Caged Heat (1974)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Prison Film, Sexploitation  |   Run Time - 84 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Robert Firsching

The award-winning director of Silence of the Lambs began his career, as have many of today's hottest filmmakers, working for Roger Corman's New World Pictures. This film, produced by Demme's wife Evelyn Purcell, is one of the best of the tacky women's prison subgenre. Erica Gavin is sent up the river on a trumped-up charge, only to go through the usual degradations at the hands of her fellow prisoners and wheelchair-bound warden McQueen (cult queen Barbara Steele). Steele has a bizarre cabaret-style fantasy sequence that is the film's highlight, and there are enough catfights, molestations, and other indignities to keep fans happy. Well-paced and cleverly written, the film also looks good thanks to the work of award-winning cinematographer Tak Fujimoto.