AMAZON HOT BOX Film Review
In a world full of imitators, remakes, and reimaginings, James Bickert dares to challenge genre cinema and redefine exploitation for a new generation. A true King of Sleaze, Bickert and company have succeeded in delivering films that tackle everything from rape revenge, Sasquatch, zombies, biker-exploitation, women in prison, and nunsploitation – in only three of his most recent films. His latest creation, Amazon Hot Box, is the women in prison, jungle exploitation spin on his tried and true method of gore, laughs, and nudity. The film plays as a quasi-sequel to his previous films, Dear God No! and Frankenstein Created Bikers, upping the ante all while placing comedy front and center. The culmination of it all delivers Bickert’s best film yet, a bold, sex-filled story of violence and mayhem.
In the film, an American college student named Penny (Kelsey Carlisle, Headless) is erroneously apprehended during a dissident round-up in the banana republic of Rattica. She is incarcerated into the island penal system overseen by Wardress Von Krupp (Ellie Church, Frankenstein Created Bikers, Harvest Lake) who is constructing the world’s greatest information extractor. Crocodiles, religious zealots, psycho inmates, and voodoo-based experiments block her every escape. Life is cheap and the jungle explodes in Amazon Hot Box.
Although many of the same actors are used in his previous films, Tristan Risk, Ellie Church, and Paul McComiskey, Amazon Hot Box is not a direct sequel to Frankenstein and Dear, although it is a spiritual successor and a continuation of the misadventures of Jett, the dirty biker whose violence and passion for sex is less and less villainous as his story progresses. Jett is of course played by Jett Bryant, whose charm and humor is that of a stoned out, satanic biker version of Bruce Campbell. It is mind-boggling that he is not the star of dozens of low-budget horror films each year. At the very least, Bickert should continue this character’s story in these one-off films.
Not to be outdone, Tristan Risk puts on one of the best performances of her career, relishing in the insanity of her character Val, a deranged woman who reigns in prison, forcing her fellow prisoners to do unspeakable acts. Ellie Church hams it up as the Wardress Von Krupp who is straight out of a Nazi-sploitation film. Both actors handle the over-the-top dialogue and situations with a sarcasm and sneer that will make the viewer smile.
Bickert has quickly managed to hone his skill of delivering exploitation that is aggressive and challenging without being offensive. The humor is dark and silly, the nudity is bountiful, and as always, there is tons of gore to be had. Amazon Hot Box is a worthy addition to the exploitation genre and should be bumped to the top of your 2018 watch list. Voluminous with sex, violence, laughs, and an 85-minute runtime, there is no better way to spend your evening than in the concrete cells of Rattica.