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ROGER CORMAN W/ PAM GRIER PRISON EXPLOITATION THREESOME

Pam Grier and Judy Brown YEAR: 1971
BIG DOLL HOUSE: This is the first Roger Corman produced/Jack Hill written and directed women-in-prison venture shot in the Philippines, and it's pretty great stuff. Although beware to all Pam Grier fanatics, she's not the main star... but as a bullying rogue within a cramped cell of sexy vixens including Judy Brown (the new girl), Roberta Collins (the tough girl) and Brooke Mills (the addict), she holds her own just fine.

It's survival of the fittest: including mud wrestling, shower massages, torture racks, and chicks wielding big machine guns.

Sid Haig, as a con-man who ultimately helps the girls plan their escape, adds to a somewhat bizarre canvas that, at times, is a little too weird for its own good yet remains a groundbreaking classic: All about those gorgeous sweaty babes and their eclectic personalities clashing inside, and then fighting outside, the hot caged hell they eventually must escape from.

1971 ***1/2
WOMEN IN CAGES: Not directed by Jack Hill but once again produced by Roger Corman and starring Judy Brown, Roberta Collins and Pam Grier returning from the BIG DOLL HOUSE to an even more gritty, cut-throat and slickly energetic women-in-prison flick...

Shedding some of the comedy and subplots of the wonderfully bizarre Jack Hill original which, though groundbreaking, is sometimes hindered by peripheral distractions.

Jennifer Gan, set up by her mobster boyfriend and thrown into a cutthroat Philippians prison, is up against the other sexy convicts, one hired to kill her...

But her main rival is Pam Grier, brilliantly cast as the sadistic head guard and given more free reign here. Roberta Collins is her usual tough self while Judy Brown, the passive newbie in DOLL HOUSE, plays the experienced leader in this lean, mean exploitation experience where gorgeous girls are locked up and fight to get out alive.

1973 ***1/2
THE BIG BIRD CAGE: Jack Hill, who began the exploitation women-in-prison (shot in the Philippines) era with BIG DOLL HOUSE, after many other directors jumped on the band wagon, made a comedy-adventure using stock actors Pam Grier and Sig Haig as revolutionaries breaking into a work camp: to flee female convicts for their cause.

The prison itself consists of a few huts and one giant outdoor bamboo sugar mill, which includes a human-powered slave wheel. This contraption, designed by Jack Hill's father, is primal and, in its own right, formidable. And two leads are terrific, both together and apart; especially Haig, hilariously feigning gay to "seduce" a chunky guard (Vic Diaz) while the exterior locations are amazing...

Epecially the rice paddies built within hillsides (and the mountains where the cast had to hike to their daily shoots). Meanwhile, the women in the prison itself are an eclectic lot of beautiful vixens, providing the essential though somewhat superfluous base on this unique take on the genre, distinguishing THE BIG BIRD CAGE from any other women in prison flick, most likely Jack Hill's intention.

1997 **1/2
FUGITIVE RAGE: Having absolutely nothing to do with the above Roger Cormen women in prison flicks, we'll throw this in for bad measure: And if corny dialogue were cheese, this straight-to-video doozy is a mouse with stomach cancer. But it's still fun watching tough girl Wendy Schumacher kick tons of ass.

Put in stir for shooting a mob boss in a courtroom, but not killing him. Right off the bat, she has a kung fu battle with Calista Carradine (David's daughter, witnessed by other inmates including personal friend and KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE dancer Donna Gordon). She's then sent to a suburban safe house, where she bonds, then has sex with, a fed who looks straight out of central casting. While the hammy main villain, recooping from the gun shot, awaits closure in his mansion along with the only known actor, Ross Hagan as his bodyguard who, it turns out, is more in charge than anyone realized. This leads to a nifty shootout as our heroine, rescuing her kidnapped prison friend, takes down everyone in her path: Dumb fun, and lots of both.
Pam Grier and Judy Brown warm up to the right in THE BIG DOLL HOUSE
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