Chained Heat (1983)

Paul Nicholas

Linda Blair - Carol
John Vernon - Warden Backman
Sybil Danning - Ericka
Tamara Dobson - Dutchess
Stella Stevens - Captain Taylor
Sharon Hughes - Val
Henry Silva - Lester

Genre - Sexploitation/Women In Prison

Running Time - 95 Minutes

Score - 3 Howls Outta 4

There are a lot of things I want to do in my life. Going to prison is not one of them. I refuse to end up behind bars, bent over for my bigger and meaner cellmate [we'll call the bastard Jerome] while he has his way with me just to brand me his bitch. Nah, my ass is exit only. Sorry to all my male admirers out there, but this Wolf ain't droppin' the soap for NOBODY.

Hell, I wouldn't even want to be involved with the much more dangerous women's prison. While the idea of being a security guard forcing the law upon these ladies may sound alluring to some. But women in jail don't play and they'll punch, kick, pull hair, and most likely kill you if you even look at them the wrong way. CHAINED HEAT is a good example of female convicts who don't play.

Rape them? You're dead.

Snitch on them to a higher authority? You're dead.

Mess with a chick who was once possessed by Satan? You're REALLY dead.

Probably the most famous of Women In Prison films, CHAINED HEAT brings together violence, race issues, humor, and especially nudity show that Hell hath no fury like caged women scorned.

Carol (Linda Blair) is sentenced to 18 months in a correctional facility for running someone down with her car. She calls it an accident, but after throwing up pea soup and having your head spin 360 degrees, I wouldn't be too sure about the lack of intent with the crime. Anyway, Carol is a scared young lady who has trouble adjusting to the ways of this female prison. Although she's befriended by a regular named Val (Sharon Hughes) who's willing to protect her, Carol is traumatized by her new surroundings.

And why wouldn't she be? Drug dealing is rampant. The inmates are used as prostitutes by the evil Lester (Henry Silva). The Warden (John Vernon) brings girls up to his office, seducing them in his hot tub while video taping their every move before, during, and after the act. And there's a race battle between the blacks led by Dutchess (Tamara Dobson), and the whites led by Ericka (Sybil Danning), who has a sexual interest in the innocent Carol. But once the politics of the corrupt prison interfere with their accomodations, Carol and the ladies decide that mutiny is in order. I hope the power of Christ compels these prison officials because the last time Carol was upset, the Gates of Hell were wide open. Hide the crucifixes!!

is probably the widest known of all the Women In Prison films that have ever been released. I mean, it has Linda Blair of THE EXORCIST fame naked for the first time on film. This was a big deal back in 1983. Other than that, the film isn't really "quality" and not recommended viewing for everyone. But hell - it's entertaining as fuck even with the predictability and cliched factors involved!

CHAINED HEAT [and WIP films in general] aren't known for their intelligent and well-written screenplays. They're pretty much all the same in terms of plot device. You have the innocent young woman who's put in a horrible setting and situation. You have the corrupt warden who enjoys preying on these girls. Add some evil prison guards, lesbianism and nudity, and a couple of catfights [preferably naked] and you have a WIP film. CHAINED HEAT has all of these motifs and uses them as well as one of these films could. And while the narrative is straight-forward, I think the creators of CHAINED HEAT were trying for something more ambitious here in terms of story. I mean, how many subplots does this film have? Race issues? Prostitution rings? Pornography blackmail? Killings and a mystery based on these murders? There's a whole lot of crap going on in this flick. Hell, it has to have something for everyone, right? Honestly, I could have lived without some of these things because sometimes less is more. When certain things happen and are just dropped five minutes later without any follow through, they shouldn't have been put in the film to begin with. But at least the massive amount of subplots don't effect the narrative all that much and the story actually engages you into wanting to know how things will play out.

Even the characters for the most part are developed decently. You get a sense of who these people are through their wildly cheesy dialogue and their actions. Sometimes we like to know the backstories of characters, but CHAINED HEAT never made me want to know more than what I was watching. Sure, I would have liked to see the transformation of scared girl to tough bitch a bit more detailed in Carol because it happens way to suddenly for me. Plus, what was the deal with that Bubbles character? To annoy me? Yeah, that had to be it. I wasn't expecting Oscar-caliber material here and my expectations were pretty much met. So I can't complain too much.

The film is pretty edgy for 1983 standards, although modern audiences would probably just shrug most of the sex, language, and violence these days. We get our hints of lesbianism, rape scenes, and gritty murder scenes [I love the bathroom one with the hook - ouch!] that made me glad I stopped writing to that really large female prisoner [a.k.a. my ex-girlfriend/pen pal] years ago. And they're never over-the-top in some of these flicks and more grounded in reality, which I appreciated. I wasn't disturbed by this film, but I didn't laugh at everything I saw either.

Paul Nicholas creates a fine looking film here. It's pretty much a point and shoot affair, but the editing is very good and the pacing is excellent. The film felt a lot shorter than it actually was. The film looks gritty, which gave CHAINED HEAT a ton of atmosphere and mood. And some of the murder sequences had tension. And I can't knock anyone who can get Linda Blair and Sybil Danning nekkid, so kudos to Mr. Nicholas!

The acting is pretty uneven in this flick. Linda Blair plays a great victim as usual but there were times where her suffering didn't seem to come through as strong as it should have. John Vernon, of ANIMAL HOUSE fame, was great as the corrupt Warden who had some hot chicks in his tub. He played the "nice guy" routine just as well as he played the "horny prick" thing. Sybil Danning got naked and acted tough, which was enough for me. She's perfect for this kind of movie. The real star for me was Tamara Dobson, of CLEOPATRA JONES fame. She was convincingly tough, fearless, and commanding throughout the film. Her presence outshone everyone around her. For a cheesy flick, she took it all seriously and I belived her. But then again - if anyone is watching for the acting, they seriously have issues.


- There's a chick in the prison named Bubbles. And just like her virginity, it only takes one prick to make her pop.

- There were three women arguing over which soap was better: General Hospital, All My Children, or The Young and the Restless. As far as I'm concerned, like the sands of the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives. Oh that Sami Brady...

- Don't ever be a rat in a women's prison. Remember: snitches get stitches - or death - whichever comes first.

- Sybil Danning and Linda Blair share a kiss on the lips, among doing other things. Maybe it's just me, but I have the urge to masturbate with a crucifix while being part of a weird threesome with two werewolves. I have no idea why...

- There was a nice scene of inmates frolicking in the showers. And from what I can tell, they were all Republicans. I mean they were obviously promoting Bush...

- Linda Blair got her ass kicked for doing the right thing. It still wasn't as painful as THE HERETIC: EXORCIST II. Whoever made that deserves jail time!

- Sybil Danning had a knife fight with Tamara Dobson. I hardly call this fair. Black people use guns, not knives. The ignorance of some people!

- Carol was given a blue dress by some pervert. He better hope it's not that time of the month. That pea soup vomit ruins the mood everytime!

- Val died due to a nightstick being forced in her face. If that's the case, she obviously went to prison for being bad at giving head.

It's not a masterpiece but I can do much worse than spend over 90 minutes watching CHAINED HEAT. It has naked chicks. It has catfights. It has a clear separation of good and evil. It has naked chicks. Sometimes that's all you want in a film late at night, sitting all alone with a bottle of hand lotion and a box of tissues right nearby. Sigh...


  1. the sneering (homo-phobic) snobMay 24, 2009 at 7:40 PM

    Its scary to think that when this film was made linda blair was 24 and there-fore (strickly speaking) already 6 years past the peak of her physical attractiveness and desirability, i would have loved to have buggered her senseless when she was 18, but i would have still buggered her at 24 as well of course, actually i wouldn`t mind buggering her now even though she`s 50 and there-fore 32 years past the peak of her physical attractiveness and desirability.


  3. I've been meaning to see this classy little flick. You've just helped it move up a few spots in my queue.


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