Remembering the grand dame of American sexploitation films
Doris Wishman, the most prolific woman filmmaker of all time, died on August 10, 2002 in Miami, after a long battle with cancer (lymphoma). She was still making production notes and joking that she was writing the screenplay for another film within days of her passing. “After I die I will be making movies in hell!” Wishman quipped several times. Most of her 30 films were sexploitation films with a few exceptions. She made films that played double and triple bills at drive-in movie theaters, 42nd Street grind houses, and theatres specializing in adults only features. She made 26 features between 1959 and 1977. The 27th feature, a gory horror film, was released in 1983. After a long semi-retirement Wishman made three more films between 1999 and 2002.
Wishman was an innovative low budget filmmaker. Her directing, editing and marketing of her films was all self-taught and almost all of her films were self-produced. Wishman’s films often featured hand held tracking shots that would be interrupted by cutaways to bizarre shots of ashtrays, bric-a-brac, and characters’ knees, hands, and feet. It was easier to dub voices into her films if she didn’t have to worry about matching the actors’ (and non-actors’) lips to the dialogue. Her cutaways were not only creative cost saving devices, she sometimes used them to build suspense or display a dark quirky sense of humor.
Doris Wishman lied about her age and it was recently discovered by her nephew, Norman Wishman, that she was born on July 23, 1912. She was 90 years old at the time of her death. Michael Bowen has been working on an extensive and comprehensive biography of Wishman for nearly four years. “She liked to make up stories about herself and make things even more exciting and interesting than they really were,” he explained. “She can also be a very difficult person to deal with sometimes,” he said several months ago when I was trying to co-ordinate an interview with Wishman for a magazine article.
Doris was the cousin of low budget film producer Max Rosenberg (he was one of the founders of Britain’s Amicus Films), but she carved out her own career completely on her own. She made her first film (Hideout in the Sun) in 1959, the year after she became a widow. This film had a strong influence on prolific exploitation producer Dave Friedman and the entire exploitation industry in general. Friedman would eventually produce the H. Gordon Lewis-directed classics, Blood Feast (1963), Color Me Blood Red (1964) and 2000 Maniacs (1964). Friedman and Wishman were in some ways competitors but also wound up being friends.
Wishman’s best-known films are Nude on the Moon (1960), Bad Girls Go to Hell (1965), Deadly Weapons (1973), and Double Agent 73 (1974). Her last commercially distributed film released was 1983’s A Night to Dismember (now available as an Elite DVD with the only commentary track she ever recorded). However she completed two more films, Satan Was a Lady (2001) and Dildo Heaven (also known as Desperate Desires, 2002) and was in postproduction on a third film, Each Time I Kill, at the time of her death. This last film features cameos by Fred Schneider of The B-52s, former 1980s scream queen Linnea Quigley and, if all goes according to plan, John Waters will still film his planned cameo as well. It was right after principal photography on the film ended in June, that the seriousness of Wishman’s lymphoma was discovered and she began intensive chemotherapy treatment in an effort to prolong her life. “Unfortunately the chemotherapy was too much for her to take and there was all kinds of complications,” Bowen said. She was not able to speak during the last couple of weeks of her life, but Wishman scribbled notes to family, friends and doctors. She also wrote instructions on how she expected the film to be finished.
The eight ‘nudie cuties’ she made from the late ’50s and early ’60s are naïve, dated films, while the ‘roughie’ films which Wishman helped pioneer were usually extremely misogynistic (slightly less so in Wishman’s own films) and violent, and the soft core films of the ’70s were the fore-runners of the direct to video erotic film or what is often referred to as the ‘Skin-emax’ cable movies. These are not in the same league as hardcore porno films.
Wishman for years denied she ever directed any X rated films but she as much admitted in interviews and certainly in conversations to others that she might have had something to do with the x-rated Satan Was a Lady in 1975 and Come with Me, My Love in 1976 (see Filmography).
“These two pictures were NOT made by Doris….”, explains C. Davis Smith, a good friend and the cinematographer on 17 of Doris’ 30 films, “…or at least that’s what she told people for many years. I, however, was there behind the camera with Doris at my elbow – she’s short you know. One thing though, Doris would not shoot the explicit scenes. She would say, ‘Go ahead and do what you have to!’ retiring to another room until we told her we were done shooting.”
“My Aunt Doris was the baby in a family of five children, three girls and two boys,” explained 77-year-old Norman Wishman. “My father was next to the oldest. My Aunt Pearl is the only one left. I think she’s 94 and lives in Coral Gables, Florida, where Doris also resided. There were two sides to my Aunt Doris. She was very family devoted, and was on call whenever she was needed. Very rarely talked about her movies. That’s why my sister and I were surprised of how many people loved her. My sister, Sheila Lipitz (70), who lives in Miami, told me if she and Doris were eating in a diner, little kids somehow were attracted to my Aunt, and would come over to their table. There was just that ‘something’ that was in her body language.”
It was Pearl who lent Doris Wishman the $10,000 needed to make her first film. The money was paid back and most of Doris’ films were made from then on through a combination of personal funds and credit, at least until A Night to Dismember.
Wishman did not just film ‘nature girls (and boys)’ in a nudist colony, but instead created a plot, and character. Yes, the characters liked to watch nudists play volleyball and swim, but Wishman revolutionized and suggested how to almost legitimize the adult’s only sexploitation film. She loved the process of making movies, writing outlandish plots, experimenting with camera angles and figuring out how to put it all together in the editing room. She tried to make decent films that offered the audience something a little different, even if she didn’t have even a fraction of the money she needed to succeed. Few filmmakers made so much with so little.
She was also a woman making films in the utterly male-dominated sub-genre of exploitation, in the already male-dominated film business. She wasn’t working for a man, nor given a film by a studio head who believed having a woman direct an exploitation movie was a great gimmick. In fact often Doris used her husband’s name or made up a male name rather than use her own. Independent low-budget exploitation, and sexploitation filmmakers were also concerned with censorship laws as several parts of the country enforced their blue laws while others were inconsistent regarding their own local ordinances and the still-enforced Hayes Code. Wishman found the money to make her movies, produced nearly all of them, wrote, directed, cast and often edited them as well. She turned down offers to work with her cousin (Rosenberg), or as a director for Dave Friedman, Sam Lake and others. She made her films exactly the way she wanted to make them. Sometimes she had to get tough and collect money from exhibitors as well. She was also one of the few low budget filmmakers who paid her bills on time and had a reputation for being trustworthy and honest. She might have made nudie cuties, roughies, and sleazy soft-core movies, but there was nothing sleazy about Doris’ character or business practices. She was tough, salty, full of quirks and idiosyncrasies, but she was a smart, sharp, authentic, self-made businesswoman and artist — all 4 feet, 11 inches of her.
Artist? Yes, artist. Her love for the process of making films led her to explore techniques, and ideas that were original, innovative and artistic – intentionally artistic. She never worked with a budget substantial enough to use her ideas in a mainstream film, but others took her ideas, techniques, and innovations and created entire careers with them. You might be surprised to learn how many independent filmmakers actually studied a Wishman film or two. Corman, Friedman, Larry Cohen, Carpenter, Waters, and many others have been inspired by her work.
Doris Wishman is not merely the Grand Dame of bargain basement sexploitation films, she is the Godard of low-budget genre films. She carved out a new way of looking at film and pursued new possibilities with the medium, in a completely original and groundbreaking way that will one day be recognized as important as the contributions of the Italian Neo-Realists, French New Wave, or the American Independents of the 1970’s.
Her films can of course be enjoyed in the same way that films by Ed Wood, Phil Tucker, Ray Dennis Steckler or Ted V. Mikels can be enjoyed — but there is more to a Wishman film than there is to most. Doris was not blinded by her ambitions or deluded into believing she was making superb low budget films. She never believed her films were very good in the grand scheme of things — but she knew they could be sold to an audience and later in life she was more than delighted at how many people truly enjoyed her films.
Doris Wishman challenged the common notion of what a low budget (or no budget) exploitation film was and what it could be. Her films might have had nudity and violence in them, but few would call them sexy films. Her mise-en-scène is unique, original and, while born of some fiscal necessity, it is groundbreaking enough that there should be little hesitation in mentioning her name alongside Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker or David Lynch as a filmmaker whose technique and experimentation broadened the horizon of film language and art. Wishman’s career itself paved the way for woman directors such as Agnès Varda, Catherine Breillat, Lina Wertmuller, Gilliam Armstrong and others. Doris invented herself as a filmmaker and was in complete control of all but one of her films (Satan Was a Lady ) from pre-production through post-production and often chased film distributors and exhibitors for her money. Few men and fewer women have ever maintained the consistent control over their work and career as Wishman did. She made her films for a specific marketplace but created definite subversive subtexts that were statements on the exploitation of woman. In most of her films, Wishman twisted male ideals of female sexuality and male fantasies in previously unimaginable ways. Her long and mostly successful career in the utterly male-dominated world of exploitation films was itself an important statement and inspiration to filmmakers who must overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and handicaps to get their projects finished. Although Wishman did not define herself as feminist, she was a pioneer and succeeded over and over again in the mostly male-dominated film business as only a handful of women were ‘allowed’ to produce or direct films prior to the 1960s. Wishman didn’t wait for any chances, she simply borrowed money from her sister Pearl and started making films and, in the end, made more films than any woman has ever made before.
When Smith first met Doris in 1964, he had not seen any of her films. The market was changing and the naïve era of the nudie cuties was over. Smith explained, “…she was going with the market and the viewing audience wanted ‘roughies’…she asked me how I felt about photographing nude women and I told her ‘it was my favorite past-time.’ So we joined forces and that year, 1964, we made Bad Girls Go to Hell and The Sex Perils of Paulette (1965).
“I’m told by archivists and historians that I worked on 17 features for Doris,” Smith continued, “I know that I shot footage that appeared in other ‘Doris’ films on which I received no credits. But it was the way I earned a living, my job. My philosophy was, and still is, ‘I don’t care who gets the credit as long as I get the check!’ Doris had much the same philosophy. Although she did all the work on the films she produced… writing, directing and editing… she made up names for the screen credits so that it would look like a bigger picture.”
Two of Doris’ best known films – Deadly Weapons and Double Agent 73 – are ones she made with a stripper named Chesty Morgan, who was endowed with one of the largest (73 inch) busts ever exposed on camera.
“Although a lot of people don’t know it Deadly Weapons and Double Agent 73 were shot at the same time.” Smith explained. “Doris had filmed a bunch of sequences with Chesty Morgan but had not been able to complete the film with her original cameraman. I was working on more lucrative projects at the time she called me but I agreed to complete the shooting with her. These are two of the pictures on which I received no credit…but I did get the cash. Doris, unlike a lot of the producers in the business, always made a point of paying at the end of the day or the end of the shoot.”
Wishman was originally going to do three films with Chesty Morgan. But Morgan believed she should be treated like a star and was also constantly showing up on the set very late. After Morgan cost them nearly one full shooting day with her tardiness, Wishman had enough of the Polish stripper. Wishman decided to make the sequel to Double Agent 73, without Morgan. She didn’t need the aggravation. In the first scene of The Immortal Three (1975), a character playing Agent 73 is killed and three new characters are introduced at her funeral. “This was the Daughters of Double Agent 73.” Smith said. “The Immoral Three was shot in New York, Miami and Vegas. Now that’s film making!”
By the 1970s, the market place was changing. Doris did not want to make hard-core porno movies and the market for soft-core sexploitation was disappearing. In 1978 she made the remarkable Let Me Die a Woman, a dramatized pseudo-documentary about transsexuals, featuring some rather gruesome footage of actual sex-change operations. In the late ’70s, there were still enough grind-house and drive-in theaters around for her to make a little money off her past features, however to continue making movies, Wishman would have to again change genres.
In 1978, Halloween (directed by John Carpenter) became a huge independent hit and ushered in the era of low budget slasher films. In this milieu, Wishman decided to make a horror film. She didn’t particularly like the horror genre, but she knew she could sell it to the marketplace. She cast porno actress Samantha Fox as the lead and began shooting A Night to Dismember in 1979.
The film wound up being a fairly incomprehensible mess, but in this case it was not the fault of the director. The film was nearly finished and was at a processing lab when the lab declared bankruptcy and dismissed all of its employees. A disgruntled worker vandalized the facility and in the process destroyed footage from several films. More than 50 percent of the original negative of Dismember was destroyed. Wishman had raised money for the film by pre-selling it to distributors and exhibitors. It was thought Wishman’s reputation was solid and the risk was minimal so they gave her money to finance the film’s production. Unfortunately Doris had spent the money she had received making the film and she owed several people a movie. She didn’t have money to re-shoot the film or pay people back, so she took some alternate takes and odds and ends and bits and pieces from other films and put the film back together as best she could. She shot two or three new scenes as well. It took her nearly eight months to fix and finish the film. The film was minimally released in 1983. Granted, it is a mess of a film but fascinating to watch nonetheless. In fact, it is unlike any other low budget slasher/horror film you’ll ever see. A couple of the gore effects are quite effective, while most wind up being pretty funny. It might be confusing, cheap, sleazy, exploitative, gory, inane and cheap – but it is by no means boring.
C. Davis Smith remembers the film: “A lot of people say that it is the worst ‘Doris’ picture ever made. Unfortunately, I’ll have to agree. But there’s the story that half the negative got ruined in the lab and Doris had to reconstruct the film from what she had left, re-writing and re-editing and even shooting new footage with a new leading
Wishman was unhappy with the experience and she decided it was time to retire from the film business. So she moved from New York to Florida to be with her sister Pearl. Doris figured she and her films would soon be forgotten. Her time in the sun had passed and she convinced herself she could be content and happy without making movies.
However her still-growing base of cult movie fans wanted to see Doris. As she began thinking about starting a new film, she was the subject of a profile on The Incredibly Strange Film Show. More cult film fans discovered her films. Wishman decided to make another film (Dildo Heaven). She would shoot it on video in Florida and work on it as she had the money to do so. For several years Doris wrote, and then she filmed the majority of the film, but did not have the money to edit and finish it.
Elite was restoring a print of A Night to Dismember and re-united C. Davis Smith and Doris Wishman to record the now legendary commentary track for the DVD release of the film. “I’ve been asked by people who have heard the commentary if I knew how many times Doris called me an ‘idiot’ during the DVD commentary track,” C. Davis Smith explained. “Well, it’s all a muddle! I stopped counting after the umpteenth time …. maybe a million?”
The money Doris was paid for the DVD release was enough to do some editing on what would become Dildo Heaven. While editing, Doris met a struggling film producer, Beau Gillespie, who was trying to complete his own film, Pueblo Sin Suerte (2002). Doris and Beau talked about movies and before long Doris was telling Beau several ideas she had for a film. Beau liked one that Doris called ‘Satan Was a Lady’ even though the title had been used in the past for one of the porno films Doris made. He convinced Doris that he would produce and raise the money for the film. Doris planned on using the money she made to finish Dildo Heaven.
Wishman died an untimely death. Recently, David B. Wilson, a fan of Wishman, began a website dedicated to her and was working with her to sell videos and collectibles to raise money to make movies. Producer Beau Gillespie was working with Doris on casting the new film (Gillespie would wind up doing the final edit on the film and releasing it on his own DVD label).
Honey Lauren agreed to play the lead in Satan Was a Lady after meeting Gillespie and Wishman. The shoot lasted about two weeks and Wishman shot the film in 35mm with sync sound in several Miami locations. “Doris was constantly changing the script and coming up with new ideas,” Lauren said. “And we would rehearse the new ideas before we shot, which I really liked. Doris would sometimes act out all the parts in this over-the top melodramatic way. She was such a wonderful drama queen. Then she would sometimes stop and add something else to script. It was such an interesting exciting way to work.
Of Wishman, Gillespie said:
“She was tough, willful and tireless. She would not be deterred. She worked at it until she just ran out of steam. Her trump card was that precocious, impudent, dirty-minded little girl imagination: romantic and sentimental with a delicious touch of cruelty — a great asset for an artist. Once, regarding a prop, she asked, ‘Do you know how many people I’ve killed with that ashtray?’ I was infatuated with her. I wanted to strangle her. I will miss her intensely. I owed her another cup of coffee, and a lot more.”
Doris Wishman attended the world premiere of Satan Was a Lady in March 2001, She then finished editing Dildo Heaven, which had its official world premiere at the New York Underground Film Festival in early 2002. Then, after more than a 21-year hiatus, Wishman re-united for the 17th time with cinematographer C. Davis Smith, to begin shooting Each Time I Kill in May 2002.
Michael Bowen, who has been a close friend of Wishman, the line producer on Each Time I Kill, as well as writing an extensive biography on her, helped verify and correct some information for this article. “I can not begin to tell you how much she will be missed by a great many people who worked with her over the years,” he said. “She could be very, very difficult at times, but she had so much energy and love for making films she would wear absolutely everyone around her out, and I’m not just saying that. I mean quite frankly this little 80+ year old woman would run circles around every single person on the crew.” Bowen was strongly encouraging several editors and writers earlier this year to interview Doris Wishman. “She was terrible at marketing herself and her projects. Once she was done with a film she was ready right away to move on to the next one. I tried to help her out when I could.”
I was about to interview Wishman in April, for Cult Cuts Magazine but Doris suddenly got very busy making what would be her last film, Each Time I Kill. She probably knew she had very little time left (though she kept the seriousness of her cancer a secret from almost everyone) and so she devoted her energies almost exclusively to finishing the film. She was still willing to be interviewed for an article, but only if I was able to come talk to her and hang out with her in person while she was shooting her film in and around Miami and Coral Gables, Florida. At the time, Doris seemed immortal, and I couldn’t afford the trip on my own and the magazine didn’t have any budget for such expenses. We would do the interview later on.
So, as Doris Wishman would have done (if she needed another shot for a film and her star wasn’t available) we’ll just have to proceed without her actual participation. Perhaps I’ll pretend Doris’ hand is beside that ashtray over there as I type up this article. Doris Wishman, in her polka dot dress; big sunglasses; glass of orange juice, barking orders and giving praises in her distinctive New York accent, will be remembered not just for her innovative techniques, and original style, but also as a pioneer, and a trail blazer for women filmmakers throughout the world.
“Doris said many times that when she dies she will be making films in hell,” said C. Davis Smith. “Damn, I guess that means I’ll have to finish doing the uncredited cinematography on another batch of features for Doris.”
Hideout in the Sun (1960)
Directed by Doris Wishman (credited as ‘Lazarus Wolk’, a derivation of the cameraman’s name). Written by DW. Produced by DW and Martin Kaplan. Camera: Larry Wolk. Featuring: Karl Bauer, Dolores Carlos, Greg Conrad, Mary Line, Carol Little, Pat Reilly, Ann Richards. Color, Astor Films.
Doris claimed her first feature film was shot mostly at The Sunny Palms Lodge in Homestead Florida – a famous nudist colony (and where a lot of the original footage in Doris’ first eight pictures was shot). However Doris’ first two films were not actually shot in the nudist colony at all (according to her biographer Michael Bowen). Doris lied about this for legal reasons. The loose plot concerns two bank-robbing brothers who kidnap a girl, who winds up leading them to a nudist colony, where they hide out, watch nudists play volleyball, swim etc. Credits on several Wishman films are misleading. Doris wore several hats: producer/co-producer, director, writer, and she usually supervised and directed all of the editing on her movies. Note: on this film Wishman decided to use a pseudonym of cameraman Larry Wolk as a credit for the director. She supervised the shooting and post-production on this film. Sometimes she used her name, sometimes others’ (such as her second husband Louis Silverman’s). She did this for various reasons but mostly to make the picture as marketable as possible and to make it appear more people were involved in the film. From the original advertisement: “Escape to a modern Garden of Paradise where Nature’s sun-kissed daughters walk forth in all their natural beauty!” (1)
Nude on the Moon (1960)
Directed by Doris Wishman (as Anthony Brooks). Written by DW (as Doris Chasnik). Produced by DW. Featuring: Lester Brown, William Mayer, Pat Reilly, Marietta, Shelby Livingston, Joyce Brooks, Ralph Young, Doc Severinsen. Color. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc. Also known as Moon Dolls or Girls on the Moon.
Doris’ second feature was filmed partly at The Coral Castle (in Homestead, Florida), which is a sprawling mansion, built from Coral rocks and has an interesting history itself. The film concerns the exploits of two rocket scientists who blast off to the moon in a toy rocket ship. A three million dollar inheritance financed the expedition. They sit right next to each other but talk to each other via radio mikes and headphones, and they sleep through their landing. When they get out of the rocket shop in goofy pajama-type outfits, they find an area on the moon that looks a lot like a nudist camp in Florida. The woman are topless with bathing suit bottoms, they have fuzzy pipe cleaner antennas and speak telepathically to each other. Wishman makes a cameo in the first scene. You’ll see a theater marquee’ that says ‘Hideout in the Sun’ on it. Shelby Livingston is one of the moon cuties and would later have a bigger part in H.G. Lewis’ 2000 Maniacs (1964) as the gal who gets her arm axed off. Ralph Young (of Sandler and Young) sings “Moon Doll” backed by a young Doc Severinsen (not seen) and his band (words and music by Judith J. Kushner). – (2) and (3)
Diary of a Nudist (1961)
Directed by Doris Wishman. Screenplay by Melvin Stanley (which might be a Doris Wishman pseudonym). Produced by DW. Camera: Raymond Phelan. Featuring: Davee Decker, Norman Casserly, Dolores Carlos, Joan Bamford, Maria Stinger, Allison Louise Downe, Harry W. Stinger, Charles Allen, Ronald M. Ziegler. Color. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc. Also known as Nature Camp Confidential.
A newspaper editor is outraged that a nudist camp is located just 60 miles outside of town so he sends a blonde ace reporter to do an expose on the place. The reporter however enjoys frolicking in the buff and writes a positive piece about the place. The editor fires her and goes to nudist colony to do his own exposé. Of course he winds up charmed by the nudist life and it all ends happily ever after. A naïve, innocent and very hokey nudie cutie. From the advertisements: “Woman Reporter Poses as Nudist!”, “Live as a Nudist with utmost Gorgeous Campers in the World.”, “To write this story she had to live it !“ (2) and (3)
Blaze Starr Goes Nudist (1962)
Directed by Doris Wishman. Screenplay by Melvin Stanley (which might be a Doris Wishman pseudonym). Produced by DW. Camera: Raymond Phelan. Featuring: Blaze Starr, Russ Martine (Ralph Young), Gene Berk, William Mayer, Sandra Sinclair, Stephen Bloom, Allison Louise Downe, Joan Bamford, Lee Abel, James Antonio, Warrene Gray, Richard Johnson (XIII), Mary Jo Walls (Wells), Craig Maudslay Jr., Dolores K. Norris and Doris Wishman. Color. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc. Also known as Blaze Starr: The Original or Back to Nature, Blaze Starr Goes Wild.
Blaze Starr, the redheaded stripper who was once involved with Louisiana Governor Earl Long, escapes from her grueling nightclub work and her somewhat sleazy agent/fiancé (with a drawn on moustache) by ducking into a movie theater playing a movie about nudism. She checks into Sunny Palms and loves the life of nude checkers, volleyball and naked archery! The underwater footage is ‘borrowed’ from Diary of a Nudist. She falls for the accordion-playing camp director Andy played by Ralph Young (though he’s billed as Russ Martine), of Sandler and Young, who sings the theme song backed by a young Doc Severinsen and his band. Eventually the agent/manager crashes the party of course. From the advertisements: “A starlet during the week, a Nature-Girl EVERY weekend!”, “A Nudist Starr is Born!”. (2) and (3)
Gentlemen Prefer Nature Girls (1962)
Directed by Doris Wishman. Screenplay by Melvin Stanley (which might be a Doris Wishman pseudonym). Produced by DW. Camera: Raymond Phelan. Featuring: Lou Alexion, William Mayer, Sandra Sinclair, Stephen Bloom, Joan Bamford, Lee Abel, James Antonio, Warrene Gray, Richard Johnson (XIII), Mary Jo Wells, Craig Maudslay Jr., Dolores K. Norris and Doris Wishman. Color. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc.
Anne and Tom work in a real estate office. They are married and nudists. When the boss finds out Tom is a nudist he is fired right before he closes a big deal with Al Jenkins. Tom goes to the Sunny Palms Lodge nudist camp to forget his troubles and takes over as temporary nudist camp director. Al Jenkins turns out to be a member and they decide to get the boss and Anne to the nudist camp to close the big deal. The boss is pretty upset at first but is given the tour of the nudist life-style nude volleyball, basketball, teeter-totter, archery and naked landscape design and… well it’s a happy ending. From the advertisements: “The elemental beauty of nature… so intimate, so revealing!”, “See what working girls do after a hard day at the office!” (2)
Playgirls International (1963)
Directed by Doris Wishman. Written by Cy Eichman (which might be Doris Wishman pseudonym). Produced by DW. Camera: Raymond Phelan. Featuring: Betty Andrews, Kenneth Andres, Sylvia Bayner, Sam Butera, Janice Coughlin, Leslie Daniels, Louis Prima, Martha J. Pryor, Lee Sinclair, Harry W. Stinger, Maria Stinger, Eileen Traynor, Betsi Warton. Color. Wishman Productions/Westfield Productions Inc.
Leslie Daniels narrates this international mondo-sexy dancing ‘documentary’ which shows sexy dancing in several countries in Europe, Japan, Hawaii and Mexico. It features a lady magician in Hamburg, a Parisian dance routine, and Louis Prima’s Las Vegas twist show (featuring Sam Butera and the Witnesses). At the end, nudists in Sunny Palms Lodge dance The Twist, the Hula and an Apache War Dance. From the advertisements: “A whirling twirling panorama of Nature’s Playgirls in a new dimension!” (Note: information on this film compiled from press kits which included plot synopsis – no known prints in circulation.)
Behind the Nudist Curtain (1964)
Directed by Doris Wishman. Written by DW (as Cy Eichman). Produced by DW. Camera: Raymond Phelan. Featuring: Betty Andrews, Lee Abell, Janice Coughlin, Leslie Daniels, William Mayer, Martha J. Pryor, Sandra Sinclair, Harry W. Stinger, Maria Stinger, Betsi Warton. Color. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc.
A Private Eye named Sam is relaxing at a nudist camp (that he is also trying to buy from the owner) when he gets an assignment to find international spy Mr. X, who receives information from night club entertainers around the world. Sam travels to Vegas, Hong Kong, Thailand, Paris, Haiti, Mexico, Hawaii, Berlin and Tokyo, watching lovely women perform, solves the case and stops back at his favorite nudist camp. From the advertisements: “It’s all new, and oh, so intimate…a private eye’s discovery of what makes Nature Girls tick!”, “Filmed around the World and in Florida’s Leading Nature Camps!” (Note: information on this film compiled from press kits which included plot synopsis – no known prints in circulation.
The Prince and the Nature Girl (1964)
Directed by Doris Wishman. Featuring: Lee Abel, Sandy Sinclair, June Roberts, Jeffrey Niles, Warrene Gray, Barbi Taylor, Stephen Bloom, Dolores K. Norris, Ingrid Martinsen, Shirley Perratto. Color. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc.
The leader of a mythical kingdom falls in love with a beautiful nudist from Ohio, who has a twin (disguised in a wig). Filmed in Florida and New Jersey. From the advertisements: “A kingdom of girls is yours to behold!”, “You’ll flush, you’ll blush, your head will spin when you frolic with the fairest maidens this side of Heaven!”, “It’s all New. What a Paradise…What a Fascinating Adventure!” (Note: actual on screen credits were not verified for this listing).
The Sex Perils of Paulette (1965)
Directed by Doris Wishman. Written by DW (as Dawn Whitman). Produced by DW. Cinematography: C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Anna Karol, Alan Feinstein, Tony Lo Bianco, Susan Stewart, Darlene Bennett, Pamela Fields, Bob Oran, Darlene Cotton, Barry Lane, Marlene Starr, Tracy Lee, Sam Stewart and Doris Wishman as the Narrator. B&W. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc. Also known as Paulette.
Paulette from Ohio is searching for fame and fortune in the big apple and moves in with Tracy (Wishman regular Darlene Bennett) who says she is a model and will help Paulette get into the business. Tracy takes all of Paulette’s money for rent and then insists she goes to a swinging party where she meets Sam (Wishman heavy Sam Stewart) who is not a theatrical agent but a pimp. Paulette is shocked with the near nakedness of the partygoers and the striptease she watches. She tries to get Tracy to give back her rent money, but Tracy laughs in her face. Paulette false in love with nice guy Allan (Lo Bianco) and they of course walk in Central Park. But after losing her job as a waitress and getting stood up by a movie producer, Paulette winds up working as a hooker. She’s even beat up by a sadist (Wishman bald guy regular Bob Oran). It was a move to what was called the ‘roughies’ for Wishman, and her first film with C. Davis Smith. It’s a film full of interesting, somewhat bizarre editing manipulations, and includes Wishman’s own narration. Some of the mise-en-scène and editing matches the narration, some are jump cuts in time and some bend linear logic. With this film, a Wishman style began to emerge, one independent from financial considerations. From the advertisements: “The WILD get-togethers of a SEX conscious generation”, “You had to go all the way if you wanted to belong!”, “The film that dares to be different.” (2)
Bad Girls Go to Hell (1965)
Directed by Doris Wishman. Written by DW (as Dawn Whitman). Produced by DW. Cinematography: C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Gigi Darlene, Harold Key, George la Rocque, Sandee Norman, Barnard L. Sacket, Marlene Starr, Darlene Bennett, Sam Stewart. B&W. Juri Productions/JER Pictures Inc/Sam Lake Enterprises Inc.
An obvious blueprint for early John Waters films. Here is Doris Wishman’s first official ‘roughie’. Meg is a housewife in either Boston or Chicago, who, after making love with her husband, takes a shower and then is attacked by a buck toothed janitor. She kills him with a bowl. We get a dead man’s POV shot of the bowl. Meg arrives via bus to the Big Apple, changing her name to Ellen Green, and she says she is from Chicago. There are close ups of feet, and we hear birds too loudly chirping on the soundtrack when we go to Central Park. A friendly guy takes a sip of alcohol and starts beating Meg/Ellen with a belt. A newspaper headline states: “Police seek blonde suspect in Boston murder!” Ellen rooms with Della, a lesbian, and claims she is an acrobatic dancer. She stands on her head in her bra and panties to prove it. Later she rents a room for 20 dollars a week and is then attacked by the landlady’s husband. She flees that scene and becomes a companion for an elderly woman but then discovers the woman’s son is a detective working on the Boston murder case. Just as the long arm of the law closes in on Ellen/Meg, she wakes up. It has all been a nightmare. So that’s why it all seemed so strange and over-the-top….Uh oh, wait a minute – Meg then makes love to her husband. He goes to work and she takes a shower and while she is taking her shower the janitor with big buckteeth sneaks into her apartment and…. … oh no…!! From the advertisements: “Possessed with sex, they know no shame!” (2) and (3)
Another Day, Another Man (1966)
Directed by Doris Wishman. Written by DW (as Dawn Whitman). Produced by DW. Cinematography: C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Gigi Darlene, Rita Bennett, Darlene Bennett, Tony Gregory, Barbi Kemp, Mary O’Hara, Bob Oran, June Roberts, Sam Stewart. B&W. Juri Productions/JER Pictures Inc.
After a montage of stills and jazz music, a couple walks in Central Park. Ann (Kemp) and Steve (Gregory) are newlyweds who move into a furnished apartment. Ann’s ex-roommate is Tess (O’Hara), a prostitute who works for Bert the Pimp (Sam Stewart). When Bert visits Tess he falls asleep and has a flashback/dream, which he narrates in a deep cartoon voice. Dolly and Daisy (the Bennett twins) like being whores. Bert picks up Meg (Darlene) fresh off the bus (hmm… almost a sequel to Bad Girls), the girls bond by dancing in their underwear until Meg’s boyfriend shows up wanting to marry her. When the dream ends, we spend some time with the newlyweds Steve and Ann. Ann has quit her job to be a housewife after Steve gets a raise. Then Steve gets sick. He becomes bed-ridden and as the bills pile up, Ann has to figure out something to do. So she works for Bert as a call girl. By day she takes care of hubby, by night she’s a hooker. Steve makes a miraculous and complete recovery and rushes off to tell his wife Ann the good news and then makes a shocking discovery about what she has been doing!! Shots of potted plants, radios, underwear, odd hand held camera work and some truly mind bending editing lets you know you are in Wishman-land. From the advertisements: “Sex without Shame”. (2) and (3)
My Brother’s Wife (1966)
Directed by Doris Wishman. Written by DW (as Dawn Whitman). Produced by DW. Cinematography: C. Davis Smith. Featuring: June Roberts, Susan Stewart, Rita Bennett, Darlene Bennett, Tony Gregory, Barbi Kemp, Mary O’Hara, Bob Oran, June Roberts, Sam Stewart. B&W. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc.
The film opens with a billiard room brawl over a woman who has killed herself and the entire film is a flashback. Mary (Roberts) is married to Bob (Oran), a dull man who is a wrestling fan and dresses in black shirts and white ties. Bob’s slimy brother Frankie (Stewart) comes visiting and likes Mary. Mary is tempted but tries to be a good girl. However she’s ignored by Bob and before long is having an affair with Frankie. Frankie however likes the wild Zena (Darlene Bennett) more than Mary. Zena leaves New York for LA when her bull dyke cousin, Della (Rita Bennett) gets too demanding. Frankie must now con Mary for some money to go after Zena. In this film there is a wild party that’s almost identical to the one in The Sex Perils of Paulette (but not completely). We have plenty of feet, ashtray and Buddha statue shots. We also have a shot where Zena sits right down on the camera lens giving new meaning to an ass shot. This film proves Doris was a demented genius! From the advertisements: “Sex was her master! Lust was her destiny!” (2)
A Taste of Flesh (1967)
Directed by Doris Wishman (as Louis Silverman). Written by DW (as Louis Silverman). Produced by DW (as Louis Silverman). Cinematography: C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Michael Alaimo (Lawrence), Darlene Bennett, Layla Peters, Buck Starr, Peggy Steffans-Sarno (director Joe Sarno’s wife, billed as Cleo Nova). B&W. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc.
Doris asked her cameraman C. Davis Smith for a plot idea. Smith had seen Suddenly (Lewis Allen, 1954) with Frank Sinatra, and told Doris the plot of that film. From this, Doris created an ultra low-budget film. Two assassins claiming to be plumbers hold two lesbian roommates and their visiting friend hostage, while they wait to assassinate the prime minister of ‘Netia’ from the apartment window. This means we have time for showers, lesbian lovemaking, strip-teases, whilst women are whipped, beaten, raped and even killed. Then there is the dream sequence, which involves characters in drag that is something which must be seen. (2)
Indecent Desires (1967)
Directed by Doris Wishman (as Louis Silverman). Written by DW (as Dawn Whitman). Produced by DW (as Louis Silverman). Cinematography: C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Michael Alaimo (Lawrence), Sharon Kent, Trom Little, Jackie Richards, Lee Taylor, Peters, Buck Starr. B&W. Mostest Production.
After Zeb finds a doll and a ring in a garbage can, he sees Ann going to work with her friend and fantasizes that she looks like the doll. Zeb caresses the doll and Ann feels invisible hands on her breasts and thighs. Zeb then discovers that Ann has a fiancé named Tom. Zeb begins to torture the doll, burning it with a cigarette, whipping it etc. which Ann feels. Ann now believes she is going insane. The film has a jazzy score, dialogue that is overdubbed in an even more bizarre fashion than Wishman usually employed and which has the effect of all the characters talking in slow hypnotic tones. Surreal, unique, disturbing and laughable, sometimes all at once. From the advertisements: “He controlled the secret of evil love… She was tortured by a strange force within her.” (2)
Too Much Too Often! (1968)
Directed by Doris Wishman (as Louis Silverman). Written by DW (as Louis Silverman). Produced by DW (as Louis Silverman). Cinematography: C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Sharon Kent, Darlene Bennett, Michelle Fox, Bob Oran, Stephanie Collins, Rita Bennett, Lee Taylor, Peters, Buck Starr. B&W. Mostest Productions/Juri Productions.
Slime-ball sadist Mike appears to be a pretty cool guy, combing his hair and posing but Mr Dite, an advertising executive who likes being whipped, knows exactly what he is. Mike gets a cushy job and starts climbing up the social ladder by stealing Dite’s clients and seducing his daughter. Mike likes a lot of different woman, and uses and abuses them. Naturally his past eventually catches up with him. The Wishman touches are here but there are several locations utilized in this one. From the advertisements: “The animals are here!”, “Whip me, Whip me.” (2)
The Hot Month of August (1966/1969)
Produced and directed by Socrates Kapsaskis, additional scenes produced and directed by Doris Wishman (as Louis Silverman). Additional scenes were probably shot by C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Petros Fyssoun, Betty Aruaniti, John Fertis, Vania Aksar. Also known as Zestos minas Avoustos (Greek title). B&W. Juri Productions/JER Pictures Inc.
Doris Wishman bought some films from a struggling film company while vacationing in Greece. She spent 4,000 dollars on two films (this one and Passion Fever [see below]). She lost the script to the film however. She also decided to spice up the films a bit and filmed some additional love scenes and nudity with actors who didn’t look anything like the people who originally appeared in the films. So she framed them so you couldn’t see their heads, only their bodies. She also filmed furniture, ashtrays, potted plants and feet, dubbed her own dialogue, and made up her own plot. Jason is on his way home from Athens and meets Hope and Alexis. A private eye is watching Alexis for her rich husband Yarkos. Jason falls in love with Hope but has hot sex with Alexis. Alexis is married to Yarkos who gets upset and kills Alexis. The private eye is injured and Jason is the number one murder suspect. Hope has to come up with a good alibi to save Jason. A quarter of the film is made up of faceless naked fornicators (added to the original footage by our ever-creative Doris). From the advertisements: “He blew her cool… she blew his… and her husband blew all in…” (Note: actual on screen credits were not available to verify credits.) (2)
Passion Fever (1969)
Directed by Nikos Ikonomous, additional scenes produced and directed by Doris Wishman (as Louis Silverman), additional camera probably by C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Pano Katteri, Katerina Helmi, Mbeka Yiouranti, Dora Mbarnia, Costas Daras, Theano Ioannidou, Marie-France. B&W. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc.
Yorgos loves women. He meets and flirts with women and they like him a lot. Della wants to show Yorgos her favorite place. Then there’s the hot romance between Yorgos and Micki. She’s also fooling around with an older girl. There’s some great music, Congo-line dancing, a female masturbation scene and much more. Doris again adds some original footage that doesn’t match, so again we have bodies (without heads) in various stages of undress and having sexploitation type sex. (Note: actual on screen credits were not available to verify credits.)(2)
The Amazing Transplant (1970)
Directed by Doris Wishman (as Louis Silverman). Written by Doris Wishman (as Dawn Whitman).
Produced by DW (as Louis Silverman). Cinematography: C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Juan Fernandes, Linda Southern, Pat Barrett, Olive Denneccio, Sandy Eden, Larry Hunter, Suzzan Landau, Kim Pope, E.B. Priest. Color. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc.
Once-nerdy Arthur (Fernandez) has turned into a man who has strangled his fiancé, and raped other women. A detective (Hunter) discovers women wearing gold earrings make Arthur psychotic. Why? Well you see Arthur was jealous of his very sexually active and well-endowed friend Felix who also went crazy for gold earrings. Felix died and Arthur blackmailed a doctor into performing The Amazing Transplant. Seems men really do think with their penis. Wild Wishman outing that predates films that covered similar themes such as Percy (Ralph Thomas, 1970). (Note: actual on screen credits were not available to verify credits.) (2) and (3)
Love Toy (1971)
Directed by Doris Wishman (as ‘Louis Silverman’, which was the name of her second husband). Written by Judy J. Kushner (and Doris Wishman). Produced by DW (as ‘Louis Silverman’). Cinematography: Juan Fernandez & C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Bernard Marcel, Pat Happel, Uta Erickson, Larry Hunger, Vic Lester. Color. Mostest Productions Inc.
Perhaps the sleaziest non-hardcore film Wishman made. A gambler, out of money, bets his daughter and loses. His daughter, Chris, becomes the property of Alex, the sex fiend, who uses her in a catalogue of perversions that includes domination, spanking, incest, oral sex, bondage, fetishism. The daughter becomes the ultimate Love Toy role-playing slave, mistress, mother, and daughter. At first she’s reluctant and then she’s a convert to the perversions. Alex even gets his wife to play some games with him and his ‘love toy’. This all leads to incest and murder. But wait… was it all a dream? It’s pretty strong perverted stuff, but still full of Wishman touches. From the advertisements: “He knew all the games… she was the plaything!” (2)
Keyholes are for Peeping (1972)
Directed by Doris Wishman (as Louis Silverman). Written by Louis Burdi & Doris Wishman. Produced by DW (as Louis Silverman). Cinematography: C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Sammy Petrillo, Phillip Stahl, Lou Silverman, Saul Meth, Tony Armada, Angel Spirit, Pamela Mann, Alex Mann, Kirsten Steen, Cocoa Stahl. Color. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc.
Jerry Lewis look-a-like Sammy Petrillo is cast in a Doris Wishman sex-comedy, but Wishman insisted Sammy stick pretty close to the script and not do too much of his Jerry Lewis schtick. He plays nebbish Stanley Bebble. After he does a correspondence course on marriage counseling, he delivers hand written business cards to the neighbors and finds the apartment building’s superintendent Manuel peeping into keyholes. Stanley decides to help Manuel get a real girlfriend to have sex with. If at first you don’t succeed try and try again. In between the strained comedy, there are tinted black and white sex scenes (footage I think is the same as the one used in Hot Month of August and Passion Fever). Stanley runs into trouble with his own girlfriend. Sammy also gets to play his own dim-witted mother. From the advertisement: “Will titillate the cockles of your heart!” (Note: actual on screen credits were not available to verify credits.) (2)
Deadly Weapons (1973)
Directed by Doris Wishman (as Louis Silverman). Written by Judy J. Kushner & Doris Wishman). Produced by DW (as Louis Silverman). Cinematography: started by Juan Fernandez and finished by an uncredited C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Chesty Morgan, Harry Reems, Gaylord St. James, Phillip Stahl, Saul Meth, Mitchell Fredericks, Denise Purceli, John McMohon, Kurt Brandt, Louis Burdi, Donny Lee Nat Perogine. Color. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc.
Stripper Chesty Morgan had a freakishly huge bust line. Seeing her extreme and unattractive body naked is not a sexy thing, but the teasing ads and posters appealed to every big breast-loving male in the Universe. Wishman suckered a lot of people into theaters with this classic non-pornographic sexploitation movie. Chesty plays Crystal, an ad executive who dresses in too tight garishly colored ’70s outfits, wears a bad wig and has trouble balancing on high heels. She’s in love with Larry who is a seedy gangster who has stolen a black book of names and addresses from the mob. Two mobsters, Captain Hook (who has an eye patch) and Tony (Deep Throat porn star Harry Reems), off Larry. Crystal has heard the whole thing on the telephone and goes after the mob for revenge. Posing as a stripper, Crystal goes to Vegas to get rid of Captain Hook. She slips a mickey in his drink and then smothers him with her Deadly Weapons. Then she’s off to Miami to get Tony. Wishman had originally planned to do three films with Chesty Morgan. Only two were made because Doris found Chesty difficult to work with. From the advertisements: “Watch the mob get busted when Chesty takes her revenge”, “The only way to go.” (2) and (3)
Double Agent 73 (1974)
Directed by Doris Wishman (as Louis Silverman). Written by Judy J. Kushner & Doris Wishman). Produced by DW (as Louis Silverman). Cinematography: Juan Fernandez and an uncredited C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Chesty Morgan, Frank Silvano, Phillip Stahl, Saul Meth, Denise Purceli, Kurt Brandt, Louis Burdi, Donny Lee Nat Perogine, Peter Petrillo, Cooper Kent, Joseph Chiaro. Color. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc.
An uncredited C. Davis Smith shot most of this follow-up film at the same time as Deadly Weapons. Chesty’s huge, pendulous, sagging bust is on display constantly. Chesty plays Jane Genet, Agent 73, who is assigned to stop a heroin ring. A camera has been surgically implanted in her left breast and it will explode if she doesn’t return to have the camera taken out by a certain time and date. Chesty kills one guy by stuffing his mouth with ice cubes, another guy she kills by putting poison on her nipple, another one she slaps really hard with her breast…. It’s not even a comedy, which makes it all the funnier of course. Chesty looks like she is about to fall asleep in every scene when she isn’t having trouble balancing herself on huge red platform shoes. The camera is constantly cutting to people’s feet. Although Wishman was supposed to do three films with Chesty, she opted to make a sequel to this film without her. They did not get along. From the advertisements: “Watch out for the booby traps…they’re loaded!”, “ See Chesty Morgan expose the big two.” (2) and (3)
The Immoral Three (1975)
Directed by Doris Wishman. Written by Robert Jahn and Judy J. Kushner. Produced by DW (as Louis Silverman). Cinematography: C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Cindi Boudreau, Sandra Kay, Michele Marie, Robert S. Barba, Frank Silvano, A.D. Irwin, Joe Saverio, Roger Caine (as Al Levitsky), Ed Marshall, Levi Richards, John Navarre, D.H. Jackson, W. Scott Andrews, Brad Gorman, Arthur J. Harris, Jane Tournay. Also known as Hotter than Hell. Color. Juri Productions/ JER Pictures Inc. (2)
Agent 73 (played not by Chesty Morgan, but by Tournay) is strangled right after the credits. Her three beautiful daughters — Sandy, Ginny and Nancy — attend her funeral and then spring into pre-Charlie Angels action as they seek revenge and try to get their 3 million dollar inheritance. Well they don’t seem to be in a big hurry to seek revenge as they all seem to enjoy teasing men or trying on fashions. Eventually some people get killed and the killers are brought to justice. A loud, garish ’70s feel permeates the entire film from the weird camera angles, fashions, and platform shoes to the (now familiar to Wishman fans) use of ashtrays and goblets to off people with. From the advertisements: “They love… They kill… There’s nothing they wouldn’t do!”
Satan Was A Lady (1975)
Directed by Doris Wishman (as Kenyon Wintel). Written by Bruce Leatoni (possibly a Wishman pseudonym). Cinematography: not sure of screen credit alias (C. Davis Smith). Featuring: Bree Anthony, Tony Rich, Annie Sprinkle, Bobby Astyr, Chris Jackson, Terri Hall, Neil Rhodes, C.J. Laing. Color.
Although Wishman denied the rumor for years, C. Davis Smith, Annie Sprinkle, and others have come forth and admitted Wishman directed two hardcore films. This was the first of the two. Wishman apparently did not direct the hardcore sex and left the room, leaving C. Davis Smith, and perhaps someone else, to direct the action. But everything else in the film is supposedly trademark Wishman… or so I’ve heard. I haven’t seen this one. (Note: actual on screen credits were not available to verify credits.) From the advertisements: “Let Her Show You How Good It Feels To Be Bad!”
Come With Me, My Love (1976)
Directed by Luigi Manicottale (Doris Wishman). Produced by Luigi Manicottale (Doris Wishman). Written by Brad Toulose (possibly a pseudonym for Doris Wishman). Director of Photography: A. Tomale (C. Davis Smith). Featuring: Ursula Austin, Jeffrey Hurst, Michael Gaunt, Vanessa Del Rio, Roger Caine, Annie Sprinkle, Ed Marshall, John Livermore, R. Bolla. Also known as The Haunted Pussy. Color. ClassiX Video VCA Pictures Inc. (2)
This film begins in black and white with a title that tells us it is 1925. A couple makes love and a figure enters the room. It is Randolph (Hurst) and he sees his best friend with his wife, takes a gun out of his pocket and shoots them saying, “Even in Death You Are Not Mine.” Then he turns the gun on himself. Now it’s 1976 and everything is in color, the scene of the murder is now the site of a high-rise apartment building. The new tenant is Abby (Ursula Austin) who looks just like Randolph’s wife. At night, Randolph emerges as a negative figure and has his way with a scared Abby. Abby is quite a free loving woman who offers herself to many tenants and strangers. However Randolph kills all of her lovers. Randolph pushes radios into the bath with one, pushes another out the window of the high rise to his death. Abby needs a friend and turns to her neighbor Tess (Annie Sprinkle). They wind up in bed too and then Tess is alone setting the table in her apartment and suddenly a knife levitates and stabs her in her cleavage — Randolph is getting revenge again. There are also scenes in a swinger’s party that involve R. Bolla (also known as Robert Kerman) and Vanessa Del Rio – these might have been previously filmed short loops that have been integrated into this film to fill up some time. There’s a particularly well-done eerie scene in which Abby takes a melancholy walk in the snow in Central Park feeling out of place and out of time. You can see the Wishman style in the film and there is even some footage borrowed from Double Agent 73. There are shots of feet, inanimate objects, strange looped dialogue and other Wishman trademarks. Wishman hinted she might have directed a few scenes of film that were used in hardcore films, but C. Davis Smith is on the record as admitting Wishman was by his side through all of the film except for the hard-core sex scenes. Brad Toulose, an obvious pseudonym, probably represents Doris Wishman and perhaps another writer (though satisfactory verification can’t be made). This is a Doris Wishman film without a doubt. From the advertisements: “Define terror in three words”, “A highly intimate and erotic experience.”
Let Me Die a Woman (1978)
Directed, written and produced by Doris Wishman. Cinematography: Juan Fernandez. Featuring: Dr Leo Wollman, Deborah Harten, Lisa Carmelle, Frank Pizzo, Harry Reems, Billy Kelman, Doug Martin, Vanessa Del Rio, Angel Spirit. Color. Juri Productions.
Here is a fairly serious pseudo-documentary, which captures the lifestyles of several transsexuals in various stages of changing their gender. Dr Leo Wollman M.D. was a legitimate practicing doctor who is our guide through this one of a kind, once shocking film that features some footage of operations that are not completely revealing but not for the squeamish. There are some scenes of probing of a constructed vagina and shots of men with artificially developed breasts. Then there are several staged soft-core scenes thrown into the film to add to the hodgepodge. Dr Wollman occasionally makes statements like “not all dildos are used for medical purposes.” Note: actual on screen credits were not available to verify credits. From the advertisements: “All True! All Real! See a man become a woman before your eyes!”, “Born a Man . . . Let Me Die A Woman”, “Torn from Today’s Headlines.” (2)
A Night to Dismember (1983)
Directed by Doris Wishman. Written by Robert Jahn and Judy J. Kushner. Produced by DW. Cinematography: C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Samantha Fox, Diane Cummins, Saul Meth, Miriam Meth, William Szarka, Chris Smith, Dee Cummins, Norman Main, Mary Lomay, Rita Rogers, Nina Stengel, Frankie Sabat, William Longo Jr., Rob DeRosa, Heather Sabat, John Szarka, Gino Colbert, Levi Richards. Color. Juri Productions.
Wishman considered this the film that nearly killed her and C. Davis Smith; others believe it is the worst film Wishman ever did. It isn’t though. The film was shot in 1979 and was Wishman’s first all-out gory horror film. More than 50 percent of the film negative was destroyed however and Doris spent eight months trying to make use of footage she had whilst also shooting a few additional minutes of footage to put together a film that made sense and could be marketed. It is a confusing mess of a film that was released briefly in 1983 and then on video in 1989. It has been impressively restored for its late 2001 DVD release from Elite. Porn superstar Samantha Fox is Vicki Kent. She’s a disturbed young woman who was in an insane asylum for many years. Is she a serial killer or a victim of someone who is trying to drive her crazy? There’s some nudity and a little bit of sex, but also lots of gore. A lot of the gore effects are amateurishly done (even by 20 year old standards) but a few shots are almost too effective. Doris trademark feet and bric-a-brac shots are in abundance. Some unintentionally hilarious dialogue make this one of her most entertaining films if you are not too squeamish or demand linear logic in your movies. After this film, Doris retired from the film business and moved to live with her sister in Coral Gables Florida. But remarkably a dozen years later she started filming another movie. The DVD contains the only feature length commentary she’s ever done with her longtime cinematographer C. Davis Smith. (1) and (4)
Satan Was a Lady (2001)
Directed and written by Doris Wishman. Produced by Beau Gillespie.
Cinematography by Willem Van Vark. Music by Glyn Styler, Gene Coman and Jeff Treffinger. Featuring: Honey Lauren, Glyn Styler, Edge, Hans Lohl, Laudet Torres, Lourdes Graves, Harry Frederick, Greg Gillingham, Anne Case, Al Reidel, Rene Coman, Victoria Morrison, Kerry Johnston, Lindsey Amodeo, Tabatha De Mercado, Arturo Reyes. Color. Boomshadow Pictures.
Honey Lauren plays a stripper and somewhat sadistic prostitute who wants to make a bigger score and leave her seedy life behind. She’s not impressed with her struggling con-man musician boyfriend (Styler) and she decides to blackmail a rich businessman client of hers (Edge), but things don’t work out as smoothly as she hoped. Wishman’s trademarks find their way into this somewhat slickly produced, very well paced, low-budget entertaining film. Call this one a Wishman version of a modern erotic film noir complete with a memorable femme fatale. The three songs in the film are quite good! Its world premiere was in Florida on March 9, 2001. It won a special Jury Prize at the New York Underground Film Festival. The DVD features behind the scenes footage of Doris Wishman and crew at work. From the advertisements: “Evil comes in many shapes, she just had the best one”, “She worked the corner of Sin and Shame!” (5)
Dildo Heaven (2002)
Directed, written and produced by Doris Wishman. Cinematography: Kent Rayhill. Featuring: Mickey Garcia, Elizabeth Ash, Everette, Jerry Hart, Dr. Faust, Edward L. Sharp, Christina K. Caramba, Chris Mullarky, Tom Smith, Syd Garon, Jeff Williams, Phillip K. Stryker, Jensen Press, Cindy Burrows, Bill Matten, Skippy. Also known as Desperate Desires. Color. Juri Productions.
Doris had been making this direct to video feature for about seven years. She may have shot some footage for it in the mid-1990s but most of it was filmed in 1999 and 2000. It took her a while to raise the money and devote the time needed to edit it. Along the way she met Beau Gillespie who was struggling to edit his low budget film. Gillespie decided to produce Wishman’s next film about the same time Elite was preparing A Night to Dismember for DVD release, which led to the commentary track recording that re-united Wishman and C. Davis Smith. They decided to try and work together again after Wishman finished the film for Gillespie.
Dildo Heaven is the story of three girls who hope to seduce their bosses. It also features a Peeping Tom who will do anything to prove himself worthy of the three ladies’ attention. It is a soft-core sex comedy that has played some underground and cult film festivals but is still awaiting a 2002 video release. Final edit was completed after Satan Was a Lady. It had its official world premiere at the New York Underground Film Festival in 2002. From the advertisements: “Wild, wicked and wanton!”
Each Time I Kill (projected 2002)
Directed and written by Doris Wishman. Produced by DW and Michael Bowen. Cinematography by C. Davis Smith. Featuring: Tiffany Paralta, Fred Schneider (cameo), Linnea Quigley (cameo), John Waters (planned cameo to be shot in N.Y.C.), Chrissi Ardito, Caryn Arundel, Biali Badaski, Gabriela Banus, Neeta Behl, Michael Benmeleh, Jackson Blagden, Michael Bowen (II), Cary Castillo, Jose A. Cisneros, Alexandra Davies, David Dillon, Cynthia Duvall, Howard Elfman, Lisa Ferber, David Frisch, Jackie Goldhagen, Julie Gonzalo, Josué Gutierrez, Jaimie Hazen, Ernie Heinz, Jim Hollenbaugh, Rebecca Jimenez, Michael Kaufman, Jessica Lewis, Ivan Lopez , Luis-David Madera, Madelin Marchant, Hannah Matzkin, Julio Naranja, Bill Perlach, Jessica Peterson, Jose Prendes, Birgit Questenberg, Dan Recio, Kwame Riley, Nancy Rogan, Michael Sarysz, Glenn Shelhamer, Marielva Sieg, Michael Simmons, C. Davis Smith, Olaf Strecker, Laudet Torres, Janette Valentine, Rob Vidal, Mark Whittington Asmond Wong, Olivia Wong, Sabrina Wong, Alexandra Zayas . Color.
Wishman’s last film completed 95 percent of its principal photography in June of 2002. Wishman wrote detailed notes on a few additional shots, a planned John Waters cameo and editing instructions during the last few weeks of her life (she died August 10, 2002). Her friend, biographer and co-producer Michael Bowen and website designer David B. Wilson expects the film to have its world premiere by the end of 2002.
Each Time I Kill is Wishman’s version of a teen horror film. A high school girl acquires magical powers to make herself beautiful but to keep her power she must kill other girls. Pre-release tagline: “A shocking story revealing the brutality of innocence!”
EXPLANATION: WHEN YOU SEE (NOTE ACTUAL ON SCREEN CREDITS WERE NOT AVAILABLE TO VERIFY CREDITS) THIS MEANS AT PRESS TIME AUTHOR WAS UNABLE TO CHECK CREDIT LISTINGS WITH THE ACTUAL ON SCREEN CREDITS THAT ARE AVAILABLE (EXCEPT WHERE OTHERWISE NOTED) ON IMAGE DVD or through Something Weird Video. The on-screen credits may vary slightly from what is listed in this filmography.
1. Available on VHS from www.doriswishman.com/filmography.com
David B. Wilson – Special Autographed editions are no longer available.
2. Available on VHS from Something Weird Video P.O. Box 33664 Seattle, WA 98133
Phone: 206-361-3759 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 206-361-3759 end_of_the_skype_highlighting www.somethingweird.com
3. DVD from Image Entertainment at numerous retail and online locations
4. DVD from Elite Entertainment available at numerous retail and online locations
5. DVD from www.satanwasalady.com and through some online locations. Satan Was a Lady Boom Shadow Productions
Additional Wishman videos may be available through Video Search of Miami.
Video and/or television program segments about or featuring Doris Wishman (incomplete). Compiled by Christopher J. Jarmick
The Incredibly Strange Film Show hosted by Jonathan Ross Originally aired on BBC Channel 4 in 1989. On the Discovery Channel in 1990/91. One hour episode was split between Fred Olen Ray and Doris Wishman.
Real Sex HBO #21 (1998) Wishman segment produced by Barry Shils
Late Night with Conan O‚Brien interview original air-date: March 7 2002
Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001) video documentary
Sources for this profile
The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) http://www.imdb.com
Weldon, Michael J., The Psychotronic Video Guide, St martin’s Press, 1996
Videohound‚s Golden Movie Retriever, Visible Ink Press, 2001
Various internet sites that show movie posters and promotional one sheets.
C. Davis Smith
David B. Wilson
Note: IMDB and other websites have incorrect release dates, and incomplete information regarding several of Wishman’s films. Many of the dates were verified through a combination of interviews with cult film aficionados (who were also sometimes inaccurate in some details), and Michael Bowen, C. Davis Smith, and Variety magazine archives. I did not concern myself with film running times.
Articles in Senses of Cinema
Bad Girls Go to Dildo Heaven: An All Nude Tribute to Doris Wishman by Andrew Leavold
Compiled by the author
The official authorized Doris Wishman website designed and maintained by David B. Wilson who also sells some exclusive autographed Wishman videos, and stills. Also has informative profile of Wishman and a mostly accurate filmography which then allows you to reference the IMDB which is sometimes inaccurate when it comes to Wishman films. See also www.doriswishman.com/filmography.htm
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: An Ode to Doris Wishman
Filmcritic.coms obituary of Doris Wishman. by Rachel Gordon.
World Premiere of Satan Was a Lady
Mike Hoover is an avid fan of Doris Wishman and he has a few articles regarding meeting her and attending the world premiere of Satan Was a Lady.
Satan Was a Lady
Information and stills from the 2001 DVD released Wishman film: Satan Was a Lady. You can also purchase NTSC DVD at site. U.S. based.
Something Weird Video
Seattle, WA USA based video company that specializes in exploitation and sexploitation films, collections of short Public Safety type films; movie trailers and much more. Has many Doris Wishman videos (VHS) for sale. Works with Image DVD in U.S. to release DVD versions of some of their products.