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Welcome To The Grindhouse: CAGED FURY (1990)

Welcome To The Grindhouse: CAGED FURY (1990)

That picture should indicate whether or not you're going to enjoy this movie. Erik Estrada, Frank Poncherello himself, is the "star power" draw in Caged Fury, though you do also get James Hong (Tango & Cash, Wayne's World 2) Michael Parks (Kill Bill I & II, Red State) and The Zeros! 

After perhaps the greatest opening scene in cinema history - lingerie prison, Mac's dad from It's Always Sunny, and a throat slitting - we're thrust into what looks like a completely different movie, where farm girl Kat has decided to make the big move to L.A. Just like Axl Rose! She arrives with hitchhiker/new best friend Rhonda and meets Rhonda's skeevy photog (kind of?) boyfriend Buck, who immediately tells Kat she has a casting call the next day. Everything's coming up Milhouse!

WAIT A MINUTE.

Ponch and his improbably-coiffed karate master partner Dirk Ramsey (Richard Barathy, creator of American Combat Karate) find Kat in trouble with an entire biker gang outside the seedy club The Zeros are playing, and systematically dispatch them all in about a hundred seconds. (Skip to the 18:50 mark for the second greatest scene in cinema history.) Dirk doesn't even get any bloodstains on his aqua muscle shirt!  

 Pictured: Dirk Ramsey not fucking around.

Pictured: Dirk Ramsey not fucking around.

But hey, where's that heat? Oh yeah, at that sweet audition Buck promised the girls...well, things went a little south. Kat and Rhonda are arrested for propositioning the agency boss (???) and swiftly sentenced to a term at Honeywell (of course) State Prison. The head guard then tells Kat she has to tell her father she's out of the country for an acting gig! Curiouser and curiouser. Head warden Sybil Thorn spends a lot of time on her BDSM routine. Turns out - spolier alert! - Honeywell is actually an incubator for hot young things to turn into sex slaves...I think? It's never really made clear who's running the show, or how the LAPD and southern California court system are heavily involved with sex trafficking - to the point where they have an entire prison full of women - but nobody knows about it.

Several sexual assaults, gratuitous nude scenes and fight sequences (and Ron Jeremy!) later, Victor (Estrada) and Dirk team up with Kat's sister to track down the missing girls. It's really a classic American coming-of-age tale. And if we're being honest, it's way more entertaining than Dances With Wolves, which managed to win the Best Picture Oscar that year. Caged Fury wasn't even nominated!

 Best Supporting Actor: Spyder the fake prison guard

Best Supporting Actor: Spyder the fake prison guard

"Women in prison" movies have been around a lot longer than one would think; Caged (1950), Women's Prison (1955) and The Big Doll House (1971) gave way to a slew of even more cheap exploitation films, some of which - Caged Heat, Chained Heat, Women's Prison Massacre - have become semi-cult classics. Diminishing returns, maybe, but they're never dull and provide plenty of laughs (intentional or otherwise). Plus most of them, like Caged Fury here, can be found for free on YouTube. So go and find your own new favorite; binge-watching House Of Cards can wait.

Dog Tag Brewing - Now in CT!

Dog Tag Brewing - Now in CT!

PHANTASM 3 & PHANTASM 4: Revisited

PHANTASM 3 & PHANTASM 4: Revisited