Women Behind Bars (1975)

Nastiness Rating:

Directed by: Jess Franco
Written by: Marius Lesoeur



Jess Franco is not a particularly good filmmaker. I’ve learned that when his name is on a film, it probably means “long and boring, but with lots and lots of nudity.”

That’s exactly what I get with his entry on the Nasties list. Women Behind Bars is exactly what it sounds like: a women in prison movie.

Lina Romay (star of I’m Naked, I mean, Bare Breasted Countess and many other Franco films, including his real life) is thrown in prison for killing her boyfriend, who has just stolen lots of diamonds. She is sent to, of course, a women’s prison with, of course, sadistic guards and a warden with more on his mind than just having these women pay their debts to society.

A blonde who is having sex with the warden befriends her. But HARK! She’s double-dealing with the warden and just wants to get info about the diamonds out of Lina.

Meanwhile, in the free world, a lawyer is trying to find the diamonds, too. He plots to get Lina out of prison so that she will lead him to them.

Wait…what?! That barely makes any sense…unless, of course, you have a brain. Then you’ve just figured out the “twist.” Clever.

There’s absolutely nothing nasty about this movie until about an hour in when Lina gets a very short torture scene. In fact, it takes almost half an hour to even get to any nudity! (I mainly mention because, in Franco time that’s, like, 10 hours.)

(In case you weren’t aware, Franco loves to shoot lots and lots of very loving shots of Lina’s breasts and crotchal area throughout all of their films together. It’s a constant. I mean, she’s a beautiful woman, but this is beyond that. I guess she had no problem with it since she stayed with him to the day he died, and then died not long after him.)

For a movie about a heist and women in prison, there’s precious little actual violence. All of the gunshots take place off screen and the roughie scenes are pretty tame…for the most part. (The creepiest one is where Jess gets to beat his own real-life girlfriend. Nice one.)

Basically, this movie is just an excuse to exploit the lovely Lina running around with her top off all the time.

Other than that, the movie is boring, the plot is nearly nonexistent and the music sometimes sounds like cast-off bits from the Frankenstein score. There’s no gore at all and, for the most part, the violence is really, really tame. I don’t even remember seeing a drop of blood. Even Lina doesn’t seem to feel any of her torture because, at one point, she’s lies on her back after being whipped!

LOW POINT: That one torture scene that probably made it a Nasty. Lina gets electrodes attached to her labia. And, yeah…they show it. The lighting is pretty dark, but it’s definitely shown. Disturbing as shit, but actually not as graphic as some on this list. Of course, as in any women in prison movie/exploitation flick, she gets it kissed better by another inmate.

Because fetishism.

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