The late, Doris Wishman is fondly remembered by fans of cinematic sleaze for her singular filmmaking style that produced grindhouse fare to appreciative audiences throughout the 60s and 70s. Having entered the film business in the late 50s working as a distributor for movie mogul Joseph E. Levine, Wishman married and settled in Florida. Wishman’s directed her first first feature HIDEOUT IN THE SUN (1960), under the pseudonym Lazarus Volkl, which told of the abduction of a young girl by bankrobbers who decide to take refuge in a nudist camp. The film proved successful at drive-ins across the US, so Wishman followed with a series of nudie-cuties, all taking advantage of the lenience shown by censorship laws as regards filming in nudist camps, in order to appease the long mac brigade. Chief amongst them were NUDE ON THE MOON (1961) in which astronauts discover a nudist colony with peculiar lunar features that included mown lawns and carved hedges, BLAZE STARR GOES WILD (1961), GENTLEMEN PREFER NATURE GIRLS (1962), and BEHIND THE NUDIST CURTAIN (1964).
The late 60s saw the rise of the “roughies”, violent capers that often involved the beating, degradation, and/or rape of pretty women at the hands of dominant partners, rednecks, or gangsters. The combination of sadomasochism, bondage, and sex was seen as a tonic to the repetitiveness of the nudist camp craze, and Wishman was quick to capitalise on that. THE SEX PERILS OF PAULETTE (1965) told of an Ohio girl’s attempts to make it big in NYC, unfortunately she falls into prostitution. A plethora of other exploitation films ensured that Doris Wishman would forever be known as “Queen of the Nudies”, and her crowning achievement came with the hilarious espionage thrillers, DEADLY WEAPONS (1970) and DOUBLE AGENT ’73 (1974) that introduced the legendary bust of Chesty Morgan that not only concealed a secret camera, but also enabled her to smother victims within its gargantuan cleavage.
SATAN WAS A LADY (2002) – not to be confused with the X-rated Wishman title of the same name filmed in 1975 and featuring Bree Anthony and Annie Sprinkle – was to be amongst the director’s final movies. The film introduces us to red-head Honey Lauren as Cleo Irane, a fiery, bad-ass hot-tot who is tired of supporting her Beatle-wigged lover Eddie (Glyn Styler), a wanna-be rock star who lounges around their apartment all day strumming the guitar and crooning god-awful songs. Cleo longs to be a ballerina but has to make ends meet via clandestine stints as a dominatrix, and peddling her charms to dirty old men. When she spots a mink coat in the window of a boutique she decides she simply must have it, and in true Wishman style our protagonist sets out to appease her desire in a ridiculous way. After successfully bribing John King (Edge) an aging client who likes to submit to a savage whipping, she secures the $25,000 for the coat only to discover that good-for-nothing Eddie has stolen the lot and gambled it. Cleo decides to seduce King’s son, Brett (Hans Lohl) who treats her like the lady she yearns to be, meanwhile she resumes her extortion plans with his father.
Needless to say, if you enjoy low-grade exploitation then SATAN WAS A LADY will be up your alley. The usual Wishman trademarks are evident here, strippers with ample bosom, camera focus on needless objects, awful lip-synching, and whip-yielding dominas. Highlights of the film include Honey Lauren treating Edge to a bloody whipping, a sexy striptease in reverse by Lindsey Amodeo, Glyn Styler’s warbling “You Killed My Love”, and the usual Hitchcock styled walk-ons by the director. A “bad” movie in both senses of the word, and recommended to true trash fans only.
Carl T. Ford
Directed by Doris Wishman
SPECIAL DVD FEATURES
An Eclectic DVD release
All Region / NTSC / 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen / Dolby Mono
SATAN WAS A LADY (2001)