Barbed Wire Dolls (1976)

“No government inspector would dare condemn our ways, because we have the worst degenerates — female whores, addicts, pimps, abortionists. They’re the worst kind of scum!”

Synopsis:
A young woman (Lina Romay) imprisoned for killing her incestuous father (Jess Franco) joins a cell with a babbling redhead (Beni Cardoso) who has gone off the deep end; a blonde (Martine Stedil) who killed her brother; and a nymphomaniac (Peggy Markoff) obsessed with Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella. Will they be able to withstand the wrath and torture of their evil female guard (Monica Swinn) and her henchmen?

Genres:

Review:
Fans of the sadistic degradation on display in Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1973) are surely the target audience of this “companion piece”, made just a few years later by exploitation-maestro Jess Franco. Franco had shown cinematic promise earlier in his career with atmospheric films such as The Awful Dr. Orloff (1962), but this kind of WIP (Women in Prison) trash is what he had reduced himself to just a decade later. Several reviewers have noted the film’s most infamous scene — a flashback shot in real-time slo-mo, which is rather morbidly fascinating to watch. Otherwise, get your remote ready to fast-forward through this purely exploitative flick which features near-constant female nudity, gratuitous sexual violence galore, and no redeeming qualities at all (other than perhaps a brief moment of genuine female bonding and comraderie between Franco and Stedil).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
Nothing, unless this is what you’re into.

Must See?
Nope. Listed (appropriately) as Trash in the back of Peary’s book.

Links:

2 Responses to “Barbed Wire Dolls (1976)”

  1. I tend to avoid Franco’s straight up sado-porn flicks but his genre films are worth a look.

    Check out Venus in Furs (1969), Vampyros Lesbos (1970), The Diabolical Dr. Z (1965), Christina: Princess of Eroticism (1973 AKA A Virgin Among the Living Dead which is a version to avoid as it has zombie scenes shot a decade later added), The Sadistic Baron Von Klaus (1962) and Night Has a Thousand Desires (1983).

  2. Needless to say, not must see. Franco did start the whole women in prison genre as we know it and that was with 99 Women (1968) which is sorta fun. It’s must see as very probably the only WIP film worth seeing; at least of the few I’ve seen. Mercedes McCambridge and Herbert Lom star and it has pretty good production values. Essentially the story of a breakout on an island prison.

    Just avoid the XXX version the French distributor put out several years after the fact which had faceless doubles, crude, hardcore inserts stuck into every sex scene (about three).

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