Saturday, October 9, 2010
The Big Doll House
Dir: Jack Hill ( Foxy Brown, Coffy, Swinging Cheerleaders)
Starring: Pam Grier (Foxy Brown, Coffy, Jackie Brown) Sid Haig (Devil's Rejects, House of 1,000 Corpses)
The Big Doll House is the First in an unrelated series of W.I.P. (Women In Prison) films produced by Cult Icon Roger Corman between the years of 1971 and 1973.Big Doll House is your standard W.I.P. flick as much of the genre is pretty much the same film and scenarios repeated just with different characters and surroundings.This one takes place in a all womens maximum security prison in the Philippines. We start our story with Collier being processed and put into her cell , arrested for the murder of her husband for finding him in bed with their house boy.We then meet her cell mates which include, Alcott a blonde clean cut looking woman, Ferina and her pet cat, Bodine a feared political prisoner and girlfriend of a Spanish revolutionary, Harrad a young heroin junkie imprisoned for Infanticide , and Greer (Played by Pam Grier ) locked up for hustling and having a john involved in politics who liked to talk. From here we are treated to the typical W.I.P. standards such as shower scenes , girl fights and of course the wicked warden with a knack for torturing the woman in imaginative ways.One day Bodine receives a letter from her boyfriend that is snuck in by Henry (Sid Haig)and his partner Jeff whom visit the prison frequently to sell goods and food to the inmates and staff. Somehow The warden gets word that she received the letter and Bodine is punished by The warden Lucian by being stripped and whipped while a hooded figure known simply as the colonel watches in hopes of beating some info about her beau's planned Revolution out of her.Once Bodine is released back to her cell the girls plan a break out. Nothing really separates this film from any other W.I.P. movies other than for the genre it is somewhat well acted. There are some pretty inventive torture scenes in this one but as far as these flicks are concerned most of it is pretty tame by the genre standards. Of course the girls plan is undertaken and works to some extent but they hit some road bumps along the way due to Harrad's Heroin issues but they eventually succeed like in most of these films and we get a bloody gun fight climax to top things off. If you are one that enjoys W.I.P. films this is a must see just because it is one of the more popular ones of the genre but I still think Womens Prison Massacre is the best this niche has to offer and that film amps every staple of the W.I.P. scenarios to the extremest extent possible. This one is allot easier to stomach for someone just getting into exploitation cinema but nothing really sets it apart from the rest of the pack, except for the presence of Pam Grier in all of her glory. To me Pam was (and to a lesser extent nowadays still is) one of the most beautiful women to grace the silver screen and you will never find a better icon of exploitation cinema in my eyes than Ms. Grier.Fans of Pam should see this one just for the simple fact that she is in it and looking damn good and it doesn't hurt that her fellow cast mates are easy enough on the eyes as well. I obviously am not the only one who acknowledges her greatness as the director of this film must have seen something in her as well as he went on to cast her as the lead in some of his later works such as Foxy Brown and Coffy. So to sum it up The Big Doll House is just another W.I.P. flick like any other so take that for what you will, If you like the genre you will enjoy this film and if you are just getting into Exploitation this is a good starting point otherwise theres nothing much spectacular to make it a must see.
Judgement for the Movie in question is. 3 out of 5