99 Women / Der heiße Tod (1969)

5.0 out of 5

99 Women, a prison film that is, by proxy, a contribution to the liberalism against authoritarianism debate, has the word exploitation written right through as though it is a stick of cinematic seaside rock. However the film is still capable of making a serious point or two amongst the continuous display of unkempt and unruly lady-garden and the occasional, and somewhat genre mandatory, catfights.

Jess Franco's multinational co-production does have a certain perverse darkness as best illustrated when on-the-lam female prisoners evade the ranging hell hounds of the guards placed upon their scent only to find themselves chased through a jungle by escaped would-be rapists who were formally incarcerated in the men's prison upon the same island and are seeking their wicked non-consensual way.

The conclusion is cynical with both the defeat of hope and liberalism, presenting the notion that reform is a dead end fantasy of dreamers and the only language that can be spoken and understood is that of the lash.

Those with an aversion to hardcore inserts may be better advised to steer clear of an extended and unofficial French release. This version contains nuts and is gonna convince no one at all that the muscular young body engaged in bumping uglies is that of star Herbert Lom.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics