Saturday, 14 January 2012

I watch movies so you don't have to #9 - The Naked Cage (1986) - contains spoilers and a bit of nudity

The Naked Cage (1986)
Directed by: Paul Nicholas
Starring: Shari Shattuck, Christina Whitaker

With a title like The Naked Cage comes very high expectations, but I must say I wasn't disappointed. This movie is awesome! One of my favourite Cannon Productions so far.

It has everything you'd expect from a Women-in-Prison movie. An evil warden and an equally evil guard. And a nice guard. The obligatory shower scenes. Loads of fights! And a RIOT!

We start off on an empty stretch of road, where some cool lady in red cowboy shoes and funky shades is trying to hitch a ride.

In that outfit she doesn't have to look for long.

Willy pulls up in a red sports car.

Rita gets in.

Time to introduce Michelle, a very well brought-up young woman. She's arriving at her parents house for the weekend, to hang out with them and her beloved horse. They are really pushing the goody-two-shoes qualities of this girl to the max.

Rita and Willy head to a diner for some food. Working his smooth moves Willy invites her to stay at his place. "If you need a place to crash tonight, mi casa es su casa". Ohh...his language skills are obviously working a treat, cause Rita agrees.

A cop shows up and takes an interest in Willy's red sports car. He makes some enquiries. But, BAM! Rita knocks him out, grabs his gun and shoots the owner of the diner...all without even breaking a sweat.

Willy soon realises that you don't really mess with Rita. "Get the fucking money!" she screams and poor Willy isn't really in a situation to argue.

Well,'s a bit difficult to feel sorry for Willy. He's a bit of a dumb-ass.

Anyway, they make it to Willy's house, where we find out that Michelle is Willy's ex. It also turns out that Rita is an escaped convict.

Willy is a bit nervous about the whole wasn't really what he was expecting. Rita offers to calm him sprinkling some cocaine on her nipples.

"Time for a little treat for all your worrying"

"Willy, we're in this now...for richer or for poorer"

The next day Willy tries to patch things up with Michelle, but she's not interested. She offers to help him get a place in rehab, but she doesn't want him to screw up her life anymore.'s back to Rita and together they cook up a plan.

Bank robbery!

And not just any bank. Oh no...they pick the bank where Michelle works.

There's a big shoot-out...and eventually they have to take Michelle hostage.

With shitloads of cops on the way, they make an attempt to get away.

But, amidst all the shooting and chaos, they crash the car.

Willy's dead and with his links to Michelle, it's all looking a bit suspicious. She's arrested!

It's prison time!

And immediately we're treated to some courtyard dancing!

Michelle is shown her bunk.

"Listen. You look like a nice kid. Don't mess with the warden. Whatever, she wants...just give it to her"'s one of those prisons. If my experience in this genre has taught me anything, that warden is going to want some love. Michelle quickly finds out how things work in the prison. Sheila is the big cheese amongst the inmates, the one you pay money to if you want protection. There's also a clear division between the black and the white inmates.

She makes friends with Amy, a former junkie/prostitute, who's trying to stay clean.

Later that night in the hospital wing, a young black inmate (Ruby) is smoking some weed. She's taken by surprise by evil guard Smiley, who rapes her.

Michelle has her first meeting with the warden.

"They call this place The Cage. The guards...the zookeepers and you are the animals. As long as you stay loyal to me I'll protect you and you'll have certain privileges."

Their little chat is interrupted by some news from the hospital wing. Ruby has hung herself...well, it looks like suicide anyway.

We know better, though. And so does the warden...she knows Smiley is involved.

"This is the last time I save your ass"

"Come on, what's all the fuss about?"

"Get your hands off the girls!"

"What about you, warden?"

"Take off your stupid glasses, Smiley!"

Oooh...the drama.

Tensions are mounting. Brenda, the leader of the black inmates, wants to have a word with Amy. She knows Amy had been dealing drugs to Ruby and she is pissed off. "You let her down when she needed it the most".

There's a big fight and Michelle decides to intervene.

She's not that used to fighting, so she hits the floor pretty quickly.

Luckily, the warden comes to the rescue.


"Next shot fired won't be in the air!"

Michelle is sent to the hospital wing and the warden makes a visit.

"I told you they were animals"

The warden tries to get Michelle to be a snitch, but Michelle isn't having it.

Later on, the black girls apologises to Michelle.

Then, in the dining hall, she's just minding her own business, when...


Rita's back!!

...and she's pissed off!

Luckily, Sheila is having none of it.

"I said I'm in charge here or do I have to beat that into your dumb skull?"

But Rita is not gonna let it go that easy.

"You better keep your ass out of dark corners, baby!"

Poor Michelle. That night she has a nightmare, where Rita attacks her in the shower.

Next day, the warden tries again to get Michelle to be a prison snitch.

"Look, I'm sorry, but I'm not gonna spy for you."

"Too bad. You lost your protection, girl."

Uh Oh! And the warden isn't wasting any time. She has a meeting with Rita, where she suggests they work together.

Rita challenges Sheila to a fight in the courtyard...

...and completely kicks her ass.

Rita is now the big cheese amongst the white inmates...and Michelle is next on her list.

But, she's sneaky and starts working on Amy first.

"When are you gonna learn? Once a junkie, always a junkie."

The warden wasn't kidding and Michelle is taken to the solitary cell for no apparent reason...and Smiley is given the keys to the cell. Eeek!

He takes Michelle by surprise when she's sleeping...

...but Michelle is becoming quite a tough cookie...

...and pretty much destroys him.

Rita has had enough of Amy's trying-to-stay-clean business. She and the girls attack her in the shower and injects her with heroin.

New guard Rhonda has a word with Michelle about what happened. Michelle tells her what she knows about the warden, Smiley and Rita.

And just like that...Amy is hooked again!

And suddenly, her friendship with Michelle means nothing. She just needs that next fix...and Rita's the one with the goods. "Kitten wants some catnip, huh? From now on you owe me!". Nooooooo...don't do it Amy!

In the laundry room, she tells Michelle about a great hiding spot in the basement.

Michelle goes down to have a look...

...but Rita's waiting for her with a big knife...

...just as she's about to stick it to Michelle, Amy has a moment of clarity and saves the day.

But poor Amy...she's pretty screwed. She has betrayed Michelle and pissed off Rita big time.

And sure doesn't take long. Later on when Amy's taking a shower, Rita shows up.

She puts some giant shards of glass in Amy's mouth and punches her in the face.


And like that...Amy is no more...

...and meanwhile, tension amongst the black inmates is starting to reach boiling point. They know about Smiley and Ruby and they're not happy.

Michelle finds Amy...

...and heads over to Rhonda. It turns out she's an undercover cop, there to investigate allegations of corruption and abuse....Michelle doesn't care...and forces her to hand over her gun.

And there it is...


The black inmates are out...and the first person on their list is Smiley!

The warden mobilises the armed guards...

There's not much Smiley can do...a gazillion against one. He gets what's coming to him.

Rita manages to steal Smiley's gun and she goes looking for Michelle.

They have one might fight in the basement, involving all sorts of extinguishers etc.

In the end, our girl Michelle wins...of course! That old kick-her-into-the-electricity-cupboard trick.

Awww....everything is just marvellous. Rhonda knows about all the bad stuff and Michelle is released. She can go home to her horse!

Wowzers...The Naked Cage is a total blast from start to finish. It's exciting...completely bonkers at times...and just really, really entertaining.

Director Paul Nicholas was no stranger to the WiP genre. His Chained Heat (starring Linda Blair) is another favourite of mine and definitely worth checking out as well.

Hmmm...what next...running out of prison movies. Suggestions are most welcome.

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