“I must try to act as though nothing is the matter.”
Pull up an armchair and prepare yourself for a DVD double sleazefest from writer/director Doris Wishman. These two outrageous 60s sexploitation cult dramas are a campy dream. First there’s Bad Girls Go To Hell (1965). Housewife Meg Kelton (Gigi Darlene)–naturally wearing just some black lacy underwear–meets a janitor on the stairs. He drags her off to his apartment, and attacks her. Later he threatens to tell her husband–and well … she’s forced to bludgeon him to death. Next thing you know, she’s on the run in New York. But what happens to any nice innocent housewife who has no money and just a suitcase to her name? It’s not long before she’s picked up and exploited by every strange person in New York. Abused and misused, she spins from apartment to apartment in this tawdry tacky fall from housewifely bliss.
In the second feature Another Day, Another Man (1966) Ann (Barbi Kemp) moves into an apartment with her hubbie Steve (Tony Gregory). After eating her spaghetti and meatballs, he falls mysteriously ill and is bedridden for months. Since Steve is the breadwinner, it doesn’t take long before poor Ann is off “entertaining” men and raking in $200 a week. She’s aided and abetted in her fall from grace by Meg (Gigi Darlene) and Bert (Sam Stewart).
The moral to both stories is essentially the same–outside of that nice little housewife role, the world is a dangerous, sick place, and director/writer Doris Wishman is right there to show us just how sick and depraved the world can be. Wishman’s eccentric style adds to the fun here. In one scene for example, two girls start yawning and declare it’s time to go to bed. Normally the girls would exit to their respective bedrooms–not so in a Wishman film. The two girls strip slowly in the living room. Just as you think this scene is an excuse to see women in their underwear (and you could be right), the camera shoots off of the lingerie, and settles on something else … a plant … an ashtray … the furniture. At other times, the camera spins around cleavage, diving in and out for frantic close-ups. For some scenes, Wishman films feet with disembodied voices. There’s a lot of grunting and groaning, but naughty doings are implied rather than actually filmed. One thing you can count here on is women with big beehive hairstyles, fake eyelashes, lace body suits, those big 60s knickers and push up bras. While the acting is equally appalling in both films Another Day, Another Man is my favourite. Perhaps it was the nasty hair pulling girl fight. Or perhaps it’s the naughty twins clad in black see-through peignoirs falling on Meg’s “hayseed” boyfriend as he struggles to crawl out of their apartment.
This DVD from Something Weird video is a bargain price for anyone who wants to wallow in a Wishman festival–it’s loaded. Apart from the two “roughies”, there’s the standard Something Weird intro (and this has to be seen to be believed), Let’s Go to the Drive-In! (over 3 hours long), trailers for other Wishman films, an adult book pitch, and last but not least a Doris Wishman Gallery of Exploitation Art. If you want a good intro to the Works of Doris Wishman, this DVD (from the middle of her career) is a good place to start. You’ll either love it or hate it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.