*** Out of 5
Tagline- Terrified, Tortured and Humiliated!
Release Date- December 21st, 1991
Running Time- 87-Minutes
Writer/Director- Leandro Lucchetti
Starring- Pilar Orive, Isabel Libossart, Elena Wiedermann, Christian Lorenz, Ronald Russo, Aldo Sambrell
Caged Women, which also goes under the title Caged Women in Purgatory is a seldom seen WIP film that apparently was released in certain places in 1991 and other places in 1992. The film received a DVD release by Full Moon Pictures in 2013 under their Grindhouse Collection label. The WIP film dates back to as early as the 1930s, but its the 70s that these gained in popularity thanks to the Roger Corman productions such as Women in Cages, the Big Doll House and the Big Bird Cage and than a slew of these films were produced with most upping the sexuality and violence. While the Roger Corman productions were the ones that kickstarted these films it was however Jess Franco in 1969 with 99 Women that introduced the formula for the WIP film, but the Roger Corman productions are the ones that get all the credit and rightfully so since even if 99 Women started the formula it was the Corman productions that mastered them. The WIP film had its following in the 70s, but by the 80s it was a dying genre despite the best intentions of a few filmmakers, but by around the mid 80s the market for these films were pretty much dead and while there’s always someone trying to squeeze out that last penny, the films for the most part made zero impact. Caged Women with a 1991 release was a very late entry in the WIP film and I wonder why anyone thought it would be a good idea since these films were now a thing of the past. The title itself Caged Women has also been used a couple of times and this film kinda faded into oblivion and even with the Full Moon release its still a film that is barley known outside of the hardcore fans of cult cinema and I’d bet even a number of them aren’t even aware of this film.
The WIP film is sort of like the slasher film in regards to they have a very simple formula and the ones that were most successful are the ones that stayed true to the formula. However there comes a point to where it becomes a tired act and over the years the slasher film finds way to reinvent itself even if it more or less relies on the very same formula of eras past, but I don’t foresee the WIP film ever making a comeback. Caged Women very much stays in line with the formula for success as it takes aspects from the Corman productions and even reminds in spots of Jess Franco’s Sadomania. Caged Women never really attempts to form its own identity and the problem here is it suffers from already being done a number of times and done better at that. Every cliche you can think of for these films is on full display and it does hinder the film to some degree, but that’s also what helps make the film enjoyable if that makes any sense. Some of the reviews I’ve read by the few that have seen Caged Women hail it as one of the best of the WIP film. I’ve noticed a lot of films that are rare and seldom seen often have reviews hailing them as one of the best and in the case of Caged Women it is a fun film, but in no way would I say it’s one of the best. Perhaps if the film was made in the 70s or very early 80s maybe I could agree to some extent, but all Caged Women does is take elements of many other films. However with that said I would rate it as one of the better late day WIP films, but in no way would I say this is on par with the Corman productions or even some of the Jess Franco films.
Janet Cooper (Orive) an American in South America is framed and put into a prison in the jungle run by the cruel Captain Juan (Sambrell) where the prisoners are used as sex slaves and forced to take part in a deadly game called the hunt.
Caged Women was written and directed by Leandro Lucchetti who only made one more film after this and the only film he made that has any kind of following is Bloody Psycho, which had involvement from Lucio Fulci and some of the gore scenes from Bloody Psycho were reused in Fulci’s last excellent film Cat in the Brain, which is most likely how Bloody Psycho gained a small following. The script by Lucchetti is your basic one for this type. I don’t think anyone goes into these films for strong writing and that’s a good thing here. The script is made up of other films and the script just serves as a stop gap until we get into the sleaze. Characters are basically ripped from other films and all lack any depth, but in a film like this it really isn’t an issue. However I liked Janet as she’s a fighter all the way through and never gives up. While a little more could have been done with the characters the script serves its purpose when all is said and done. As director Leandro Lucchetti crafts a fun sleaze filled film. Under the 10-mark, Janet decides to give herself a sponge bath than after she’s done she dumps the water on herself. Under the 15-mark is the first sex scene, which at first starts off with a lot of rolling around and moaning before we get into the good stuff. By the way this is all before Janet is sent to prison. However oddly enough it’s once we get to the prison is when the pace can be a little sluggish in spots. As I mentioned Caged Women is your basic WIP film and never attempts to try and mix things up as a few scenes remind me of Sadomania and the Big Bird Cage and a whole slew of other WIP films. Even though the formula for these films were tiresome Leandro Lucchetti still delivers what fans of these films want. The highlight of the 2nd half is when Janet and Louise (Libossart) are thirsty and locked in a cage together and begin to lick the sweat off each others body!
Caged Women despite being very late to the party is still an enjoyable piece of trash cinema. Fans of the WIP film and or exploitation films in general will no doubt find plenty to enjoy here. Pilar Orive is simply gorgeous and that in part helps elevate the film. As mentioned Caged Women is a seldom seen film and the few reviews are all praising, but I can’t help but that stems from how underground the film is. It’s a solid entry in the WIP film and the best of the later days WIP films, but when compared to the Corman productions, Jess Franco and even Oswaldo de Oliveira, Caged Women just doesn’t measure up. However with that said its still a fun sleaze film and for fans of trash cinema Caged Women comes highly recommended.