While Orange is the New Black brought the female prison drama to the mainstream, it’s an area of interest which has proved popular across decades, for good and ill. Indeed, in the 1970s there were a raft of exploitation/sexploitation films centred around incarcerated females. These movies were usually ultra-violent with a ‘fuck you’ attitude; often involving an inexplicable lack of clothing. Caged Heat has all of these elements in spades.
After she’s caught red-handed, petty criminal Jacqueline Wilson (Erica Gavin) finds herself serving time in a tough jail. Surrounded by hardcore criminals, depraved staff and a sadistic warden (Barbara Steele), she must make an uneasy pact with other inmates in order to break out. When they finally escape, Wilson finds herself on the run with the unstable Maggie (Juanita Brown), leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
Caged Heat does exactly what it says on the tin. In many ways, it’s a prime example of this sub-genre. Jonathan Demme’s film is trashy and lurid, but while it contains all the usual elements present in exploitation films there’s a rich vein of humour and a rollercoaster pace which help make it so enjoyable. It won’t be for everyone but if you want to experience life on the edge, Caged Heat might be for you.
- 2K scan from the Original Camera Negative
- Commentary with writer/director Jonathan Demme, director of photography Tak Fujimoto and actress Erica Gavin
- Leonard Maltin Interviews Roger Corman
- Theatrical Trailer
- Still Gallery
Caged Heat is released on Blu-ray by 101 Films on 13 June.