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Video Rewind: Cult Camp Classics Vol.2- Women in Peril

Updated on November 7, 2014
Joan Crawford plays dolls with Trog
Joan Crawford plays dolls with Trog

Since I thought Camp Classics Vol. 3 was such a hoot, I couldn't wait to get Cult Classics Vol. 2 Women in Peril. Talk about disappointing.

In this Warner Brothers pack we're treated to The Big Cube, Trog and the women's prison drama Caged. Believe it or not the latter was nominated for three Academy Awards in 1951.

This would hardly make it a camp classic but according to most people it's the queen bee of all women in prison films.

Eleanor Parker stars as Mary, a nineteen-year-old sent to Women's State Prison for armed robbery. The young Mary Allen is a widow (since her husband was killed during the robbery) and while in prison a mere few hours discovers she's also with child. Mary's determined to make it out of the pen by the time the baby's due but her parole is turned down.

Once inside, she meets kindly warden Ruth Benton (Agnes Moorehead) and hopes to help the JD make it on the inside amidst the common criminals roaming through the cage. Young Mary also has to deal with tough as nails matron Evelyn Harper (Oscar nominee Hope Emerson). The best scene is when the 6'2" matron gets gussied up for a date and she looks like a big guy in drag.

Throughout her ordeal Mary begins to change and becomes more hardened with every passing day. Inmate Kitty Stark (Betty Garde) wants her to become one of her girls and once outside she'll be able to have a normal life. That is if she cooperates and shoplifts for the gang Kitty's in touch with.

With the arrival of Kitty's arch rival, Elvira Powell (Lee Patrick) things could get ugly for control of Corridor B and soon Mary's cuddling up to Elvira and taking in her promises.

When the widowed mother is paroled she joins Kitty's thugs and rather than close the file on Mary Allen, Warden Benton tells her secretary to keep it open since she'll be back.

And coming back to reality is Lana Turner in The Big Cube after her step daughter (Karin Mossberg) and fiancé Johnny Allen (George Chakiris) try to kill her with LSD.

Turner, a successful stage actress, kisses the boards goodbye to marry wealthy Charles Winthrop (Dan O'Heirlihy). After a few weeks the happy couple go on a yachting vacation when a storm washes her ashore and claims his life.

Charles' will specifically states Adriana will be the chief beneficiary while a trust fund for daughter Lisa was set up. Lisa can't touch the money until she's 25 and that's when Johnny makes his move.

Johnny convinces Lisa to drug the actress and while she's tripping uses a tape recorder to order her around and make the hallucinations seem real. She nearly jumps off a balcony but Lisa catches her before Adriana takes the plunge.

Adriana is sent to a mental institution and the couple marry in a "wild ceremony" and then Lisa calls the marriage off after Johnny wants to sleep with her best friend Bibi (Pamela Rodgers) and she can have artist Lalo (Carlos East).

Guilt ridden, Lisa tells the authorities and Adriana's close friend, playwright Richard Egan (Frederick Lonsdale) writes a special play about the events so Adriana can jog her memory. Where else but the movies can something like this be pulled off and soon Adriana recalls the events and the play becomes a smashing success and the two decide to wed.

Then there's widowed anthropologist, Dr. Brockton (Joan Crawford) who is studying Trog a prehistoric find in the moors near her institute. The caring anthropologist uses drugs to domesticate the troglodyte (Joe Cornelius) while land developer Michael Gough (Sam Murdock) releases him and eventually goes on a rampage of the nearby village kidnapping a little girl (Chloe Franks).

Trog takes the child to his cave and our good doctor goes in to save the child and before you can count to 10 the cave is fired upon and collapses.

I'm not sure what drug the good doc uses, but you'll need it to get through these cult classics.

Eleanor Parker is stressed out in Caged! Surprisingly she looks this way in the 1972 movie of the week Home For the Holidays
Eleanor Parker is stressed out in Caged! Surprisingly she looks this way in the 1972 movie of the week Home For the Holidays

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