Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chained Heat II (Lloyd Simandl, 1993)

A cynical person, or a warped one, depending on your point-of-view, might come to the conclusion that the sister who wasn't framed for drug possession in post-communist Czechoslovakia was just jealous over the fact that it was her sister and not her whose vaginal future was being fought over by a tall lesbian and a less tall, regular-size lesbian. You mean to tell me that the sister, the one not charged with trafficking in illegal substances and sent to the notorious Razik Prison, wasn't genuinely concerned about the welfare of her wrongfully accused sister? Is that what you're saying? Even though the actresses playing the sisters were severely lacking in the charisma department, I thought the one who was trying to bust out the one who was railroaded by the Czech justice system was totally sincere about her wanting to free her unjustly imprisoned sister. Anyone who thinks otherwise would have to be pretty sick in the head. Okay, I'll admit, I did, for a second there, think that the one sister was upset over the fact that she wasn't deemed hot enough to be convicted of drug smuggling on trumped-up charges by the proprietors of an underground sex slave racket. However, since that person doesn't work here anymore, I'm ready as I'll ever be to explore the hidden treasures that are sprinkled throughout Chained Heat II, a sleazy masterpiece masquerading as a pantie fetishist's disjointed dream. Do you enjoy films that employ competent acting and compelling story lines? You do? Well, I'm sorry, but you need to fuck off excuse yourself. What about Czech women who like to sit crossed-legged while wearing black silk stockings? Do they claw at your genitals in a pleasing manner? Judging by the intensity of your head nodding, I'll take that as one of them resounding yes thingies.

I know, I also said the film was, what did I say? oh yeah, "a pantie fetishist's disjointed dream." Yeah, don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you. It's just that "Czech women," especially one's who are in their mid-forties, "who like to sit cross-legged while wearing black silk stockings," is kind of my thing, and being that I'm mildly self-absorbed, that's the perversion my mind is currently focused on at the moment. Nevertheless, there's no doubt in my mind that director Lloyd Simandl has a thing for white panties. Sure, one of the producers, or maybe even the script writing guy, could have been the individual with the pantie obsession–I have no way knowing–but either way, someone involved in the making of this film is definitely a pantie fiend.

Oh, and please excuse the judgmental, somewhat accusatory temperament of my tone. When I watch a film, I tend to look at the screen (I find that it's the best way to see what's going on). And while I was looking at the screen that was showing Chained Heat II, I couldn't help but notice there were a lot scenes that featured young women slipping on white cotton panties.

The year is 1993, and Czechoslovakia is finally free. Ready to turn the page on a dark chapter in their history, the nation is looking forward to tomorrow. Whoa, hold on a minute. Just because one political system has been replaced with another, does not necessarily mean that all their problems will simply melt away. The prison industrial complex that terrorized its citizens for decades remains fully intact and isn't going anywhere. Shifting from housing mostly political prisoners (enemies of the state) to one's who are convicted of drug offenses that are, for the most part, completely bogus, the Razik correctional facility, a decaying remnant of a bygone era if I ever saw one, has somehow managed to flourish in the country's newfangled free market economy.

You know your penitentiary is doing well financially when its warden, Magda Kassar (Brigitte Nielsen), is seen wearing sharp power suits on a regular basis (no doubt purchased at a shop that caters to ladies who stand over six feet tall) and walking her pet cougar through the dungeon-like corridors of her hellish correctional facility. Actually, while the power suits are featured throughout the film (right up until the final scene, in fact), the cougar is only present during the opening credits. Either way, the sight of Brigitte, who is shot from the waist down (although there's no denying who owns those long, slender legs), marching around the prison grounds in black pumps with a cougar on a leash is quite the spectacle. The sound of a whip cracking, a cougar growling, and women screaming is an excellent way to open a women in prison flick, as it clearly tells me that writer-director Lloyd Simandl, the master of Czechsploitation, is fully committed to delivering the campy goods I so wantonly crave.

Since every women in prison film needs to have a "new fish," a character who is usually sent away for a crime she didn't commit, Chained Heat II, after Brigitte has finished walking her cougar, introduces us to Alex Morrsion (Kimberly Kates), an American traveling through Czechoslovakia. Just as she's about to greet her sister Suzanne (Kari Whitman) at the train station, police arrest Aelx for drug possession. You see, while she was taking a nap, two shady-looking passengers plant cocaine in her bag. Sentenced to ten years hard labour by a stern judge, Alex is sent to, you guessed it, the notorious Razik prison.

Ushered out of the back of a van with a bunch of other girls, Alex is met by the sound of barking dogs and male guards yelling instructions in Czech. After the jarring nature of her encounter with the dogs and the guards (who are all carrying submachine guns), you'd think things would soften somewhat once inside. But things only get harder for Alex, who comes face-to-face, well, face-to-thorax with Magda: The Stylish Warden, and her loyal subordinate Rosa Schmidt (Jana Švandová), who she actually does come "face-to-face" with since she is the same height as her. Anyway, if Magda and Rosa seem like they were expecting the arrival of the naive American, that's because they totally were. Pleased by what they see ("her skin is so smooth"), Magda and Rosa play good lesbian, bad lesbian with Alex as she stands before them with her fellow inmates. Playing the bad lesbian, Rosa scolds Alex for slouching, while Magda dons her good lesbian cap by praising Alex's beauty, and, at same time, throwing Rosa the occasional stink-eye for being such a bad lesbian.

Who would have thought that Jana Švandová, an actress fifteen years older and a full foot shorter than Brigitte Nielsen, would be able to outshine her lanky co-star so easily? Not me, that's for sure. Somehow managing to lure my attention away from Brigitte, Jana is sexy and evil simultaneously. And to think, it all began during the scene where Magda and Rosa inspect the "new meat" as it's about to be processed. Both are shown sitting together with their legs crossed, yet it was Jana's shapely gams encased in nylon that were the focus of my attention. It's weird, my eyes seemed to be drawn to her as she sat there. The reason I say, "it's weird," is because I know I'm technically not supposed to be looking at her (it's Brigitte Nielsen's name above the title, not Jana Švandová's), but that's where my eyes went. It's almost as if she knew she was more alluring than Brigitte, and that confidence seemed to literally ooze from the screen. Well, at least it oozed off the screen I was watching.

Have you ever wondered where all the also-ran fashion designers go after the host tells them they "no longer measure up" on Project Runway Canada? What?!? Don't tell me you haven't seen Project Runway Canada? Girl, it's like the American version, except instead of some no talent hosebeast, PRC features the truly fabulous Iman as the show's host. At any rate, when they get kicked off the show, I can easily imagine some of the more "flamboyant" designers being mistakenly thrown into a women's prison in the former Czechoslovakia. Treated as the de facto mascot of Razik prison, the reason the women look so fashionable, especially when compared with the ladies I've seen in other women in prison flicks, is because Bobo (David Buonantony) is there to design all the outfits. An artist with a flair for the dramatic, Bobo not only helps the girls of Razik look great, he also decides to assist Alex in her quest for freedom.

Usually sheathed in drab muumuus or a loose-fitting dresses, the women who populate the women in prison universe don't usually have a lot of options when it comes to being chic in the clink. However, thanks to Bobo, the uniform the women of Razik wear has three, count 'em, three separate pieces. A brown skirt with a mild slit in the back for added mobility, a white sleeveless t-shirt, and a short-sleeved bluish grey dress shirt. Never in a million years did I think that I would see the day when a women in prison film would feature this many imprisoned women who were repeatedly teetering on the brink of jauntiness. But there they were, in all their stylish glory.

How are the people who run Razik able to afford to drape their inmates in such couture opulence? That's easy, they operate a drug lab out of the basement, well, at least Rosa does, as I'm not sure if Magda knows about this subterranean cocaine factory (all the inmates, by the way, work in the nude in order to prevent employee theft). They also allow some of the prisoners to work at an unlicensed casino/brothel as prostitutes (the evening gowns they wear are all designed by Bobo). In rare cases, sadists from around the world will pay big bucks for the opportunity to torture and kill some of the more troublesome inmates. Though, I doubt they will find many who fit that description at Razik. I mean, hello? You get to wear an outfit that contains three separate pieces. Who in their right mind would want to jeopardize such a sweet deal? In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a waiting list as long as a socially maladjusted traffic cone to get into Razik, the Holt Renfrew of Central European girl prisons.

Okay, there's no waiting list, but there is one woman who desperately wants to break-in to Razik. Her name is Suzanne Morrison, and she'll do anything to bust her sister out. Does she care that Alex gets to wear a three piece outfit, has two lesbians of varying degrees of tallness battling for the right to smother their European faces nostril deep in her American pussy, has befriended Tina (Lucie Benesová), a fellow prisoner with curly hair, and gets free fashion advice from a Dorothy-aligned beret-wearer named Bobo? Judging by the aggressive manner in which Suzanne is trying to get the freedom ball rolling, I'm going to say, no, she does not care. Truth be told, I can't say I blame her. After all, Suzanne's sense of style reeks of Jennifer Aniston from the first season of Friends (which, you have to admit, is a near impossible feat since the show wasn't even on the air yet). If she had say, decided to channel Brigitte Bako circa the Red Shoe Diaries instead, I would have been a tad more forgiving. But Rachel from Friends?!? I'm sorry, but that doesn't work for me at all.

If that wasn't enough, Kari Whitman is a terrible actress. And I don't mean that as a compliment. As you know, in most cases, I prefer actresses who are, oh, let's say, not good (there's nothing worse in this world than being forced to watch so-called "fine acting"). However, I couldn't help but notice that Kari was severely lacking when it came time to display functions that you and I take for granted (simple things like, blinking and head swiveling were fraught with unforeseen complications). Suck at acting all you want–hell, I'll even praise your awfulness, but at least have the common decency to be entertainingly awful. Let me give you an example: In a veiled attempt to prove she isn't Detlef Schrempf, Brigitte Nielson leans back and shows the audience the smooth contours of her throat (now that's campy). You, on the other hand, are repeatedly upstaged by your bangs.

Someone who was never once in danger of being upstaged by anything as trivial as loose clumps of forehead adjacent hair was the alluring Jana Švandová, a skintight force of nature with gams for miles (the sight her stomping around the prison grounds in her trademark black skirt and matching nylons is the stuff of leggy legend). Did you know right away that Rosa Schmidt would wind up being your favourite Chained Heat II character? You bet I did. There was just something about the way she carried herself that appealed to me. Whether spanking Brigitte Nielsen's skinny behind, crouching fully clothed in the shower (mmmm, waterlogged nylons), or telling Alex, "You fuck with my plans, I fuck with your face," Jana displays a forcefulness that was not only sexy, it made you wish that you could trade places with the people she abuses. Oh, and in case you're wondering what Jana Švandová did with her loose clumps of forehead adjacent hair, she tucked them behind her ears (she's the Angela Chase of the Czech penal system).

Watching carefully, making a special note in my pantie log every time a pair of panties appeared onscreen, I thought was doing a pretty good job keeping track of many the gratuitous shots of young women putting on white panties that are peppered throughout this movie. I'd say, "overwhelming" is best way to describe the white pantie attack that is Chained Heat II, as it inundates the viewer with so much pantie-based imagery, that you will begin to see panties in your sleep. Sure, to the uninitiated, it may seem like there are only six instances when Lloyd Simandl focuses his camera on a pantie-covered bum. Which, if you think about it, is still a lot of panties. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll notice that every frame is literally saturated with white panties.

Realizing that not everyone in the audience has a thing for white panties, the pantie-obsessed filmmaker changes gears a bit by showing Rosa's junkie slave (Petra Susser) wearing black panties. Just kidding; though, Petra's black pantie moment is all too real. No, what Chained Heat II gives us is one of the greatest prison riots in WiP history. And given how many prison riots I've seen lately, I think I'm qualified to make such a bold statement. While films like, the first Chained Heat and Women's Prison Massacre seemed a little light when it came to extras, this film has got plenty girl flesh to go around. Oh, and they're not just running around aimlessly. Nuh-uh, these ladies fire submachine guns, shoot rocket launchers, and hurl grenades. Okay, the last two are both used by the same inmate, but as far as submachine guns go, these girls kick some serious ass. If you like fashion forward gals who wield automatic weapons in brown skirts, you'll definitely want to stick around for the film's action-packed finale, as it's the perfect cure-all for those suffering from white pantie fatigue.

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3 comments:

  1. Good review! Always heard this movie was completely ridiculous...if i find a dirt cheap (or free, haha) copy somewhere, will pick it up.

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  2. Detlef Schrempf??? HA HA HA HA.

    I wish I could have visited Czechoslovakia before it split. (I was in Prague in '94.) Now, I think the only country I've visited that may split in two some day is Belgium. (Or Canada? :) But I think that ship has passed.)

    So behind on Jeopardy! episodes. :/

    We finally saw some 2011 movies. The Artist, (lame) The Descendants, (no Sideways) and Shame (Michael Fassbender gets nekkid. Need I say more?).

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  3. @Ty: Thanks, Ty. I've seen the DVD at plenty of places for under ten bucks (I hope it's still in print).

    @Karim Amir: Detlef Schrempf used to play for the Seattle SuperSonics back in the day, and I would always try to fix him up with Brigitte Nielsen... in my mind.

    Chained Heat 2 must have experienced the split firsthand, because I could have sworn I heard someone say the "Czech Republic" near the end of the film.

    I'm not surprised, The Artist looks frightfully square. Or maybe it's supposed to be, and I just don't get it.

    Judy Greer's in The Descendants. Oh, I'm not denying its non-Sideways status, I'm just stating a fact. ;)

    Michael Fassbender + Nudity = Lady Boner. Okay, good to know. :)

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