Women in Prison, Part I: Chained Heat (1983)

July 11, 2011 | By

Tuesday marks the street release of Chained Heat (1983), the Women in Prison [WIP] film produced by Billy Fine with content so wrong it’s not only right, but just fine for this idiot genre that blossomed during the seventies.

Whether she’s innocent or guilty, it don’t matter. She done wrong, she’s going into the big house, where inside her birdcage she must defend herself against overcooked screws wanting forcibly confined and aggressively administered nookie-nookie. Blacks and whites tussle, nuzzle, and cuddle, while an evil sadistic warden make sure his / her concrete jungle doesn’t explode into a powder keg of heated hotness, and disrupts the flow of drugs and prostitution from which said warden earns some ‘discretionary income.’

Fine didn’t create the genre; he just ran with it, starting with The Concrete Jungle (1982), following by Caged Heat [M] (1983), and inspiring a whole group of hacks to think they too could cash-in on scenes of nudity and improper use of power over big-bosomed butches and princesses.

See, Fine and director / co-writer Paul Nicholas had no choice to indulge in their own tastes and go extreme because WIP films had not only gone mainstream at the drive-in, but on the idiot box – the proof being TV’s Charlie’s Angels.

In “Angels in Chains” (broadcast in 1976), Sabrina, Jill and Kelly went to the big house, and eventually ‘busted out,’ still manacled in a threesome from which they could not easily escape. Much personality clashing ensued, and driving a motor vehicle proved quite challenging with six hands, and one unresponsive clutch.

If series producer Aaron Spelling managed to distill the essence of WIP films to PG-rated audiences in middle America, the makers of Chained Heat [CH] had to dream big.

Incredibly, every rendering in Linda's illustrated menagerie actually happens on film.

Branded by some as ‘the Citizen Kane’ of WIP films, CH has it all, and still offends 28 years after its release. Why did Linda Blair, the Oscar-nominated imp from The Exorcist [M] (1974) agree to show her ta-tas, and let Sybil Danning lather them with affection?

Why the hell is stentorian master thespian John Vernon licking nipples in a hot tub? Why is Stella Stevens dressed like a man, and greets her favourite inmates with the term ‘pig shit”? And what is making actor Henry Silva grin so delightfully in every scene that he owns?

Sadly, only some of those questions were answered in the first North American DVD release of CH via VSC’s Canadian 2-disc set, which featured CH, plus two othe WIP classiques, Blair’s Red Heat (1985), and Danning’s Jungle Warriors (1984).

Now Mr. Skin and Panik House’s 2011 edition of the said threesome whips up answers in their bosomy 2-disc ‘set,’ featuring the first release of CH in its original uncut form with restored Wrongness.

In the first part of this morally rich series, I compare the two releases and their respective special features, because I know you want to know the Whys, the Whatnots, and the WhatTheHells.

That is all.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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