Women in Prison film
The Women in Prison (or WiP) film is a B-movie subgenre that emerged in the 1970s. It was inspired by the juvenile delinquent exploitation films of the '50s and the "roughie" sexploitation films of the late 1960s. In the '70s this genre was a staple of the low-budget drive-in and grindhouse circuit (along with shlocky blaxploitation, horror, and science fiction flicks).
WiP films continued well into the '80s as a mainstay of the emerging home video and direct-to-video industry that was hungry for cheaply made erotic thrillers loaded with nudity, sex and violence. By mid-decade the cliches and stereotypes of the genre became the subject of parody in campy comedies such as Jailbird Rock (1985), Slammer Girls (1986), Reform School Girls (1986) with Sybil Danning and Wendy O. Williams, and more recently in Prison-A-Go-Go! (2003), Sugar Boxx (2009), and Stuck! (2010). The Halfway House (2004) is a multi-genre spoof of the prison, slasher, nunsploitation, and occult horror genres that even includes a fetishistic paddling scene.
As mainstream prison films declined in the Nineties, the producers of underground adult, bondage, and S&M videos embraced the babes-behind-bars concept. Hundreds of prison-based porn and fetish videos have been created and the genre continues to thrive on the alternative film market.
Today there are even production companies and web sites entirely devoted to the creation of prison-based erotica and corporal punishment films (see WiP Film Producers below).
Mainstream movies about women in prison in the 1940s and '50s were downbeat melodramas depicting the miseries of life behind bars. These A-list productions were presented as cautionary tales about the consequences of breaking the law. By the late 1950s, a spate of teen-oriented B-movies about juvenile delinquents emerged such as Reform School Girl (1957). These low-budget exploitation films pretended to be equally moralistic, but relied on racy sensationalism and shock appeal to sell tickets. In the late '60s this formula was expanded in a few grindhouse prison movies to include voyeuristic scenes of nudity and sex behind bars.
By the early 1970s, independent filmmakers such as Roger Corman recognized the commercial potential of this genre at drive-ins and second-tier theaters. A new wave of increasingly daring exploitation features emerged that had no moralistic pretentions of the earlier prison films. Instead, these were blatant, misogynistic fantasies of dominance and submission created to titillate audiences with forbidden sex, sadism, and (eroticized) corporal punishment.
The modern WiP film became an "acceptable" vehicle for displaying an almost unlimited range of sexual and BDSM fetishes that had never been seen in theaters. Filmmakers could get away with as much outrageous content as they dared to show. This includes voyeurism (group shower scenes), degradation, humiliation (strip searches and invasive medical examinations performed by lecherous male or lesbian doctors), enslavement and servitude (power exchange), inmate "cat-fights", rampant lesbianism, rape and gang rape, sexual slavery (forced prostitution), bondage, whipping, spanking, branding, cruelty, and torture.
In effect, the erotic fascination with female enslavement, corporal punishment and unconventional sex that was written about in hundreds of Victorian era and Edwardian era flagellation novels was brought to life via the new medium of film. The clandestine "dirty little secret" of human sexuality was turned into a mass-audience entertainment for the drive-in and second-tier theater crowd.
For the sake of completeness (and relevance to this site), this study will focus on a broad range of films that depict the corporal punishment of women who are imprisoned, enslaved, or trapped in an institution where they are powerless. This includes films set in jails, prisons, work farms, Nazi and Japanese concentration and POW camps, penal colonies, reform schools, prison-like boarding schools and convents. Regardless of the setting, all of these films share the same obsession with BDSM fantasies.
Films of the 1960s & 1970s
Before the wave of grindhouse features emerged, one non-exploitive mainstream film from Hungary deserves special notice. The Round-Up (1965), set in a 1868 Hungarian prison camp for political prisoners, has an astonishing "running the gauntlet" scene (a once-common form of military corporal punishment). A beautiful nude girl is forced to run back and forth several times between two long rows of soldiers. Each man whips her with a long switch as she passes. (Video clip at YouTube.)
That same year in America, the acclaimed and controversial film The Pawnbroker showed, in a brief flashback scene, nude female prisoners being humiliated and manhandled in a Nazi concentration camp brothel.
At the same time, "roughie" sexploitation flicks about women who are abducted, whipped, tortured, and forced into prostitution were beginning to surface. The most notable examples being the "Olga" trilogy: White Slaves of Chinatown, Olga's Girls and Olga's House of Shame (all 1964) and Tortured Females (1965).
But it was Love Camp 7 (1968) that brought all these elements together. This is the Rosetta Stone for both the WiP and Nazisploitation genres to come. Set in a Nazi "Joy Division" camp, female prisoners are kept as sex slaves for German officers. Among the many scenes of degradation, cruelty, and near-rape, one prisoner gets a long, intense belt spanking from a sadistic guard.
Detention Girls (1969) is the first pure exploitation prison move. As the poster says: "A sizzling story of sadism, perversion, and degradation in woman's prison." This contains an intense and lengthy whipping scene of an inmate. The better known 99 Women by schlockmeister Jess Franco was another 1969 release and has a brief flogging scene.
The House That Screamed (1969), an influential Spanish horror-thriller, was the first of many boarding school melodramas about helpless girls who are dominated and punished by a bitchy disciplinarian. Here, under the direction of the headmistress, a rebellious girl is stripped and flogged by the other girls.
Roger Corman's The Big Doll House (1971) with Pam Grier, was the first of many "jungle hellhole" prison films shot (cheaply) in the Philippines. This has an all-too-brief dungeon whipping scene. Grier was also the sadistic warden in Women in Cages (1972), another jungle camp movie. She uses medieval-style torture methods and whips her lesbian lover, who later gets revenge. Near the end, Grier is tied to a tree for a frontal birching with a tree branch.
But the Italian-made jungle films are far more brutal than anything produced in the U.S. Escape from Hell, aka Escape (1979) is especially nasty with lots of "roughie" sex and harsh whipping. The sequel, Hotel Paradise (1980) has an astonishing scene with two women bound face-to-face and vigorously lashed with a bullwhip.
Bamboo House of Dolls (1973), a Hong Kong import, is perhaps the first WWII Japanese prison camp exploitation film. Here a female prisoner gets a severe public whipping. (In 1986 Susan Sarandon suffers a similar, but milder, bamboo thrashing in Women of Valor, a TV movie .)
Secret Report from Nagasaki Woman Prison (1972), aka Virgin Prison Torture from Japan, is imaginatively sadistic. Topless inmates are lashed and have hot wax dripped on them as they crawl along planks above a pit of broken pottery.
The cheesy Terminal Island (1973), with Tom Selleck and Marta Kristen, is set on a deserted island where marooned prisoners must survive on their own. So, naturally, the male prisoners turn the females into work slaves by day and sex slaves by night. Barbara Leigh is lashed with a pervertible whip made of sea kelp.
Poor Cecily (1973), a loose adaptation of de Sade's Justine, has a long, notorious scene in an 18th century prison. Accused witches, including Uschi Digard, are brutally tortured, branded, raped and given front and back whippings. Reissued and re-edited countless times, the original uncut version is a hard to find collector's item.
Nightmare in Badham County (1976), with Tina Louise, of all people, as a prison guard, is unique. It began as a lurid TV movie then was released to theaters (as Nightmare) with some gratuitous nude scenes tacked on. Inmates are forced into prostitution at a corrupt Southern work-farm prison. A brief bare-ass strapping scene appears in the theater/video release. In the European print, Tina Louise is the guard swinging the strap.
The comedy The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) features a mock trailer for Catholic High School Girls in Trouble that shows girls being whipped in jail.
Nazisploitation (Nazi exploitation) is a World War II sexploitation film genre that grew out of the women in prison concept. Here, female prisoners held in German concentration or POW camps are sexually abused, punished, forced into slave labor or used for diabolical medical experiments (loosely based on the work of the notorious Dr. Mengele). Other films are set in equally brutal Nazi-run brothels where female captives are used as sex slaves. Nearly all of these films were produced in Italy between 1975 and 1980. With the Nazis representing the ultimate in sadism and sexual perversity, these films became a perfect vehicle for depicting every type of lurid horror and mysoginistic fantasy imaginable.
Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1974) was a surprise hit that opened the floodgates for a wave of sickening Nazi atrocity films. Ilsa, played by busty Dyanne Thorne, was something new: a sexy, Nazi bitch dominatrix who tortures prisoners between sex scenes. To test her theory that women have a higher pain tolerance than men, she has a man and woman flogged to death. This was followed by three dreadful sequels. Only the third, Ilsa, The Wicked Warden (1977) by Jess Franco has a brief whipping scene.
Until the end of the Seventies, Italian directors cranked out scores of Nazi-horror films with confusingly similar titles and endless alternate titles. She Wolf of Spilberg (1979) is an obvious Ilsa knockoff with a nude prisoner getting a 21-stroke ass-whipping.
The few notable films with prisoner floggings:
- SS Experiment Camp (aka SS Experiment Love Camp, Women's Camp 23, SS Experiments) - 1976
- SS Girls (1977)
- SS Extermination Camp (aka Women's Camp 119, SS Extermination Love Camp) - 1977
- Gestapo's Last Orgy (aka Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler) - 1977
- Achtung! The Desert Tigers (1977); a masochist female commandant has herself whipped.
The porn industry also got into the act with a number of films combining rough sex and S&M such as the Mitchell brothers' Hot Nazis, Nazi Love Island with John Holmes and Seka, and Hitler's Harlot.
In Hong Kong and Korea, the makers of exploitation films created an Asian variation on this theme with films like Bamboo House of Dolls (1973) and Escape from a Women's Prison. Instead of Nazis, these movies depicted the atrocities perpetrated by occupying Japanese forces on Chinese and Korean civilians during the war.
The cycle more or less concluded with Stalag 69 (1983), a porno film with impressive cropping and whipping scenes set in a Nazi prison-brothel. Angelique Pettyjohn (who did some mainstream work, including Star Trek) plays an Ilsa-type commandant in what is essentially a remake of Love Camp 7.
Nunsploitation (nun exploitation), along with Nazisploitation, is another spinoff film genre that ran a parallel course alongside WiP films in the Seventies and Eighties. Nearly all were produced in Italy and Japan. These films are set in prison-like convents where the sexually repressed all-female population inevitably turns to lesbianism and perversity. The element of religious guilt allows for lurid depictions of self-chastizements such as well-endowed topless nuns whipping themselves or enduring painful masochistic rituals of mortification of the flesh. The Mother Superior is usually a cruel and corrupt martinet who enforces strict discipline with an iron hand (more opportunities for whippings and tortorous punishments) and often lusts after her female charges. An equally perverse and lecherous priest is often included to add a male element of menace to the proceedings.
The Japanese classic, School of the Holy Beast (1974), is perhaps the best example. A sweet-faced girl infiltrates a prison-like convent to solve a family mystery. The film offers many bizarre spectacles such as masochistic self-flagellation, medieval type tortures, and two topless nuns forced to fight each other with heavy floggers. Plus a beautifully edited sequence, shot partly in slow-motion, of a group of nuns savagely whipping the heroine with thorny rose stems. While most exploitation films are cheap, trashy, and lacking in style and artistic integrity, this is a finely crafted work that has the look and style of an art film.
By contrast, Nuns of Peccato (La Monaca Nel Peccato, 1986) is a typically sleazy low-budget Italian production about a lovely young girl (is there any other kind?) sent to a convent where she is whipped and abused by lesbian nuns and a perverted Mother Superior.
Fetishistic Inquisition punishments and taboo sex are featured in numerous convent-based films from Italy such as Demons (aka Sex Demons, 1972), Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun (1976), both by the ubiquitous Jess Franco, and Immagini di un Convento (Images In the Convent, 1979) from Joe D'Amato (Video clip at xHamster.)
Another D'Amato film, Convent of Sinners (1986) shows self-flagellation and two lusty nuns being severely whipped for having impure thoughts.
The erotic drama Vanessa (1977) includes a fantasy sequence inspired by a racy novel set in a convent school. Vanessa (Olivia Pascal) imagines herself as the novel's heroine who is whipped with a large martinet by a nun and later by a man. (This scene can be viewed online at sevenload.)
More recently, Playback created the punishment film Monastery of Misery and Mood Pictures made the severe whipping video Hour of Penitence. Both pay homage to the nunsploitation films of the past.
- A montage of whipping scenes from three nunsploitation films (including Images In the Convent and Convent of Sinners) can be seen at the Internet Archive.
- A group spanking scene from a Japanese film can be watched at PornHub.
The 1980s to the present
Below is a list of women in prison films, starting from 1980, that include fetishistic scenes of women being spanked or flogged.
- Bare Behind Bars (1980) is an indescribably raunchy Italian softcore sex romp with a few scenes of corporal punishment.
- Island Women aka Rat Island (1980) is about prostitutes held in a brutal labor-camp prison; it has two brief but harsh caning scenes.
- Escape from Hellhole, aka Hell Hole (1983) features a lengthy whipping segment.
- In Women in Fury (1985), inmates give a fellow prisoner a frontal beating with a wet, rolled up piece of cloth.
- A "Japanese Emanuelle" in Erotic Journey (1987) is thrown into a filthy Thailand jungle prison where she and her girlfriends must satisfy brutish prison guards or face whippings and beatings.
- Caged Heat 2: Stripped of Freedom (1994). Undercover agent Jewel Shepard suffers a brief but intense whipping in an Asian jungle prison.
- The futuristic Caged Heat 3000 (1995) stars Lisa Boyle (aka Cassandra Leigh) as an inmate in a bizarre prison on an asteroid. Includes much kinky behavior such as electric bra torment, cattle prod-like sticks, and a masochist guard who has a prisoner beat his ass with a crop as sexual foreplay.
- The Halfway House (2004) spoofs WiP films, nunsploitation, and occult horror flicks. Two girls get bare-ass paddlings from a perverted priest who subscribes to spanking magazines.
- Sugar Boxx (2009) is a campy homage to '70s WiP films that inlcudes female whipping scenes.
WiP Film Producers
- In recent years, North American Pictures, the Canadian makers of Chained Heat 2 (1983) based a separate production company in the Czech Republic called Bound Heat Films for making R-rated erotic films about enslaved or imprisoned women. Many of these star Rena Riffel (from Showgirls). Titles include: School of Surrender, Dark Confessions, Stories from Slave Life, No Escape, Caligula's Spawn, Slave Huntress, Bound Cargo, et al. (http://www.boundheat.com)
- Bars and Stripes is a unique video company that maintains a website entirely devoted to its WiP corporal punishment films. A stable of recurring "inmates" are listed with mug shots and information. Many of the films are part of a continuing story.
- CagedTushy.com, an all-prison spanking site, is an offshoot of the schoolgirl -oriented BadTushy.com. (http://www.cagedtushy.com)
- Chain Gang Girls is another creator of prison BDSM movies sold at their website. (http://www.chainganggirls.com)
- Spank Camp is an English company that produces prison corporal punishment videos. (http://www.spankcamp.com)
Prison Fetish Films
Below is a list of some of the many BDSM and corporal punishment fetish films set in jails, prisons and reform schools.
Custom Corporal Punishment Artwork
- Detention House (series)
- Red Reformatory: Old Friends
- Red Reformatory: Teddy Bear
- Reform School 1 & 2
- Room 34 (set in a girls' boarding school)
- Stalin II & III (Stalinist era political prisoners)
- Behind Closed Doors
- The Dark Room 1 & 2
- Dr. Megele (Nazi concentration camp)
- Gestapo 1 & 2 (Nazi concentration camp)
- Hour of Penitence (Nunsploitation)
- Inmates 1 & 2
- Jail Yard CP
- Judicial Punishment
- Life Sentence
- Martial Law 1 & 2 (military prison canings)
- Prison Story
- Santiago Prison
- South American Vacation
- Special Treatment
- Stanford Prison Experiment (based on a true story)
PainGate (Whipped Women)
- The Escape
- Lady Marlon and the Prisoner
- Interrogation of a Drug Courier
- Stolen Lingerie
- Prison Session: Suspension Hall
- Back in the Black Hole
- Wet Bullwhip Punishment
- Confession in Pain
- Boot Camp Isolation
- The Piercing
- Paingate Prison: Scandalization
Raven Hill Studios
- Belt Spankings at Reform House 9
- Border Guard Blisterings
- Naked Violations
- Reform House Punishments
- Spanking Girls at the Bad House
- Boot Camp: Stable Work (Nazisploitation)
- A17 - A Boot Camp Tragedy (Nazisploitation)
- Behind the Iron Curtain
- Code Interrogation
- Female Prison Session: Tip Toe
Wild Africa Canings
- Bondage Behind Bars (London Enterprises)
- Bondage in the Bastille (London Enterprises, 1992)
- CagedTushy.com, video producer, website
- Captured South of the Border (House of Milan)
- Defiance (series) Bizarre Video
- Guilty (series) ZFX Productions
- Girls in Prison (London Enterprises)
- House of Correction (HOM. Inc., 1992)
- Indecent Behaviour (Spank Camp)
- Induction Day (Spank Camp)
- Jailhouse Spank (Harmony Concepts, 1992) - Greta Carlson
- Jailhouse Whores 1-3 (Forbidden Video) roughie sex with some spanking and bondage
- Miss Bondwell's Reformatory (London Ent.)
- Monastery of Misery (Playback)
- Offender Correction 1-3 (David Elson Prods.)
- PainSecrets 29: No Smoking (Pain Gate Secrets)
- Prison Officer (California Star, 2000)
- Prison Punishment (Cheeky Video Productions)
- The Reformatory (Tallion)
- Reformatory for Sinners (Gaslight)
- Request Denied (Spank Camp)
- Sentenced To Bondage (London Ent., 1990)
- The Sisters of Repentance (Tallion)
- Slutty Prison Guard (Japanese Femdom porn)
- South of the Border 1-7 (ZFX Productions)
- The Spy (Pain4fem) - Niki Flynn tormented by Nazis
- Sterner Measures (Spank Camp)
- Strict Prison 1 (pain4fem)
- Strict Prison 2 (pain4fem)
- Strict Prison 3 (pain4fem)
- Strict Prison 4 (pain4fem)
- Tales from the Rod 3 (Nazisploitation)