Women in Fury
Italy - Brazil / 1985
Directed by Michele Massimo Tarantini
Suzane Carvalho
Rossana Ghessa
Gloria Cristal
Color / 90 Minutes / Not Rated
Format: DVD (R1 - NTSC)
Shriek Show
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Review by
Brian Lindsey
10 = Highest
An Italian-Brazilian co-production, Women in Fury is a sleazy WIP ("Women In Prison") exploitationer rife with dumb, badly dubbed dialog, ridiculous action scenes and a high quotient of naked female flesh. What more do you expect from a foreign-made WIP flick? Certainly not quality of any kind. That's not what this type of film is all about. At its sleaziest depths the WIP genre represents the very essence of the Exploitation Film at its most basic, button-pushing level. Women In Fury contains all the elements common to the genre, trotted out in customary style, though with a few exceptions... There's no shower scene (the water hose torture bit doesn't count) and way too much time is wasted on the boring activities of a crusading doctor trying to free the film's heroine. Rest assured, though, that the other clichés the lesbian prison matron, the evil commandant, cat fights, sadomasochistic sex, a jailbreak are all present and accounted for.
    Suzane Carvalho (Massacre in Dinosaur Valley) stars as Angela Duvall, a beautiful high society debutante who's convicted of killing a known drug dealer, the man supplying her brother with smack. It was really her brother who pulled the trigger but Angela (stupidly) takes the fall believing that as a young woman she'll get a shorter jail stretch. Sentenced to 18 years, she's sent to a real hellhole of a prison
Angela's cellmates are all vicious bitches who physically intimidate her and flaunt their lesbianism. (At one point she's forcibly stripped naked and flogged mercilessly with water-soaked towels before being sexually molested.) The Chief Matron of the cellblock is an icy dyke who dispenses favors and protection for sex. Summoned to her quarters, Angela rejects the matron's advances only to get bitch-slapped; she then gives in and, in a steamy sex scene, seems to enjoy swinging the other way. Only two people show Angela any real kindness. Denise, a half-crazy inmate, is a 350-pound black woman who doesn't take any crap from anybody. Asking only friendship in return, she protects Angela as best she can from the other prisoners. (The gargantuan actress' dubbed voice is sweet and lilting, which can be pretty funny.) Dr. Cuña (Henri Pagnoncelli), the prison's medical officer, comes to believe Angela is innocent and campaigns to get her released. He thus runs afoul of the evil, corrupt warden, Captain Bonifacio (Leonardo Jose), who's made it a personal mission to see Angela dead. Bonifacio knows that Angela saw a third person the night of the dope pusher's murder, a high-level gangster who was trying to recruit her brother as a dealer among the high society crowd. If Angela is released she can finger the Mob's man and possibly bring down the drug racket.
    An attempt to hang Angela in her cell is thwarted when the doctor reaches her just in time. He suspects Bonifacio's involvement but the warden threatens him and has him fired. On the inside, only Denise is left to protect Angela now. On the outside, Cuña works frantically to get Angela out, contacting her sniveling, wimpy brother to get the whole truth. A confession brings in the police and a court order for Angela's release is secured. (The movie really bogs during these scenes... Nobody actually watching this kind of flick gives a damn about the plot, anyway.) But before the order can be presented a bloody riot breaks out in the prison when Denise decapitates another inmate trying to assassinate Angela on orders from the warden. Amid the chaos Angela and most of her cellmates escape over the wall into the jungle. While Bonifacio and his platoon of totally incompetent soldiers pursues them over land the Doc frantically searches for Angela in a helicopter. The Law hard on their heels, the scantily-clad fugitives try desperately to survive both the dangers of the jungle and the fury of each other in their run for the Venezuelan border. And even if she lives through the ordeal... can poor innocent Angela ever be the same?
    If the idea of sweaty, catfighting lesbians in a South American prison sounds like an appealing cup of sleaze, Women in Fury should prove agreeable enough. Suzane Carvalho, a dusky Latin beauty with a very nice (silicone-free) body, can't act a lick
but that hardly matters now, does it? There's plenty of nudity. The location used as the prison really resembles what you might imagine some South American hellhole to look like. Some of the dialog is unintentionally funny ("Is there no limit to your perfidy?"); ditto the ineptly staged action sequences. (The warden's troops couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag.) The Denise character simply has to be seen to believed. Sounds like a fairly delectable cheese feast, right?
    Unfortunately too much of the film's 90-minute running time is taken up with the doctor's efforts to win Angela's release and the jungle trek of the fugitives. I would've preferred it focused more on that whole 'naked women in cages' thing.
But that's just me.

My first look at a Shriek Show release, Women in Fury is certainly packaged attractively enough. (The keepcase cover features some wonderfully lurid comic book-style art.) The contents are rather a mixed bag, however.
    The film itself is presented fullframe. Picture quality is fine for such a low budget, foreign made flick. Audio is more than adequate except for a weird anomaly that occurs for a brief period during Chapter 8, when the gals have been captured by some horny prospectors. For about a minute I could hear audio from Chapter 1 bleeding through one can clearly hear police sirens wailing in the jungle! This oddity occurred during playback on both a Sony DVP-S530P home theater component and an Ovation PC DVD-ROM drive. Go figure!
    As for extras, trailers for three other Shriek Show releases are provided: Demonia, an Italian gorefest from director Lucio Fulci; the succinctly titled Hong Kong WIP film Women in Prison; and Prisoner Maria: The Movie, a Japanese knockoff of La Femme Nikita. (Alas, no trailer for Women in Fury.) 2/16/02