Rent 99 Women (1969)

2.6 of 5 from 52 ratings
1h 28min
Rent 99 Women (aka Der heiße Tod) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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This is classic Jess Franco in a genre that he almost created single-handedly - women in prison. Here, three women, amongst them the beautiful Maria Schell (The Odessa File) and Luciana Paluzzi (James Bond - Thunderball) are sent to a kind of 'Devil's Island' prison. Here, aside from the sinister Herbert Lom (Mark Of The Devil, The Pink Panther Series), the inhabitants are all either sex-crazed female prisoners or sex-crazed female guards who also happen to be sadists! Features copious amounts of lesbian rape, torture and sex and numerous displays of steamy semi-naked women. 99 Women is a truly authentic look at life on the inside. A sleaze epic!
, , , , , , , , , , , Ana Lucarella, Olívia Pineschi, , ,
Anya Corvin, Milo G. Cuccia
Der heiße Tod
Italy, Drama
Release Date:
Run Time:
88 minutes
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.66:1
  • Stills Gallery
  • Jess Franco Interview
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Original Trailer

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Reviews (1) of 99 Women

Spoilers follow ... - 99 Women review by NP

Spoiler Alert

Here’s something – a Jess Franco ‘Women in prison’ film (his first), with Harry Allan Towers and not Erwin C. Dietrich, who would be associated with future incarceration endeavours. It is interesting to note the differences – this is nearly a decade before the Dietrich projects and the usual lesbian and titillation hasn’t reached graphic levels yet. Also Bruno Nicolai’s soundtrack almost seems to have been loaned from a blockbuster movie, lending more doom-laden atmospherics to the terrifically austere surroundings than is sometimes strictly necessary.

There’s a good cast here. Herbert Lom is always very watchable: I’m surprised he did this – his perverse cold-hearted Governor Santos is someone Howard Vernon or Paul Muller (or Franco himself) might usually play. Having said that, his peccadillos are always off-screen. Marie Schell is hardened and glamorous as Leonie Caroll, brought in to observe the activities of current governor Thelma Diaz. Diaz is played by the magnificent Mercedes McCambridge, short on stature but a performance as arch and camp as can be imagined. McCambridge (whose main point of interest for horror fans might well be her voicing of the demon in 1973’s ‘The Exorcist’) appears to relish each moment and steals every scene. Maria Rohm plays Maria who, blonde and pretty, is always in Diaz’s sights. And it is always a pleasure to see Rosalba Neri, here as constantly smouldering Zoie: a former ‘exotic dancer’, I’m delighted to say.

The Alicante location is delicious and the building used for the prison is suitably Spartan and yet crammed with interest. Flaking paint, featureless walls, paradise-like views always out-of-grasp. The whole production looks terrific and might well be Franco’s most restrained, coherent and ‘mainstream’ WIP picture. It also might just be my favourite. Things move at a fair rate, the relentless austerity is broken up by the flashbacks that flesh out the back-stories for the main inmates. The violence and torture takes place for the most part, just off-camera, and is no less effective for that. And the story builds up a genuine sense of frightening momentum towards the end, which makes the very satisfying finale tragically inevitable. Thoroughly recommended to those familiar with Franco, and those who are not.

The soundtrack is enlivened by the occasional insertion of variants of the theme song, ‘The Day I Was Born’ (sung by Barbara McNair, the wronged and wonderful Rita from Franco’s 1968 ‘Venus in Furs’), which is guaranteed to bury itself into your brain for a long time after you first hear it.

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