Well, here at Acid Logic we're big fans of the Doris
Wishman films. And you, of course, star in her comeback
piece "Satan was A Lady" which is the first film she's
done in over 20 years.
Yeah, over 25 years actually. It's been awhile. Porno
put her out of business, I'm told.
Well, that happened to a lot of people, as we saw in
Yeah, but porno really put her out of business, because
she wasn't willing to do porno. After a while, the nudie
cuties weren't enough.
That's interesting because she did do "A Night To Dismember"
in 1980 with Samantha Foxx. (Ex-porn star who went on
to become a highly successful pop singer.) I've never
actually seen it. I don't know if it's even available.
It's out there. I actually had a copy of it, but I don't
anymore. I had to give it to Femme Fatale (Cult magazine
focusing on sci-fi and horror genre actresses.)
So how was it?
It was great! I don't think Doris would mind me telling
you about this, but she unfortunately had to make it
with all the outtakes.
I've heard about that. The original got destroyed.
Yeah, the negatives got destroyed, so she was left with
these outtakes, and she made an entire movie out of
them. Pretty amazing. The thing with Doris is that she's
a survivor. That's what I admire most about her.
In regards to "Satan Was a Lady" - this is a film where
you play a young woman who lives a rather devious life
in the shadowy world of strip clubs and sadomasochism.
In fact the film starts out with you wearing some sort
of leather headgear and whipping the bloody back of
an older gentlemen. I can't help but wonder while you
filming that scene whether you were thinking "My God,
what have I got myself into?"
Well, of course, there's always that. But I had to trust
that I knew what I was doing. I do work on television
and I work on mainstream movies and independent films
and I knew that I was taking a risk doing this. But
I also knew that if people understood who Doris was,
then they would understand why I did this. And if they
didn't, well, that's fine too. I felt like I was making
history, doing it.
Becoming part of this little piece of cult cinema history?
Yeah. The thing about the whipping scene that was really
hysterical is that Doris did all the close ups. She
really took the whip from me. I think it was her most
animated night. It was precious too, because I have
a 93 year old grandmother that I've taken care of for
about a decade, and Doris is also elderly, of course.
Nobody knows how old she is but we know she could be
my grandmother. And here she was with the whip, and
she was good at it!
And she was whipping the guy?
She was whipping the guy's back. And this is what is
lovely about Doris - if I can use "lovely" and "whipping
the guy's back" at the same time - she could have easily
had my character whipping the guy's ass or something
typically S&M. But here I am whipping this man's back,
and he's wearing slacks and a belt. It was very retro.
So there was a touch of class to the whole thing?
Yeah, it was not the kind of funky scene you would see
in the year 2001. You would expect something much harder.
Her stuff is so innocent to me. It's silly. Silly in
a good way though, not in a stupid way.
So I didn't really have a problem with this, but the
poor guy I was going to be working with was so nervous
about what he was going to wear. This guy was so worried
about doing that scene that he didn't eat for a week.
Well, it's hard to know what to wear to a whipping.
(Laughs) You got that right. Actually that was the other
thing, we had to travel all over town to get my outfit.
It kind of reminds me of the scene in "Ghost World"
where Thora Birch buys the S&M fetishist mask.
Right, that was hilarious, I just love that little cap
she wore. With me, we were definitely looking for the
"Lone Ranger" mask. We went to all the S&M parlors and
stores and dildo shops in Miami.
And I'm sure Doris knows them all.
Oh, indeed! I had to try on all these outfits. It was
me, Edge - who is the man I was whipping and, you know,
another story - and Doris. And of course, everywhere
we went everyone loved her and wanted to be in her movies.
It was a really good time.
What was it like working with Doris, because I hear
she can be a cantankerous old bat?
Ahh, Yeah! (Spoken in a perfect pseudo valley girl accent)
But she was quite good to work with in that she had
so much energy. She never tired out. She can go on for
like, 20 hours. It's uncanny. Very few of us can do
that and we're so much younger than her. She was very
opinionated, which is good, but she used to say to me,
"Honey, if you don't agree with me, you have to tell
me. Don't just be nice to me." So I'd tell her, and
of course, it would make her really angry.
And once and awhile she was pretty non-lucid. There
were one or two times where she didn't remember a scene
we had just shot.
You didn't have to reshoot it, did you?
No, no, we'd just say, "Doris, we just shot that scene."
And she changed the script quite a bit, which is fine,
since it's a Doris Wishman film and it's her script
and she's allowed to do whatever she wants. But she
tends to get a little wordy at times and put in these
long speeches, and we'd have to really talk about that.
But I really tried to take direction from her. My whole
goal for this movie was "Take direction from her, Honey."
It's easy to sort of bulldoze your way through these
things and not go with the flow, but I really wanted
to give Doris what she wanted.
The other thing that was interesting about Doris is
that there's no cursing. Did you notice that in the
You know. I'm thinking back on all her films, and I
guess off the top of my head I don't recall any.
Yeah, this was a very retro kind of event. The lines
that came out of my mouth were like, "You big lug!"
And I was thinking, "My God, how am I going to make
this work?" But I decided I was going to do it exactly
the way she wanted me to do it. But it's hard to say
these goofy lines and believe them.
What struck me as very retro is that there's a scene
where you come home after a day's work and your boyfriend's
there and you immediately go into this extrapolation
on your entire past, thereby establishing your character.
That's the kind of dialogue you never say in real life
but see it all the time in comic books and films.
Exactly, and the whole film was like that. Doris had
a lot to say and she wanted to get it all in there,
dammit! I took the whole thing very seriously. I would
think, "How do you do an exploitation film?" and you
just do it like any other part. I approached this like
I would working with any other director, but I think
I managed to keep some basis of reality in the character.
I think Beau, the producer, was a little put off at
first. He'd say, "Don't take it all so seriously." But
I don't know how to work any other way.
Well, that actually leads up to something I wanted to
talk about. I've read a lot of the comments you made
about working on this film and you discuss that you
put a lot into this role of a rather emotional, disturbed
individual. At the same time - this is Doris Wishman
and I wonder if it's a little disarming to put all this
work into a movie that's probably never going to be
seen as a "Citizen Kane."
No, there's no other way to do it. I've made my share
of cult films, and every one I had to approach with
an essence of truth. Let me give an example - in "Faster
Pussycat Kill, Kill" (Russ Meyer's 1966's camp classic.)
there's that young women who gets tortured and makes
that cry - Do you remember that?
Unfortunately, I've never seen the film but I'm familiar
She's totally being tortured, and it's so sad and she's
crying her eyes out, and you believe it. and it's hilarious!
As an actress, you have to find that basis of reality.
My goal is to be crying while they're laughing.
I think I know what you're talking about in that I've
seen cult films where it's all a big joke and I'll be
in the theatre and everyone is laughing and I'm thinking,
"Jesus, this person is being impaled on a big spike
or something. This doesn't seem very funny."
Right, you have to play it for real. Because if you
don't, what do you have? A badly acted film. There's
no other way to play it. John Waters was there at the
premier of "Satan Was A Lady" in New York and he said
"Darlin' you did it perfectly." Look at Divine's work
- he made all these cult films - or, she made
all these cult films, but they all came from a basis
of truth. Nobody played a mom better than her!
All that said and done, it must be a little irritating
to get a response from someone such as "How could you
put all that real effort into such a campy role?"
Yeah, it was mostly frustrating when I was doing it,
because they didn't quite get what I was doing. But
since it was done I haven't had anyone say that that
wasn't the way to do it. I think it was really the glue
that kept the film together.
But that's the beauty of it. For instance, you saw "Men
Cry Bullets" (An independent film Honey appeared in
before "Satan.") I never for one minute did not take
Yeah, and that was a very stellar film.
I think you have to be real and the camp will come through.
The camp always comes through.