Slaves in Cages
Slaves in Cages, a.k.a. The Captives, (1971) is an American sexploitation film directed by R. Lee Frost (using the alias Carl Borch). It stars Brigit Krover, Karl Hansen, Orla Nsu, Emil Kjaerum, Leif Betheas, and Annelise Detts.
This adults-only grindhouse feature was originally marketed as an import from Denmark (possibly to add to its allure as forbidden erotica from Europe). The director and cast members are all given Nordic-sounding names and the dialog has been clumsily over-dubbed to resemble a foreign film that's been translated into English. However, the one exterior scene in the film reveals the location with California palm trees seen in the background.
Sex and sadism in the '70s
Lee Frost was one of the top sexploitation filmmakers in the '60s and '70s. He specialized in low-budget "roughies" — dark, misogynistic tales of abduction, white slavery, and abuse. The hallmark of his films were sexualized spanking and whipping scene in films like The Defilers (1965), Love is a Four Letter Word (1966), Love Camp 7, The Animal, Hot Spur, and The Pick-Up (all from 1968).
With pornographic features opening in theaters in the early '70s, the gritty, mostly black-and-white, roughies had to change with the times. Changes in censorship standards allowed the genre to linger on for a few years by going full color and adding more (simulated) sex scenes and violent depictions of corporal punishment and torture.
Although far from being a classic like The Defilers, Slaves in Cages can be seen as a transitional film marking the shift from old school exploitation to the new "anything goes" roughies of the '70s. And, just as Love Camp 7 paved the way for Nazi exploitation and Women in Prison films, the neo-roughies inspired — and were absorbed by — a new wave of sex-and-violence horror shockers that is still going strong.
The near-plotless story concerns a wealthy, unnamed eccentric (Hansen) who drugs his date for the evening, Nancy (Krover), and locks her in a cage in his basement dungeon next to four other naked slave girls. The captives eat out of metal pans like animals and are forced to perform in weekly sex shows held in his private theater. The audience is a group of well-to-do sadists who arrive each week wearing masks.
There is a lesbian-themed sex show, a private flogging session, and some glimpses of simulated sex and more whipping during Nancy's "training". The brisk 70-minute story concludes with a big stage show featuring the group flogging of all five girls. The master undresses and joins the girls for an orgiastic finale, but they strangle him to death. The audience, unaware that their host has really been killed, applauds as the girls bow.
This is filmmaking at its most minimalistic. There is no story or character development to speak of, and virtually no dialog. Only two people, Nancy and the master, have speaking roles, and they say very little. Much of the film is silent with only jazz or rock music on the sound track. But the film does have the longest and most elaborate whipping sequences ever seen in an exploitation film.
The whipping scenes
In the dark dungeon beneath the house, a private whipping show is arranged for a paying client. One of the nameless naked slave girls is bent over a padded platform and whipped with a heavy leather flogger. After two-dozen lashes she turns around and the master whips her stomach.
The scene cuts to Nancy standing with her arms held high, her wrists shackled. Filmed in slow-motion, the master begins by flogging her back with a single-tail whip. The audible whip-strokes and the girl's groans suddenly vanish, replaced by a mournful jazz score that persists for the duration of this 6-minute scene. Three other girls armed with floggers join in. Nancy is flogged from all angles by four people (photos, video clip).
The next scene is a montage of brief clips that go back and forth between the master's leisurely pursuits (swimming, gardening, etc.) and Nancy's training (more whipping and sex scenes).
The final sex show begins with all five girls getting their backs whipped while tied to folding chairs. Then we cut to them standing in a row as the master, a flogger in each hand, wails away on them some more. Then the girls form a human pyramid for a third whipping. After that they roll about on the floor in a lesbian groping session while the master lashes at them yet again.