula go back to the 1950's at least. In Girls in Prison, we get "a shocking tale of one man against 1000 women" according to the Swedish tag line. Both the poster art and the title are directly lifted from the US counterpart, but the censors decided to cut the film in several places before putting it before Swedish cinemagoers. Among the lost moments were "the scene with girls fighting", "knife threat against sleeping woman", "the assault and beating in the shed", "the scene where a girl falls off a lorry", and "the scenes with fighting and close-ups of a dying girl". One wonders if there was anything left to get excited about?

I'm sure the genre thrived in the 60's, but we forge ahead to the 1970's and of the more accomplished examples: Jonathan Demme's Caged Heat. This is actually a pretty good movie, with Euro-goth/horror queen Barbara Steele as the wicked warden. Nobody even bothered to try passing this by the Swedish censors, as it was doomed to fail. Leave it to the Italians to squeeze the most visuals out of this Roger Corman production...

By the time the Italians caught on and started producing these films themselves, the sleaze factor went up to the max and Laura Gemser had yet another career option. A typical 80's production would be Violence in a Women's Prison, from hack master Bruno Mattei, most notable because the poster would have been equally fitting in my rat collection!


armin said...

Nice WIP posters, but hey, where's WILLARD in your rat collection - the bastard mother of all rat movies?


Lars Erik said...

Oh. I've got it, don't you worry - just saving it for another day!

Michael said...

Has there ever been three kinder initials in the alphabet than W.I. and P? I don't think so. I've seen many of the films but I've only seen (mostly) US artwork so it's nice to catch a glimpse of the other side. I love the Caged Heat!

If you want to see the craziest and most outrageous example, I'd suggest you get an uncut copy of 'Bare Behind Bars'. It's so sleazy! Maybe a Canadian can send you one.