Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sid Haig Week: The Big Bird Cage

Howdy folks and welcome back for Day 2 of Sid Haig Week.  Well seeing yesterday I was not burned in effigy or in actual life I think it is safe to continue on to another Jack Hill movie that oddly enough is also similar to a women in prison film, Roger Corman didn't want Jack Hill to feel stuck in this subgenre so overall they decided to make this more of a parody and still shoot it in the Philippines as well as make use of the star power of both Pam Grier and Sid Haig with more predominate roles.  This is The Big Bird Cage.

Must remain bland. No emoting.

Our episodic opens with a gathering of scantily clad women working in a farming community under heavy guard interspersed with shots of sassy, free wheeling socialite Terry (Anitra Ford of Price is Right, The Love Machine, Where Does It Hurt?, Messiah of Evil, Invasion of the Bee Girls, Wonder Woman and The Longest Yard) an American tourist that decided to visit a remote portion of Central America to flirt and entice the prime minister and found her self in trouble with the government for such.  She is boated out to a obscure prison comprised of mostly bamboo (not commonly grown in Central America) forced to work the sugar cane crops for a ancient mill that looks as about as safe as holding onto a lit stick of dynamite.   The guards are corrupt and ruthless and their Warden, Zappa (Andres Centenera of Brides of Blood, Beast of the Yellow Night, Women in Cages, Black Mama White Mama, Super Gee and Black Mamba) is not above using his slave labor to the breaking point and even death keep his order.   Wow, fighting off the urge for a Frank Zappa joke is hard.

Man, normally you have to pay big time to roll around in the mud with Pam Grier.

Among these prisoners are two revolutionaries Blossom (Pam Grier of The Big Doll House, Black Mama White Mama, The Arena, Coffy,  Scream Blacula Scream, Foxy Brown and Jackie Brown) a buxom bad girl that doesn't take any crap from man or woman.  Hell even the gods are on edge about this doll.   She and her radical leader Django, no not Franco Nero or Jamie Foxx (Sid Haig of Fantasy Island, The Fall Guy, The Forbidden Dance, Jackie Brown, House of 1000 Corpses and House of the Dead 2) who watched a plan to get into the prison to raise an army against the government by fumbling a robbery at a night club.  Terry attempts an escape at this time and is damn near um... violated by a crazed mob of men when she is saved by the outlandish and over the top gay guard Rocco (Vic Diaz of The Thirsty Dead, The Pacific Connection, Cover Girl Models, The Dirty Half Dozen, Too Hot to Handle, Totoy Bato, Sudden Death, Vampire Hookers and Death Force) who I swear the uncanny resemblance to Peter Lorre is staggering.

Gaining the support of the other women, Blossom ensues a riot that throws the guards off their balance and the fireworks really begin it only true blue exploitation can manage.    Will our prisoners get out, get revenge and flee for the hills?  Will working for Django be any better or worse?  How come Anitra Ford got imprisonment for being of loose morals?

And now some wild facts about the flick at hand
Jack Hill and Roger Corman both decided this film was to be a spoof to make it stand out from the other entries of the WIP subgenre.  Andres Centenera wanted to be brought to the set in a limousine.   As Terry is being taken to the prison by boat, the very cove she is dropped off at is the same location as the Kurtz compound in Apocalypse Now six years later.  Turns out it is easier to film a movie about Vietnam in the Philippines.  Who knew?

Several frames had to be cut during the riot as one of the prison guards was being ravaged by several of the female inmates and would have wound up with an X rating.  Shocking that.

Gob-smacking amounts of nudity and violence aside, Haig and Grier are really a great combo together and play off each other well.  Their scenes are what make this film enjoyable although I could have done without their lovemaking scene.

Debbie, you have credits all over you. Scrub up.