Caged Hearts

Presenting absolutely the best naked shower catfight/rape I've seen
in any women in prison flick, featuring Flash Gordon and Watchmen star
Carrie Genzel.

You have the right to remain naked. And that's about all the rights you have,
in this prison.

Copyright 2008 by Pat Powers

Like a lot of women in prison films, the originality in the Caged Hearts does not lie in its plotting but in its handling of the traditional themes of women in prison movies, which Caged Hearts does brilliantly in some cases.

Which is another way of saying the plot of Caged Hearts is pretty much a carbon copy of the plots of Caged Fury and Time Served and who knows how many women in prison flicks: a cabal of powerful people (in this case, they even have a name: The Shield) has conspired to force prison inmates to have sex with guys outside prison.

Now before I go any further, I need to rant about this plotline because it's so fucking stupid I can barely watch the films for rolling my eyes.

Look, if you're rich and you want attractive young women to dance naked for you or have sex with you, do what sane people the world over do: OFFER THEM MONEY!!!

There's no need to force women to do these things, the glories of life in our capitalist society means that any rich person can get stunningly beautiful young women to suck his dick or let him fuck her in any hole under almost any fetishy conditions for what amounts to pocket change to a rich person.

The fact is that any attractive young woman who's not a college prospect is facing a life of trying to live on eight bucks an hour, which frankly means a very harsh, difficult lifestyle, and for the same $320 that they would get for a solid week of eight hour days flipping burgers or standing behind a sales counter, they'll happily spend an hour or three getting fucked in various ways, even if it's with someone they are not attracted to or are even mildly repulsed by.

(I am in no way endorsing this state of affairs. I think it stinks on ice. But I also think it's an accurate description of the way things are in our glorious capitalist society: the poor are made so desperate by their poverty that the rich can effortlessly prey on them, sexually and otherwise.)

You don't have to kidnap them, you don't have to beat them, you don't have to rape them. They will HAPPILY have sex with you, if you offer them enough money.

This GREATLY decreases your legal liability, and it also reduces your chances of being discovered to something close to nil, since the woman involved is committing a crime, too.

Whereas your average kidnapping, rape, torture, etc., victim has every incentive to report you and you will wind up penniless and experiencing the inmate lifestyle yourself if you are discovered. And if you are committing rape, torture and murder on the wholesale level typically portrayed in women in prison flicks, discovery is almost inevitably going to be swift.

OK, I've got that out of my system now. I know it's just a convention of women in prison flicks so the inmates can be subjected to all sorts of abuse that wouldn't occur otherwise. But after being presented with this notion of wholesale white slavery occurring in prison as a reasonable enterprise in film after film after film, you eventually have to say "This is so fucking retarded I can't believe it!" So I have.


Now about Caged Hearts. As soon as I saw the name of the lead actor on the credits, I knew we were in for something different in the way of a women in prison movie. That's because Tane McClure is a Skinamax actress, so my hopes immediately went up for nudity and naked sex -- and they were not disappointed.

I was also relieved to discover that this particular film is NOT eligible for inclusion in the dread no bondage zone. After Caged Fury and Time Served, I was starting to wonder if women in prison movies were completely bondage free for the most part.

As it is, women in prison flicks are a hell of a lot more bondage free than I would ever have imagined them to be.

Caged Hearts starts out with the usual pair of young hotties having a run-in with the law. Sharon (played by Tane McClure, and Kate, played by Carrie Genzel, are aerobics instructor out on the town, and some drunken lout starts pawing at them. When he starts beating on them, Kate pulls a gun. The lout grabs the gun and it goes off, and the bullets land in the lout.

Members of the Patriarchy ... er, no, that's the Republican Par ... wait, no, it's called The Shield, that's what it is, The Shield, sit around and conspire to convict defendants. And unfortunately for defendants Sharon and Kate, that's their lawyer on the right.

In short order the two are in court, represented by George Delvin, an idealistic young lawyer. Well, maybe not all that idealistic. Earlier we've seen George conspiring with the DA and Judge Winters to see that the gals are found guilty. Seems all three are members of "The Shield," a shadowy group devoted to getting criminal scum off the streets by fair means or foul, but under cover of legaliity. The Shield is clearly a fully accredited subsidiary of The Patriarchy

Sharon and Kate are subsequently found guilty and Judge Winters assigns them to the usual improbably stiff prison sentence.

Then it's off to Valley State Prison for the two of them. Tane McClure plays Sharon, a blonde hottie among the bustful .. er, busful ... of hotties who are delivered to Valley State, and Carrie Genzel plays Kate, her fellow aerobics instructor.

Handcuffs! What an unusual thing to see in a sexploitation women in prison film. That's Carrie Genzel in the cuffs as Kate, with Tane McClure as Sharon behind her..

And in a dramatic turnaround from the women in prison flicks we've seen lately, the prisoners are handcuffed. Geez, who'd have thunk of it? Prisoners ... handcuffed. It makes them LOOK like prisoners, too. Wow.

There's the usual disrobing at check-in, but the prisoners don't get new clothes -- here's where the creators of Caged Hearts really showed some smarts. The prisoners are herded, still naked, into a holding area, where they sit on a bench in full view of the staff and any passers-by outside the cell. They are ignored until a guard comes by to harangue them on the importance of disicipline and obedience and to physically intimidate them by physically assaulting one of them.

"What part of 'antidisestablishmententarianism' didn't you understand, missy?"

He's just a warm-up show for the female warden, who drops by to tell the inmates, "We teach obedience here."

Warden McBride. As you will note, she's fucking beautiful. As are MANY of the women in this movie. Most of them, to be exact. Good show!

The guard finishes off the lecture by saying that inmates are expected to "display obedience, discipline, and even submission" all the while with them sitting there looking naked amd miserable. Now, that's working the dominance and submission theme.

Then there's a mass naked stripped search as the prisoners are forced to open their mouths, extend their hands so their fingernails can be inspected ... but in a shocking display of carelessness, the filmmakers neglected to have a mass naked inspection of the prisoner's genitals. Jeebus, that would have been a great scene, as the creators of Captive Rage have already demonstrated.

"Oh, Pat Powers, we totally, like, bend over and worship you!" Really, that's what they're saying. I wouldn't make this stuff up.

Next, the naked inmates are fogged with DDT to delouse them, I suppose, then it's off to the showers for about the best shower scene I've seen, mainly because all these Skinamax actresses have really hot, sexy bods, something that is generally not true of most of the women who show up in women in prison shower scenes.

The T and A factor goes into overdrive in the shower scenes.

But wait, it gets even better. In a subsequent scene, we have a shower scene, with the same lovely Skinamax bods being showered, only on this occasion, several of the inmates are planning to rape Kate in the shower. The rape starts with a beating of a hot, wet, naked hottie (Kate) by other hot, wet naked hotties.

"Shall we dance?" The nekkid attack begins.

This is undoubtedly the best lesbian catfight scene among all women in prison flicks. Not only are the women fighting, they are all naked. And wet. And they all have Skinamax bods. And the fake fighting is several notches above that in other women in prison flicks. Instead of just scuffling around like most women in prison flack actresses, these actresses really mix it up, planting haymakers on one another and doing a great job of making it look as if they had really been hit, hurling their bodies about with abandon. You have to figure some of them were once stunt actresses ... or still are, on the side. It's not an unknown sideline for B-movie actresses.

Kate gives a good account of herself -- the butt collapsed in the corner is one of her assailants, now experiencing Deep Hurting, but that leaves her open for a haymaker from another rapist.

So we have wet, naked hotties wrestling and throwing haymakers and getting wet ... its absolutely the standard against which all other women in prison flick fight scenes must be measured. (And in most cases, found deeply, deeply wanting.)

And the bad girls work her over. (Kate's not gagged in this scene, it's just a trick of the lighting, more's the pity.)

I wish I could say the same about the lesbian rape scene that immediately follows the fight scene. The rape was what the fighting was all about. But there isn't very much to it, it's very much an anticlimax. We see Kate, having fought well and bravely, lying beaten and naked on the shower floor, unable to defend herself. We see her three naked attackers kneeling as they surround her, and then the scene cuts away to Kate being escorted back to her cell by a guard.

Kate collapses to the floor, beaten, as her opponents descend around her, probably not for reasons of "seeing if she's all right."

In short, except for the total nakedness of all concerned (which we'll admit is a might big "except") the lesbian rape scene was about as explicit as the lesbian rape scene in Time Served, which is to say, it's almost completely inferred.

This is as far as the shower rape scene goes. And thus Carrie Genzel, who has successfully moved into mainstream work over the years, becomes the second mainstream actress (besides Carla Gugino) to do a nude lesbian rape scene. Carrie currently is working in the TV series Flash Gordon and Under one Roof, and will be starring as Jackie Kennedy in the upcoming Watchmen movie.

This is a sad state of affairs considering that Caged Hearts has on its cast several Skinamax actresses, which means they're almost certainly experienced in doing lesbian sex scenes.

Given that both Time Served and Caged Hearts are sexploitation women in prison flicks that got right up to the lesbian rape scene and then balked at showing it, I'd guess there are some censorship issues here. But that doesn't make much sense, given later on Caged Hearts shows a couple of sex scenes that definitely involve unwilling partners, one of which involves rough sex as well, in full Skinamax treatment.

Well, maybe it's lesbian rape that's the problem here. Nope, Jaded had an extensive scene (of a character played by uber hottie Carla Gugino) in which she's assaulted by two lesbians, one of whom pins her arms down while the other mounts her. They even stuff-gag Gugino's character with one of their bikini bottoms, among other things. Rating of Jaded, R, just like the rating for Caged Hearts.

So I doubt the problem is censorship, but there's definitely something going on there somewhere.

(By the way, don't rush out and buy a copy of Jaded based on my description of this scene. It's set on a deserted beach at night, which means it was filmed in chairobscuro, which means it was very darkly lit.)

Pressuring the freshly-raped Kate for some lesbian sex, is a very bad idea, because Kate's pissed about being raped and she's more than a match for most individual inmates. Kate's new cellmate discovers this via haymaker. That's her bouncing off the cell wall.

Back in her cell, freshly-raped Kate is the target of lesbian advances by her new cellmate, who won't take "No" for an answer. This is very definitely the wrong thing to do, as Kate demonstrates by beating the living snot out of her. Kate gave a pretty good account of herself in the shower fight against three opponents, and her aggressively lesbian cellmate is no match for Kate. (This actually makes sense: remember, Kate was an aerobics teacher on the outside, which means she is very, very fit.)

Another nice touch -- the prison smocks the women wear throughout the prison are cut so short that the women can't bend over much without exposing their butts to all, as Kate demonstrates while sitting astride her new cellmate and pounding a few lessons about sexual harassment into her.

By the time the guards arrive, the fight consists of Kate, who's clearly taking her anger out over her earlier rape on her current attempted rapist, sitting atop said attempted rapist's chest and raining blows down on her prostrate form.

In the next scene, Warden McBride has Sharon and Kate before her, and is chewing them out for being such hardcore prison bitches and not letting people rape them and stuff. Bawling out Kate I understand, as she was really whaling away on her celmate when the guards arrived. But Sharon's presence is vaguely inexplicable. So far as I know, she did nothing violent or aggressive to anyone. It's a classic case of guilt by association, I guess.

So Warden McBride says she has to send the two of them to the Pit since they're so lawless and all, and off they go.

The Pit looks a lot like General Population only they bunk down dorm style (think Army barracks) and they are watched by armed guards wearing riot gear that looks suspiciously like football helmets fitted with a plastic faceguard.

The Pit has a boss bitch named Lisa (played by Trisha Berdot) who wastes no time in establishing her dominance by putting the lesbian movies on Sharon. Sharon isn't feeling all that lesbian, so Lisa shoves her fist into Sharon stomach and then strangles her a bit to express her disappointment at being so rejected.

Man, these hard-core prison bitches take rejection hard. Here, Lisa gives Sharon a bit of a strangling to express her disappointment at being rejected.

Lisa is such a dominating bitch that a lot of the other Pit residents are unhappy with her. Sharon and Kate hook up with a couple of other disaffected Pit babes, and in short order it's bedsheet party time for Lisa.

The bedsheet party involved Sharon distracting Lisa with a kiss while another inmate sneaked up behind her and wrapped a sheet over her head. Then everyone whaled away at Lisa while she was unable to see and defend herself.

It's bedsheet party time for Lisa, as the gals she has oppressed work her over while she's helpless.

This either kills or takes the wind out of Lisa's sails, I don't remember which and it's not important anyway because Lisa is no longer part of the plot. One of their new Pit friends then talks Sharon and Kate into making an escape attempt with her. Sharon and Kate haven't enjoyed all the beatings, rapes, nakedness and so forth of prison life, so they agree to it readily.

This turns out to be a very bad idea. The inmate shakes them in the dark as they attempt to sneak out of prison, and the next thing they know they are surrounded by armed prison gaurds. It was a set-up from the git-go.

The armed guards say they have a lesson for Sharon and Kate. One of the guards drags in another inmate by the hair and announce that she is a former resident of the Hotel portion of the prison who has misbehaved. So now they will make an example of her.

At these words, one of the guards whips out a pistol and puts a bullet through the back of the inmate's head, killing her instantly. After Sharon and Kate stop screaming in horror at what they've just seen, one of the guards asks them, "Why did you kill that inmate?"

A helpless, handcuffed prisoner is murdered in order to set Sharon and Kate up for her murder. And to show them what happens to uppity inmates.

Yes, it's still another set-up. Next comes the tort -- er, intensive interrogation -- portion of the the film, as Sharon and Kate are blindfolded and tied back to back in chairs with a rope wrapped loosely around their torsos several times. (Hey, at least it's bondage.) A guard periodically harangues them relentlessly.

Sharon and Kate are bound back to back and blindfolded. Perhaps their hands are cuffed as well. It's hard to tell, as the director has opted to use the technique of chairobscuro to heighten the drama, as often occurs in bondage scenes.

Actually, the tort -- er, intensive interrogation -- seems kind of pointless. Sharon and Kate were clearly terrified out of their wits at the casual shooting of the other inmate, apparently fully grasping what it implied about the guards' attitude about THEIR lives. The tortu -- er, intensive interrogation -- is really just gilding the lily here.

When the tortur -- intensive interrogators -- finally figure out that they've broken Sharon and Kate's wills and they'll do anything they're told to do, they present Sharon and Kate their fate: they are to be transferred to the Hotel section of the prison. (And you thought getting reservations at the beachside Hilton in the high season took some doing.)

The Hotel turns out ot be a bed and breakfast behind bars, filled with hot young inmates, though in this prison all the inmates are hot, so not so impressive as it might have been. Even the head guard of the Hotel is a woman so exotically beautiful that she makes Angelina Jolie look like a Nebraska farm boy.

Is there some sort of catch to life in the Hotel? Of course there is. The Hotel is a white slavery operation. Its occupants head out nightly to a mansion where they have sex with whomever wants to have sex with them, which is typically members of The Shield, a cabal of law enforcement types, lawyers and judges (and a full subsidiary of the Patriarchy) and their guests.

Residents of the Hotel sit around and chat and try not to think of whose shriveled old cock they'll be servicing tonight.

The Shield of course is the group responsible for Sharon and Kate's speedy trial and conviction.

Sharon and Kate aren't used to being whored out, they really WERE aerobics instructors. But they don't like being tortured and killed ... definitely not part of a healthy lifestyle ... so they do their best with the whole white slavery thing.

Unfortunately, Sharon's first "customer" likes rough sex, and she freaks out over being raped AND beaten on her first night out. This brings Warden McBride in (she's in on the plot, of course) to give them both a good chewing-out for not liking being raped and she orders them to get out there and get raped repeatedly and act like they like it.

Sharon's first "customer" (I put it in quotes because he's not paying anything of course) shakes her about violently, flips her over, pins her to the bed despite her struggles, takes her from the rear (not sure if it's anal, but it sure seem unpleasant) and leaves. For some reason this freaks her out. Unfortunately it's one of those lightning-fast jump cut editing pieces where you have to use the slo-mo to see what's going on. What a waste. If your intent is to show a woman being degraded as it typically is in sexploitation women in prison flicks, take you time about it, let the audience enjoy it. Own what you're doing, don't use editing tricks as a cheap cop-out. (Jaded did the same thing, plus chairobscuro, though it was more of Lifetime style "issues" flick.)

Well, we don't ever see either of them liking being raped, but we do see Sharon compliantly removing her clothes and lying naked on a bed in all her Skinamax-bod glory while a balding, overweight guy sits in a chair and undoes his necktie. So we know she's doing the whole whore thing.

Sharon finds out whose shriveled old cock she'll be servicing tonight.

Meanwhile Kate has an ironic "customer" during one of their evenings at the mansion. He's none other than George Denzel, the lawyer who set them up for their prison stay. This leads to an utterly predictable but utterly wonderful line for Kate.

"Well, you've fucked me one way, might as well fuck me the other way," she says with nasty irony.

"Might as well fuck me the other way as well."

Kate confers with her lawyer in an unusual venue.

But Denzel does not have sex with Kate. Seems his feet have been getting colder and colder about being a member of The Shield, the more he learns about what the Shield is up to. The Shield was introduced to Denzel as being all about getting criminal scumbags locked away, who might otherwise get off on one of those "technicalities" our legal system is so rife with. (I blame the Constituition -- so many laws protecting citizens from the government, but where are the laws protecting the government from the citizenry?)

Running a white slavery operation out of a prison seems inconsistent with the stated goals of the Shield so when Kate unloads on what the Shield has been up to in her prison, George's feet get ultra-cold, and the "escape" portion of the movie begins.

I won't tell you how the movie resolves itself, just that there's plenty of derring-do, break-ins, and yes, a prison riot that includes a strategic setting of a despicable guard on fire.

An extra-crispy correctional critter. This is what comes of letting inmates have nail polish remover.

Despite the presence of Skinamax stalwart Tane McClure, Caged Hearts is not a Skinamax women in prison flick. It's the real thing. Sex being portrayed as an unpleasant experience is a dead giveaway that it's not a Skinamax women in prison flick (like Bikini Chain Gang,)

Caged Hearts is not only a true women in prison flick, it's one of the best sexploitation women in prison flicks I've seen. I'd rank it right up there with Caged Fury and Caged Heat 3000. The nude lesbian shower catfight/rape alone is sheer women in prison flick genius. Hot, wet, naked women wrestling each other and THEN having sex ... it's so brilliant you have to figure that some Internet site is devoted to that alone.

Whaddya know ... already has a naked women wrestling and then having sex site, called Ultimate Surrender. You coulda knocked me over with a feather.

And, OK, the shower rape scene COULD have been a little ... make that a lot ... better. It was cut way too short. Instead of fading away just as the women's bodies surrounded Kate, the scene continues until only portions of Kates arms and legs are visible underneath her assailants. At first, we see her arms and legs struggling wildly beneath the naked, writhing bodies of her rapists. Then we see her struggles grow feebler and feebler until finally, she's just lying there, taking it, utterly beaten and used.

That would have been powerful, and it needn't have been explicit at all. All you'd see is the backsides and breasts of her attackers (shot from above so all the naughty bits are hidden) and her arms and legs writhing beneath them.

That said, if you wanted to do a clinic on women in prison flick fight scenes (and who doesn't, really?) then the scene from Caged Hearts would be the one to use as your example of everything done right. (For everything done wrong, how about the scene from Against Their Wills where Judith Light has her face bloodied but we never see how or why it happened?)

You combine the Caged Hearts shower fight scene and the Caged Hearts nude check-in and domination scene with the body cavity search scene from Caged Fury and you've got a great start on the perfect women in prison flick.

And their are two other fight scenes in Caged Hearts that are also great -- the girls really slug each other around and do a great job of looking like they've BEEN slugged, which is rare in women in prison flicks.

Caged Hearts' check-in scene also tops anything else I've seen in the genre. The image of the entire group standing together, naked and miserable, is the scene that's usually associated with Caged Hearts, and for good reason.

I couldn't help but notice how freakin' beautiful many of the actresses in this film are, facially as well as bootiliciously. Going clockwise from top left, we have an inmate, seen for only a minute or so; star Carrie Genzel; Warden McBride; the Hotel chief guard who makes Angelina Jolie look like a farmboy, also onscreen for only a minute or so; a guard in the Pit seen only for a few seconds; and an inmate being brutalized whle naked, seen for a minute or two while very naked. Tane McClure is not here because she overdid the collage lips, I'm afraid. Her body remains gorgeous however.

But it's not just the group nudity that makes the Caged Hearts check-in scene. It's the way the women are forced to sit naked on a bench in front of an office of clothed people, while being harangued and brutalized by a guard, and then getting harangued again by the female warden, that puts the Caged Hearts scene over the top. The dominance/submisison factor combined with the nudity just puts the scene over the top -- and in a good way.

Like most women in prison flicks, Caged Hearts doesn't hang together all that well. Once Sharon and Kate ahve been whored out at the mansion, a lot of the dramatic tension leaks out of the movie -- the worst, save mutilation or death, has already happened to them.

However, the creators of Caged Hearts do have the sense to wrap things up quickly after that. All the derring-do is done very quickly, so much so that it had me thinking, "deus ex machina." That's not flaw in this case, it's good plotting.

The ending is not as satisfying as Richie Barathy personally beating the entire staff of a woman's prison senseless with his bare hands in Caged Fury, but then, what could be? The ending of Caged Hearts is the next best thing: it's over with quickly and it does include a riot scene with a strategic setting fire to a despicable guard and guards and cons blazing away at each other with shotguns, which isn't bad at all.

A prison rioter. I'd venture to guess she's having a good time.

Caged Hearts is considered by some to be a cult film, or at least a film that OUGHT to have a cult, but I don't know why that wold be. True Caged Hearts has some brilliant set-piece scenes, and for that reason deserves to be counted among the best women in prison flicks. But women in prison flicks are a deeply flawed genre. They can never really deliver the full flavor of the very ripe cheese that is at the heart of women in prison flicks without becoming a species of porn.

Still, Caged Hearts is definitely worth a watch if you're in the mood for a women in prison flick, because it delivers the cheese as well as any women in prison flick can, and delivers it brilliantly in some instances.

"This is what gets you into the Hotel."

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