Hellfire Video Club presents
Doris Wishman/ 1968/1975/ USA/ 71mins/ 75mins/ No cert (over 18s only)
Fri 27 October // 20:00
Tickets: £5 (full)
Doris Wishman was a legend in her own time, and time has been kind to her. Tonight Hellfire Video Club pays tribute to the one and only deadly Doris. All your WISHES come true with this double bill of peak-era peculiarities.
Deciding to get into filmmaking after becoming widowed in her 40s, trailblazer Doris quickly became a DIY one-woman cheapo filmmaking industry unto herself, carving a niche in the (then new) nudie-cutie genre with titles such as 'Nude on the Moon'. As censorship goalposts shifted through the late 60s, she moved with the times into the 'roughie' genre (at this point basically sex dramas reflecting/exploiting the whims of neurotic men), soon finding herself in the unique position of being the most prolific female sexploitation director in the field.
Self-taught, and with a deeply eccentric style which has won her fans the world over, Doris' oddball emissions to the world have so much to offer for lovers of the bizarre, groovy and trashy, and now stand as unique time capsules into a long-forgotten world of American sexploitation cinema. Sexual politics of the time being as they were, Doris' pics can hardly be called feminist, but they do offer a uniquely female perspective in a genre overrun with aggressively masculine archetypes (and worse). Plus, the peculiar visual delights on offer - tawdry but appealing monochrome in the 60s, a riot of garish colour in the 70s, are something to behold.
Many of Doris’ creations play like despatches from a weird dream zone where characters just move about through space and time with no rhyme or reason, and this is no exception.
An archetypal creepy loner finds himself inexplicably attracted to a doll he finds in a dustbin, taking it home to fondle and ogle over. After spying NYC secretary Ann at a crossing, he develops an inexplicable psychic link between the doll and Ann, meaning every time he touches the doll Ann feels his mucky touch. What will happen? WHY will it happen? Why DOES it happen? This film will answer none of these questions, and more! And less! All at the same time!
It's the mid 70s, and Doris has obtained a slightly bigger budget than before. This enables her to consider shooting outside the confines of her own house. So here's the colour!!! Swimming Pools. Thick red shag-pile carpets and billowing curtains. We're in 'glamorous' Miami, and three young women are being told they are in fact, sisters. Whatsmore, they are the beneficiaries of their (unknown to them) 'secret agent' mother's fortune. But first they must find her killer, and avenge her death! There's a whole bunch of sleazy unpleasant men to question/interrogate/seduce (at random, seemingly). It's a girl gang! Except it's not, as only one of them seems to actually do much in the way of investigating - the others preferring to sit around the pool seducing gardeners with bananas, or just excusing themselves from the film entirely for half of its run time. It's kind of like Doris' take on a Giallo, or maybe a Charlie's Angels for the sexploitation set? However you wish to describe it, there's a whole load of sex, a whole load of bewilderment, and a whole load of fun. All hail Doris!