BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Caged Heat/Jackson County Jail (1974, 1976) - Blu-ray Review

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Caged Heat/Jackson County Jail

Shout Factory is back at it with their HUGE collection of Roger Corman titles and, while these limited releases are only available through their store (www.shoutfactory.com), the titles are definitely worth owning, making these releases a lot like crate-digging for jazz records.  Fans obsess about them and for good reason.  The latest release, limited to just 1000 copies, is a two-fer that sees Caged Heat back in action, but it’s joined with 1976’s Jackson County Jail, starring Yvette Mimieux, Tommy Lee Jones, and Robert Carradine.

"the titles are definitely worth owning, making these releases a lot like crate-digging for jazz records"


 

The fun begins with a trip back in time to 1974 and Caged Heat's women’s prison, USA!  Rape! Riots! Revenge! And bullet holes ripping through everything . . . including the tight clothing on the fine-ass women who adorn the poster.  And that’s just the poster for this exploitation classic.  

And, DAMN, does this flick and it’s knockout cast - Juanita Brown, Roberta Collins (Eaten Alive), Erica Gavin (Vixen), Ella Reid, Rainbeaux Smith, and Barbara Steele as a crazy prison warden -  ever deliver the goods, the flesh, and then some.

The directorial debut of Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme (Philadelphia, Silence of the Lambs) - who both writes and directs this cult classic - is so blissfully wild and spot-on with its insane characters and its black humor that it’s no wonder Caged Heat! STILL gets people flocking to the crazed cinematic world of Roger Corman.  

Cell Block 11 is the hottest and the wildest place in Connorville Correctional Center as Demme, under the instructions of Corman, gives audiences a grown-up version of the “women-in-prison" genre of exploitation flicks, loading the script with an ample amount of satire while still packing in social issues of feminism and politics.  

And he does it pretty sneakily, making this movie far more interesting, funny, and downright watchable than any other women-in-prison movie out there.  And that’s a damn fact.

But things are just as tight in Jackson County Jail, directed by Michael Miller and written by Donald E. Stewart (who would go on to work on the scripts for Missing, The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, and A Clear and Present Danger).  Corman gets his hands dirty with an action-thriller from a female’s point of view - something that was a bit different for audiences considering the time period.  The change in viewpoint worked and the film would go on to be one of his most financially successful films as both audiences and critics loved it.Caged Heat/Jackson County Jail

In the movie, Dinah Hunter (Mimieux) gets sick of her loser boyfriend and decides to get her life back in New York City, so she ditches him and quits her job in Los Angeles as an advertising executive and hits the road.  Unfortunately, she is robbed by Bobby Ray (Robert Carradine) and his pregnant girlfriend Lola (Nancy Lee Noble) and, through a series of unfortunate events, winds up in jail next to a drifter, Blake (Tommy Lee Jones).

But her woes are only beginning as she is brutally attacked and raped by a deputy whom she kills in response to his attack.  With her life on the line, she grabs his keys and busts herself and Blake out of jail and the two of them hit the road.  But it’s not going to be a smooth ride.  What follows is a chase film which involves the media, the police, and much more than they ever bargained for, including a parade, a scythe, and one hell of a solemn ending.

Thanks to some great steely-eyed moments of pure rage and frustration and some great performances from its cast, this drive-in film - sold to audiences as based on a true story (but it isn’t) - continues to influence viewers with its “who will protect us from the cops” swagger.

Both films are now on blu-ray thanks to Shout! Factory.  But act fast because copies are limited.

5/5 beers

Caged Heat/Jackson County Jail

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- July 28, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Thrown into the penal hell of Connorville, petty criminal Jacqueline (Erica Gavin, Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls) must fight against the ruthless inmates, a cruel warden (Barbara Steele, Dark Shadows) and a depraved staff. Eventually she forms an uneasy friendship with two hardened inmates. When these three unite, they find themselves on a sexy and violent adventure seeking escape, money and revenge. Also starring Roberta Collins (Death Race 2000) and Rainbeaux Smith (Massacre At Central High), Caged Heat is written and directed by Jonathan Demme (The Silence Of The Lambs).

Advertising executive Dinah Hunter (Yvette Mimieux, The Time Machine) leaves a promising career in Los Angeles to start a new life in New York City. But her long cross-country drive becomes a nightmare after she picks up some hitchhikers and finds herself beaten up and stranded in a small town, then is thrown in the jailhouse on vagrancy charges. At the mercy of some bad cops, Dinah finds a way to escape with another prisoner (Tommy Lee Jones, Rolling Thunder). Now the two embark on a wild car chase from the police.  The movie also stars Robert Carradine (Orca), Howard Hesseman (Billy Jack) and Mary Woronov (Death Race 2000)!

Video:

In a standard 1.85:1 aspect ratio, these two titles absolutely explode off the screen with new details thanks to the new 2K transfers.  Both films are dominated with reds and greens that absolutely burst with color.  These are cheap films, for sure, but the simple backgrounds burst with new details and a nice level of clarity.  Black levels are solid and skin tones are natural.  Shadows are defined and the film has a new depth previously unseen.  

Audio:

Audio wise, the DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono soundtrack is clear and the dialogue is never lost or hard to hear.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See Special Features for details on the movie.

Special Features:

This Double Feature release is worth the investment.  Just check out the details!

CAGED HEAT

  • NEW 2K Scan From The Original Camera Negative
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Jonathan Demme, Director Of Photography Tak Fujimoto, And Actress Erica Gavin
  • Leonard Maltin Interviews Roger Corman
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

JACKSON COUNTY JAIL

  • Audio Commentary With Director Michael Miller, Producer Jeff Begun, And Director Of Photography Bruce Logan
  • Leonard Maltin Interviews Roger Corman
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot
  • Radio Spots

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

Caged Heat/Jackson County Jail

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