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The Big Bird Cage
Women's Penitentiary II

USA/Philippines 1972
produced by
Cirio H.Santiago, Jane Schaffer, Roger Corman (executive) for New World
directed by Jack Hill
starring Pam Grier, Anitra Ford, Candice Roman, Teda Bracci, Rizza Fabia, Carol Speed, Sid Haig, Vic Diaz, Karen McKevic, Andres Centenera, Subas Herrero, Wendy Green
written by Jack Hill, music by William Allen Castleman, William Loose

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Terry (Anitra Ford), a high class bimbo who has slept with half the gouvernment, just wants to seduce her new date over dinner in a fancy restaurant, when she is taken by revolutionaries Django (sid Haig) & Blossom (Pam Grier). Not that she minds terribly much about that (Django: "I might wanna rape you !" Terry: "You can't, I like sex."), problem is though that she is eventually arrested as a revolutionary by the police (while Django & Blossom get away), & since sleeping herself through the gouvernment hasn't only made her friends, everybody seems rather keen to not even bring her case to a court but throw her in the most brutal women's prison there is ... a labour camp deep deep in the jungle hwere the (female) inmates work in the sugar plantations, & when they should try to rebel, the chief warden Zappa (Andres Centenera) has them work the big, wooden sugarmill, that somewhat resembles ... a bird cage (hence the title).

It doesn't seem too bad in the camp though since the worst problems the girls have (besides long working hours) is to get laid, which might be a bit difficult since all the guards, led by Rocco (Vic Diaz, nothing short of great in this one), are gay ...

But fear not, Terry, help is on the way, since Django's revolutionaries have figured they need more women for the revolution (!), but where to get them from ... ? Well, why not steal them from a women's penitentiary, so they can disguise it as storming the Bastille (please believe me, I have made none of this up). So they have Blossom arrested & thrown into Zappa's little prison, while Django disguises himself as homosexual looking for a job ... & wouldn't you know it, within minutes he is hired by Rocco.

Once inside teh pen, Django & Blossom - who has since taken up leadership of the convicts - prepare a convicts' uprising, & even though they are eventually betrayed by convict girl Lin (Rizza Fabia), their plans seem to be (at least at first) a phenomenal success, with Rocco being gangraped by a group of girls (!), everything going up in flames, & Zappa being smashed by his own sugarmill.

But once Django & the girls try to get away, one after the other have to leave their lives, including Django & Blossom, & in the end only Terry & another girl make it to the meeting-point with the revolutionaries (who for some reason didn't storm their Bastille after all, after having made plans to storm their Bastille) ...

 

The New World Women in Prison-movies starring Pam Grier (e.g. Big Doll House, Black Mama, White Mama), mostly filmed in the Philippines (like this one), were not really known for subtleties (or intelligent scripts for that matter), but they transmitted a certain raw, in-your-face sleaziness that made them somewhat likeable (if you are at all someone who might like such a thing) ... & while all this can also be said about this film, Big Bird Cage gives its material a tongue-in-cheek treatment that easily sets it apart from the rest, & gives it a certain freshness: The script never even tries to obscure the fact that it is all just about showing some violence & tits and ass, the story only makes sense when told as a joke, & the scenes between Sid Haig & Vic Diaz are just priceless. Not to be missed.

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD