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Fly By Night presents
Satan Was a Lady (2001)

"Evil comes in many shapes...she just had the best one."
- Tagline

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: February 19, 2003

Stars: Honey Lauren, Glyn Styler
Other Stars: Edge, Hans Lohl, Carlos Velazquez, Laudet Torres, Anne Case
Director: Doris Wishman

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (sexuality, nudity, language, violence)
Run Time: 01h:23m:20s
Release Date: February 18, 2003
UPC: 806310006226
Genre: offbeat

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+C+B- B

DVD Review

Unless you're a fan of sexy, trashy exploitation films, the name of writer/director Doris Wishman might not ring a bell. Throughout the 1960s, Wishman was a veritable workhorse, churning out such grindhouse classics as Nudes on the Moon, Bad Girls Go to Hell and A Taste of Her Flesh. In 2001, at the tender age of 80(!), Satan Was a Lady found Wishman back behind the camera again after nearly a twenty year absence. Sadly, Wishman passed away in August of 2002, but her return to the exploitation realm is a glorious throwback by one of the genre's best.

Honey Lauren is tough-as-nails, clothing-challenged whore Chloe Irane, a big-haired woman who silently yearns for a luxurious full-length mink in-between bondage sessions and working at the local strip club. Her boyfriend is swanky Ed (Glyn Styler), a hip daddio beatnik and musician who croons wonderfully bizarre bossa nova lounge singer ditties, which Wishman sometimes uses as a narrative tool to move the story along. Chloe gets the big idea to blackmail one of her clients, the cadaverous Mr. King (Edge), to the tune of $25,000, and in true exploitation-style, that is when everything starts going from very bad to much, much worse.

Lauren, with her head of big, unruly hair, is like Mary Woronov's sexy, crazier younger sister. Like a bipolar manic depressive, Lauren's Chloe runs the gamut from alluring sex kitten to whacked-out psychopath in the blink of a long-lashed eye. I lost count, but I think Lauren spends more time nude than she is fully clothed, and her reckless abandon and wanton sexuality ("Heights make me feel sexy!") is perfectly counter-balanced by suave Glyn Styler's hip and groovy portrayal of the nearly asexual Ed. When hipster Ed belts out Come Cry With Me, you better be sipping a vodka martini because the coolness vibe for that scene is practically off the charts.

When it's not flaunting blackmail and murder, Satan Was a Lady is all about unadulterated exploitation goodness, and that means plenty of in-your-face gratuitous nudity (it's a requirement for the genre). Having much of the story set in a strip club accommodates that aspect handily, including an amazingly strange reverse striptease sequence (the dancer goes from being completely nude to fully dressed) that is one this film's unusual benchmark moments.

All hail Doris!

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: Satan Was a Lady is presented here in a 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen transfer. Not perfect by any means, but fitting of a B-grade exploitation film. Colors do bleed occasionally, but then at other times look just fine. There is plenty of well-rendered skin on display, but fleshtones run a little too hot once in awhile. There's some grain, and the muddy black levels are sadly abysmal.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in 2.0 stereo, and the presentation is just a step above mono. That's not a flaw, necessarily, because the swanky crooning of Glyn Styler sounds smashing, baby. Dialogue is always discernible and clear, with just a hint of clipping during scenes where voices are raised in anger.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: With the passing of Doris Wishman, the extras on Satan Was a Lady seem regretfully spartan. In the loosely titled Behind The Scenes segment (20m:00s), we get a few quick glimpses of a spry-looking Doris Wishman directing a couple of scenes, though she never really says much. Mostly this is a series of scene setups, without any real substance or merit other than the chance to see an exploitation legend at work. Wishman, who seems to lurk just beyond the edge of the camera, is a hoot to watch as she literally mouths lines to the actors. A mixture of behind-the-scenes and completed footage, there is no narration or interviews, unfortunately, and aside from even more nudity from Honey Lauren, we find out she is deathly afraid of dragonflies.

Styler's Solos provides direct access to the part of the film where two of the songs are featured (You Killed My Love and Come Cry With Me). Groovy stuff.

A scrolling filmography of Wishman's long career is also provided.

The disc is cut into 12 chapters, and has no subtitles.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

Satan Was a Lady was the late Doris Wishman's first directing gig in almost twenty years, and the unsung queen of exploitation directors has shown that at age 80 she had not lost nary a step. This one is all about a trashy whore who longs for the good life, even if it takes blackmail and murder to get there. Lots of skin, trippy dialogue and even a cat with a bad leg.

Highly recommended for fans of weird cinema and the exploitation genre.

Enjoy it, and tip a cold one to Doris.


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