I love woman-in-prison flicks. Not because of all of the abundant nudity, lesbian sex, torture, or violence, but because of the other stuff, like…errr…the tender moments of female…um…bonding…and…uh….
Okay, fine, I like them because of all of the abundant nudity, lesbian sex, torture and violence, but there's nothing wrong with that (ask my shrink!).
Most of my favorite flicks in this genre are of the softcore variety; the kind you regularly see on late night cable, like The Big Doll House, Chained Heat, and the one with the chick from The Plasmatics molesting her fellow inmates with a billy club. These 70's drive-in staples are pretty harmless flicks that, while admittedly misogynistic, aren't much worse than your average Cheerleader Car Wash/All-Girl-Lifeguard Cookout/Lesbian Spa Vacation flicks that had raincoat clad men lined up at the multiplexes in the 80's. Of course, some of these films were a little more depraved than others (the Ilsa series comes to mind), but there isn't anything quite like Oswaldo de Oliveira's renowned nasty, Bare Behind Bars.
I'm not sure if Oliveira was under contract to showcase as much full-frontal nudity per minute as possible, but it sure as hell looks that way. This Brazilian spankfest features more boobs and bush than a year's worth of Hustler magazine, ample doses of softcore girl-on-girl groping, and even the occasional hardcore bit (including a hilarious liaison between a female prison guard and a pencil-thin delivery man). Tying it all together is a threadbare plot involving the evil prison staff's selling of inmates to an affluent clientele, an escape attempt, and lots of bizarre humor (most of it unintentional). The result is one of the most perverse, hilarious, and hugely entertaining oddities you're apt to see, and one that will surely please fans of the W.I.P. genre.
Blue Underground, never one to shy away from this sort of thing (has anyone seen Emanuelle in America ? Sheesh!), offer up Bare Behind Bars in an uncharacteristically barebones edition, featuring a theatrical trailer as its sole extra. The 16x9 transfer looks fantastic, with vibrant colors and minimal artifacting, but I found the Dolby mono soundtrack to be a bit on the distorted side coming through my surround sound setup, especially during the film's louder sequences (group showers/torture sessions). It's a minor gripe, though, and one that is easily remedied with a tweak of the volume control.
While not quite the X-rated bonanza that its cover art would suggest, Bare Behind Bars still lives up to its notorious reputation, and is an essential addition to any W.I.P. fan's collection.