Bare Behind Bars is textbook exploitation trashola of the best possible kind and critics who revel in this kind of golden age grindhouse sleaze, the likes of which we’ll never see again, seem to agree…
“If you’re looking for a well-made (or even a good) film, look elsewhere. However, if you want to see a sleazy piece of trash that is guaranteed to make you slap your forehead in awe, then Bare Behind Bars is for you.” – FEAR OF THE DARK
“This is an entertainingly sordid, zany piece of exploitation film, and Arrow Video has done a sterling job on their upcoming UK release.” – BRUTAL AS HELL
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“It’s a great film, devoid of artistic merit and swimming in its own cesspool of wrongness.” – SEX GORE MUTANTS
As a genre, Women-in-Prison (WIP) movies aren’t held in the highest regard. It’s not hard to see why. Whereas a horror movie or a western can be violent and graphic and still be held up as a work of art, the chicks in chain flick was generally shot for a specific niche audience who got their kicks out of cheap tickets, cheap thrills and even cheaper sets.
Most movies in the genre are low rent and low class, which is precisely why they still have the power to shock and amaze today. BEHIND BEHIND BARS fits the bill perfectly. It’s heady rush through all the cliches of the all girl penitentiary movie; The bull dyke guards, the gratuitous shower scenes, beating and whippings and enforced prositution rings. There are hard assed lifers and nervous naifs and of course, an undercover investigator.
BARE BEHIND BARS, as the name implies, isn’t as bleak as the Prisoner Scorpion films or as downright nasty as the ISLA pictures (or other movies in the Nazisploitation sub-genre that goes hand-in-hand with WIP flicks). It’s got a lot of unintentional humour and also a smattering of the intentional kind that will cause smirks for the wrong reasons. None of this means it’s not an entertaining watch. On the contrary, the hysteria-pitch acting, two dimensional characters, incessant and overwhelmingly unnecessary sex and nudity… All these things are what a contempory audience would have looked for in a down and dirty, sleazy grindhouse movie as they settled down into a slashed seat and tried to avoid eye contact with anyone else and it’s kind of the reason why these films endure.
There’s a lot to be said for counting the number of times you have to lift your jaw off the floor during the running time of a really good trashy movie. There’s that spark where you wonder who the original target audience were and how such a demented work was ever conceived in the first place. These are the movie moments I live for, those special times when you question the sanity of the director.
To celebrate the upcoming release of BARE BEHIND BARS, I’ve put together a Women-in-Prison movie primer. Needless to say, it’s not for the fainthearted, but if you’ve read this far I doubt you’ll be offended but just in case… The following is for grown-ups only.