Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Women in Cell Block 7 (1974)
IVE Home Video | Review by Dan Taylor

Women in Cell Block 7The 1974 flick WOMEN IN CELL BLOCK 7 comes to us courtesy of 'Sybil Danning's Adventure Video'. Now, I just want to get something off my chest about ol' Sybil. (Sorry, no pun intended.) I want to know who the hell she thinks she's kidding. She's getting a bit long in the tooth, and that turkey neck is startin' to bother me. But that's nothing compared to the incredibly unfunny intro that I had to suffer through before the flick started. Luckily, this painful (yet thankfully brief) intro did nothing to detract from the excellent Women in Prison flick which soon bathed my face in the warm glow of true exploitation... or was that the effect of my 11th Natty Boh and too many Cheese Crisps?

Yes, for as lame as GIRLS RIOT turned out to be, WOMEN IN CELL BLOCK 7 proved to be the perfect follow-up flick. I guess that's the difference between girls and women... the older they get, the more they deliver "the goods."

The flick opens in true-Italiano fashion as a narrator explains in two minutes what would have taken twenty minutes to act out. In essence, the Italian mob double-crosses the New York mob, and is able to get the whole thing blamed on INTERPOL. When the double-crosser is killed, the drugs he stole disappear and the mob pins the blame on his superior in "The Family"... who is actually an INTERPOL double-agent! The police, however, know he doesn't have the drugs, so they toss the double-crosser's girlfriend into a women's prison, hoping that the cavity searches and lesbo advances will help jog her somewhat "cloudy" memory! And, they put the double-agent's daughter (also an INTERPOL agent) into the prison to get close to the babe. WHEW!

CATFIGHT #1 occurs 54 minutes into the flick and lasts for about a minute. However, unlike alot of catfights and some professional boxing matches, this one has no "feeling out" period and one slap gets the two combatants into some serious clothes-ripping, hair-grabbing and panty-pulling! Credit must be given to the fight scene's cameraman, who takes great pains (and risks personal injury) to put YOU IN THE ACTION with some incredibly gritty and gutsy camerawork!

CATFIGHT #2 takes place about 16 minutes later and only lasts for less than one minute. However, the inmates do give a few tips on "How to Use Furniture and Well-Placed Kicks to Gain the Upper Hand." Who knows, this may prove to be invaluable information in years to come.

While WOMEN IN CELL BLOCK 7 is an extremely entertaining and pretty well-done exercise in WIP cinema, there is one major drawback. Namely, the first word in the title is "Women," therefore, the filmmakers should have spent MUCH LESS time lurching back and forth between the women's prison and the INTERPOL double-agent who has been kidnapped by a faction of his mob "family."

While these mob scenes are definitely fun, they aren't able to take them far enough, because the WIP scenes are what the movie is built around. And boy, there are some pretty good scenes. They include: several lesbian sequences with lush romantic scores which help take your mind off any unncessary plot; great scenes in the courtyard of the prison where the rival cliques get together to bitch, flirt and make deals; cavity searches; a "visit to the doc"; protesting Italian inmates being hosed down by the guards; and dialogue like "Tell that bitch she owes me a pile of dope. And I better get it, or I'll cut her tits off."

WOMEN IN CELL BLOCK 7 receives an enthusiastic endorsement for its overall mood and execution and decent catfights.


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