When the leading lady in Doris Wishman's Satan Was a Lady decides to exploit the secretary who works for the man she's currently blackmailing for monetary gain, I thought to myself: Now we're getting somewhere. Don't get me wrong, I loved the kooky vibe the film was putting out there up until this point. And I even loved the songs by Glyn Styler, who plays "Ed Baines," the lead character's musician boyfriend. But the film was missing that certain something. That all changes when Cleo Lauren (Honey Lauren), a self-described whore, tells Lotte (Laudet Torres) that if she hands over the names of her boss's richest clients, she will give her a makeover. My eyes lit up like a rotten Christmas tree, one of course that's been set on fire and tossed off the roof of a recently condemned Denny's, when she says this. I was like, oooh, I can't wait to see what Cleo's got in store for Lotte. Seriously, someone cue the makeover montage. Unfortunately, Lotte refuses to hand over the names of her boss's clients. Which is a freakin' shame. Or was it? Think about it. Lotte doesn't need a makeover. Her glasses, her hair, her mousey clothes are pretty much perfect. In other words, I wouldn't change a damn thing. As for Cleo. She's the last person who should be giving fashion and style advice. I mean, for starters, look at that mane of unkempt hair sitting atop her head. It's a fucking mess. Um, hello? Helena Bonham Carter called. She wants her hairdo back. Zing!
If you're wondering if this film is in anyway connected to Doris Wishman's Satan Was a Lady from mid-1970s. You can stop right this minute. Other than the fact that they're both directed by Doris Wishman, the film's have nothing really in common. (So... why do they have the same title?) Your guess is as good as mine. It does make sense, if you think about it. Who else would remake their own movie some thirty years later and have them be totally different movies? I'll tell you who, Doris Wishman.
While it was somewhat troubling to see a Doris Wishman film that employs live sound (most of her classic films were shot without sound), you can still see subtle flourishes here and there that prove that she's still got it.
Got what, I'm not quite sure. But it's blatantly obvious whose behind the camera. This sleazy exploitation noir/musical practically oozes Doris Wishman at times.
While the production design isn't as gaudy or as heinous as it is in her other films. The furniture, the wall art and the decor in general is still pretty egregious. And, of course, I mean that in the nicest way possible. If I want to see uninspired production design, I'll watch any random porno film made during the last fifteen years. On the other hand, if I want to see furnishings that will make me gag by simply looking in their general direction, I'll watch a Doris Wishman film.
And, judging by the words I'm currently typing, it looks like I just did. It's just too bad every other film I watch couldn't be a Doris Wishman film, as they are simply better than most of the crap I watch. Okay, maybe "better" isn't the right word. But they're definitely more interesting.
Take, for example, the way Glyn Styler combs his hair. It's a thousand times more interesting than 99% of the stuff I see in most movies. I ain't kidding around. In fact, I would put Glyn Styler's floppy side part up there with the likes of Kyle MacLachlan's floppy side part from Showgirls. (Didn't you say that just the mere sight of Kyle MacLachlan's floppy side part in Showgirls gave you a yeast infection?) Yeah, so? (Aren't yeast infections bad?) Are you kidding me? I would kill for a yeast infection, especially one that was induced by a floppy side part.
Speaking of Showgirls, the strip club scenes are a real hoot and a half. Mainly because the strippers strip in reverse. That's right, they start off naked, and slowly put their clothes on... to the cool, hip, way-out songs of Glyn Styler.
In case I forget, the plot basically about a Miami whore who dreams of buying a fur coat. Wait. There's got to be more to it than that. Let's me see. A Miami whore, low on funds, decides to blackmail one of her clients in order to buy a fur coat. Um, yeah, that's pretty much it. Of course, this plan of hers hits a few roadblocks along the way; she eventually turns her attention to her clients' son (Hans Lohl, a.k.a. the worst actor ever). But that's the gist of it. Oh, and the actor who plays the client the Miami whore is blackmailing is called "Edge." No, not The Edge, just Edge. Is that crazy or what?
As far as other Doris Wishman-fostered anomalies go. I would say the cat with bum paw and lesbian strip club bartender were my favourite. The sight of Cleo's cat limping around her shitty apartment will break your heart. And while there's nothing really that odd about a lesbian strip club bartender, the part where she's turned down by that sun-baked whore with the long blonde braids was kinda off. I mean, what kind of person says no to what will surly be a night of super-wild lesbian sex? It makes no sense.
Oh, and who wears fur in Miami?!? Though, it does explain why Cleo's hair looks like an abandoned bird's nest most of time. (Huh?) The humid weather in Miami isn't exactly hair-friendly. (Oh.)
Anyway, Doris Wishman, who was pushing 90 when she made this, proves that you're never too old to make sleazy trash. Oh, and Glyn Styler rocks.