Caged Heat | Chicago Reader

Caged Heat

Rated R 83 minutes

Jonathan Demme's debut film (1974) is campy, choppy, and generally immature, though his bonding themes are fitfully discernible amid the cartoonish action. Erica Gavin (Vixen) leads a break from a women's prison presided over by sadistic Barbara Steele (Black Sunday). Almost every exploitation aficionado I know was ready to write Demme off after this one, though I suspect it looks better in retrospect—the seeds of Melvin and Howard are there, but they're deep underground. It's a New World Picture, complete with that studio's dumbfounding blend of feminist sentiment and gratuitous cheesecake. With Juanita Brown and Roberta Collins.

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