One of the most anticipated DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the year for exploitation fans has been the Women In Cages triple feature from the Roger Corman Cult Classics line by Shout! Factory, and for good reason. The Corman Cult Classics series has seen some classic Corman trash and sleaze get top notch releases on DVD and some in high definition as well.
Without ever experiencing the pleasure of any of these films I was pretty excited to rip into it and find out just what these flicks are all about. First up was The Big Doll House from director Jack Hill. Five women are tired of the torture and punishment and plan to break out of a Philippine jail with the help of 2 men from the outside. Pam Grier, Judith Brown and Sid Haig star, in this top notch example of a WIP flick. Everything you need to make a successful flick like this is here- Action, violence, scantily clad or nude women and some deranged women threatening males to "Get it up or I'll cut it off!". It doesn't hurt that Jack Hill just seems to know how to make great exploitation cinema.
Women In Cages is the only of the three to not have Jack Hill directing. Instead Gerardo de Leon helms with Judith Brown and Pam Grier starring again. Grier has moved on to the other side of the iron bars and is the evil head matron who likes to get some lovin' with the inmates whenever she pleases. Brown's character plans an escape with several other inmates with the head matron as a hostage despite knowing the trackers will be sent to find and kill them. This movie focuses more on the characters and their trials and tribulations in the prison and less on action. It is a solid entry and worthy of inclusion on the set for sure but it is the definite low point for me.
Jack Hill returns to bring us The Big Bird Cage, which is every bit as good as Doll House. Pam Grier and Sid Haig team up again, this time as revolutionaries who plan to free prisoners from the jungle prison from the outside in. This entry has the highest dose of comedy of the three and it works. Haig impersonating a gay man for much of the 2nd half of the film is hilarious and Grier is a total bad ass. The rest of the cast, including Anitra Ford who was one of the first models for The Price Is Right, is on point. Bird Cage may be the best WIP flick I've seen, just edging out Doll House. This is great stuff.
Anybody with the slightest interest in exploitation fare should get a copy of this. The Blu-Ray looks fantastic and the movies are great fun even at their lowest point. Plus who doesn't like seeing attractive ladies run around in little to no clothing and fighting? Nobody.