Sunday, 10 August 2014

Chained Heat (1983)

The Women In Prison movie. It's not for everyone, but certain viewers with a taste for the trashy will know that these movies often practically overflow with gratuitous nudity, sadism and sleaze. Which makes them very entertaining.

In this movie, Linda Blair plays Carol, the new girl in the prison. It doesn't take her long to get the attention of Ericka (Sybil Danning), one of the more powerful inmates. Ericka is involved in a bit of a feud with Duchess (Tamara Dobson), but the two women have mutual enemies, of course, in the shape of the warden (John Vernon) and his staff (mainly Stella Stevens). At least there's the suave Lester (Henry Silva) to help the ladies take part in a lovely care in the community scheme. Well, actually, to be completely truthful, he gives some of them nice dresses to wear and then makes them work as prostitutes.

With its great cast, hilarious lack of anything that makes sense (for example, the hot tub in the warden's office), and pleasing mix of, yes indeed, nudity, sadism and sleaze, this is a particularly fan-pleasing film that takes the recognised components of the niche sub-genre and ramps them all up for maximum entertainment value.

Blair does fine in her role, despite the fact that I don't think she's ever been that great an actress. Her fresh face, and willingness to remove clothing, stand her in good stead to play the innocent girl who may struggle to survive her spell behind bars. Danning is as mesmerising as she usually is, perfect for the queen bee role that she's cast in. It's a sin that she was never cast in a movie role opposite, or alongside, Dyanne Thorne (or am I on my own with that thought?). Dobson holds her own, admirably, whenever facing off against Danning, and makes for a worthy opponent. Robert Miano is a rapey guard, Kendal Kaldwell is a nasty guard who isn't averse to helping the rapey guard get his victims, Stevens is a decent villain, and both Vernon and Silva are enjoyably cringe-inducing in almost every scene they feature in.

Paul Nicholas cobbles everything together well enough. It's all a bit careless and loose, rough around all of the edges in a way that just makes it more endearing, and the script (co-written by Nicholas and Aaron Butler) is as crude, at times, as it is juvenile.

I had a lot of fun watching Chained Heat (hey, I didn't mean THAT . . . . . behave), and I think that anyone else with previous experience of this kind of film, as long as they know exactly what they're letting themselves in for, will find it equally enjoyable.


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