Too Hot to Handle… Too Cunning to Catch… No Prison Could Hold Them!
An all-female group of miners gets tired of the hard life and decide to make a play for easy street by living a life of crime. After an elaborate jewelry store robbery goes off without a hitch, their luck changes when one of their members tries to sell cocaine to a pair of undercover cops, and they all end up in prison. But can iron bars contain them?
TEN VIOLENT WOMEN is a strange little film in that it goes from a crime caper to a Women-in-Prison film at about the halfway point—and it’s not particularly good at either genre. It was horribly lit, poorly acted, and peppered with inept action scenes. There were far too many characters with virtually nothing to distinguish one from another, so they in essence were all the same character. And because this is, all said and done, rather chaste for this type of movie (the women shower in their underwear), it’s not only a bad film; it’s also a bad exploitation film.
Not to get too nit-picky, but TEN VIOLENT WOMEN isn’t very good at counting, either, as every review under the sun will tell you. If we’re to assume that the band of bad girls are the titular ten violent women, then there’s actually only eight of them. And if we’re to assume that we’re meant to include the other women in the prison, then there are well more than ten. No matter which way you look at it, there are either not enough or too many for the title to be accurate.
I’ve reviewed a few of Ted V. Mikels’s other films here before—GIRL IN GOLD BOOTS and THE CORPSE GRINDERS part 1, part 2 and part 3—and they are definitely an acquired taste, but I always found something to enjoy. TEN VIOLENT WOMEN was a different animal, however, and a real chore to sit through. The worst part of it is that once it’s over, it’s almost immediately forgotten.
The most memorable moment comes when the sleazeball they are trying to sell the stolen jewels to—played by Mikels himself—disrespects the girls, and he is stomped/stabbed to death by a pair of high heel shoes. Fetishists probably don’t know whether to be frightened or aroused. From what I’ve read, Mikels, a proud and public polygamist, cast his bevy of wives in the roles of the violent women, so I can’t help but wonder how they decided which one was going to get to kill their beloved. A few other interesting touches: the action was periodically broken up with on-screen title cards (“Shoot Out at Duck Park”), an era-specific flair that fans of Quentin Tarantino will recognize; and the sadistic lesbian head guard—yes, there’s always a sadistic lesbian head guard—isn’t a beautiful and powerful young woman, as the genre has taught us to expect. Instead, she’s a much older woman whose salad days are well behind her.
James Gordon White wrote the script for TEN VIOLENT WOMEN along with Mikels. It was the last thing he wrote, according to the IMDb, but he also had screenwriting credits on a handful of other genre fare like THE GLORY STOMPERS (1967), THE MINI-SKIRT MOB (1968), BIGFOOT (1970), THE INCREDIBLE 2-HEADED TRANSPLANT (1971), and THE THING WITH TWO HEADS (1972). Most of the cast never achieved stardom, but that’s not to say there isn’t a few interesting notes to be found. For instance:
At the start of the film, an unnamed female miner is nearly raped by an angry explosives expert. This woman, who is saved by the Violent Ones, is played by Lani Silver, AKA Kalani Silverman, AKA Kalani Satana, daughter of Tura Satana, best known as the buxom Varla from Russ Meyer’s trash opus FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! (1965). Tura had appeared in Mikels’ THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES (1968) and THE DOLL SQUAD (1973) (and would go on to appear in the ASTRO-ZOMBIE sequels in 2004 and 2011), so the director already had a working relationship with the Satana family. That relationship has extended into a third generation with the announcement that Tura’s granddaughter, Sharla Rae Satana, will be appearing in the upcoming TEN VIOLENT WOMEN: PART TWO.
Yes, there’s a sequel.
And there damn sure ought to be ten of them this time.