Sunday, January 27, 2013

Satan Was a Lady (Doris Wishman, 1975)

If you don't think the sight of an exceedingly voluptuous Annie Sprinkle getting a glass of water for her sister's fiance is the height of drama, then you might want to think twice about watching Satan Was a Lady, the Doris Wishman-directed psycho-sexual thrill ride/ugly couch showcase that begs the question: Actually, the question it begs is currently not available. We ask that you please bear with us. However, if the sight of a, yeah, yeah, an exceedingly voluptuous Annie Sprinkle getting a glass of water for some guy–let's keep this thing moving–does appeal to you, then you my friend are in for a real treat. You mean to tell me there's a film out there that features an exceedingly voluptuous Annie Sprinkle getting a glass a water for a man who's about to marry her sister? I don't know. All this talk of retrieving water while being exceedingly voluptuous sounds a little too good to be true, if you know what I mean. I don't, know what you mean, that is. But I can tell you this, an exceedingly voluptuous Annie Sprinkle does in fact do exactly what I says she does in this quiet meditation on greed, sex and gaudy furniture. And not only that, but Bobby Astyr mock consumes Annie Sprinkle's pulsating pussy for five whole minutes. While I like the idea of a man sopping up the consecrated wetness congealing in the vicinity of a clean-shaven cooter, especially in 1975, a time when vaginal baldness was a bit an an anomaly, I wanna hear more about this glass of water. Are you fucking with me? The only reason I mentioned any of that business involving Annie Sprinkle (whose voluptuousness is never in doubt in this film) and the glass of water she fetches for her sister's fiance is because I'm an idiot. Or, to put it another way, I like the idea of someone taking the time to write words about a seemingly innocuous scene in a film filled with hirsute ball sacks and damp hatchet wounds.  

Now, the act of you, who is really me, telling me, who is really you, that you wanna hear more about the infamous glass of water scene in Satan Was a Lady is the definition of enabling. It's true, I am messing with you to a certain degree. But then again, that's what I...Hey, wait a minute. I just noticed that you put the word "infamous" before the words "glass of water scene." How come? Well, thanks to my incessant blathering about the glass of water scene, the glass of water scene has now become, you guessed it, infamous. Truth be told, anyone can do it. Just watch a movie, preferably one that no one has heard of. Then after it's over, just type a bunch of words–you can arrange them in a manner you wish–about any scene that tickles your fancy, and, boom, you have laid the groundwork for making a movie scene infamous.      
Since the sight of Annie Sprinkle's curvaceous frame stomping oh-so erotically from the living room to the kitchen to get a glass of water occurs later the film, I suppose, in the meantime, I'm going to have to talk about the events that lead up to its infamous retrieval.
Opening your film with a scene that features a man removing a woman's stockings is, from my perspective, the best and worst way you can begin your movie. On the one hand, you've got legs sheathed in tan stockings in your face right from the get-go. Unfortunately, the guy pawing at the woman in the tan stockings decides to remove them. If you imagine real hard, you can almost hear the perverts in the audience groaning with displeasure by this act of untoward unsheathing. What perverts? You know, the guys and gals who went to see this film when it played on 42nd Street throughout the mid-to-late 1970s.
Oh, how I would have loved to have attended the premiere of Satan Was a Lady back when it opened in New York City in 1975; the atmosphere must have been electric.
Anyway, getting to back to the tan stockings. After they're removed, Victor (Tony Richards) lifts Claudia (Bree Anthony), the woman who was wearing tan stockings, off the sleazy rug she's currently resting on, and proceeds to put her body in a position that will be more conducive for sexual congress. Telling him, "This is wrong, Victor," Claudia is somewhat reluctant to allow him to penetrate her with his penis (she thinks they should wait until they're married). It's obvious that Claudia has had a change of heart regarding the whole penetration situation, as Victor's penis is clearly plowing into her birth canal utilizing a series of sharply implemented jabbing motions. 
Just as I was beginning to tire of being immersed in the untamed undergrowth that is Victor's palustrine scrotal no-man's land, Claudia's sister Terry (Annie Sprinkle) appears in the doorway. How did you know she Claudia's sister? Excellent question. As Terry stares at her fornicating sister, employing a facial expression that can best be described as exasperated contempt, she thinks to herself, "My little sister Claudia. My sick little sister."
Call me perceptive, but I think the reason Terry didn't wait until Victor ejaculated sperm all over Claudia's stomach (she left during the cowgirl stage of their sex act) was because she has the hots for Victor as well.
Quirky fun-fact: The voice used to verbally express Terry and Claudia's thoughts is provided by none other than Doris Wishman herself.
Frustrated by what she just witnessed, Terry sits on a putrid-looking couch, crosses her legs, and begins to admire to floral patterns that pepper her bluish skirt. Only problem with that is, her mother, Ada (Sandy Foxx), is crouching by the television, which is located between two equally putrid-looking chairs. Why is that a problem, exactly? Well, you see, Terry's mother is constantly nagging her about her unladylike behaviour. And, as you might expect, this annoys Terry like you wouldn't believe. Leaving the room in a bit of a huff, Terry decides to make a phone call.
If you thought the sight of Annie Sprinkle fetching a glass of water was compelling, you should see her dial a touch-tone telephone. Hubba-hubba.
Calling up Bobby (Bobby Astyr) on said touch-tone telephone, Terry arranges a meeting. If you thought Terry wanted to meet Bobby in order to discuss macrame, you would be wrong. Noticing that she is admiring the bondage gear hanging above his bed, Bobby suggests that she strap herself in.
Willing, to use her words, "to try anything once," Terry is suddenly naked on his bed with her wrists and ankles bound with leather restraints.
Spread eagle, Terry finds the smoothness of her shaved pussy at the mercy of Bobby's inquisitive tongue. Gaining in ripeness with every lick, Terry quivers with delight as Bobby dines on her pinkish maw. It's only a matter of time before Bobby's penis is saying hello to Terry's throbbing box, and, to no one's surprise, it enters its slippery housing with an eel-like ease.    
Meanwhile, Claudia is wandering around in the park. The sex scenes are great and all. But there's something wonderfully off-kilter about the film's non-sex-related ones. The phone call scene, the brief exchange between Terry and Ada, and Claudia's stroll in the park are all marked by an idiosyncratic awkwardness that I can't help but lap up with a spoon.

Standing by a chain link fence, Claudia suspects that "something strange is going on," and wonders if she should tell her mother that she and Victor are getting married. While Claudia's commitment to her fiance is unwavering, Victor clearly isn't, as committed, that is. What do you think Victor's doing while she's ruminating in the park? That's right, he's placing his boy thing between Terry's ample breasts.
If I had to point out a single flaw in Satan Was a Lady, it would have to be the fact that no-one has sex with Sandy Foxx. You mean the actress who played Ada, Terry and Claudia's mother? Yeah, her. She's got a tight little body on her and she knows exactly how to drive men crazy. Don't believe me? Check out the way the she crosses her black pantyhose-adorned legs. Her sitting technique will reduce your pathetic genitals to a mound of shapeless goo. Anyway, I guess I'll just have to take solace in the scenes that feature Sandy stirring the contents of a cooking pot, crouching in a grey skirt, and the one where she tells Terry to put some clothes and to "act like a lady," as there all we get as far as Sandy Foxx-based titillation goes.
The sisterly bound between Terry and Claudia is obviously a fractured one.  All you need to do is take one look at them sitting on that  war crime of a couch together and you will fully understand the tenuous nature of their relationship. In all honesty, I was somewhat surprised I was able to pick up on the tension. I mean, the fact that Annie Sprinkle is wearing a pink, frilly, Little Bo Peep-style prom dress was kind of distracting, as my mind was inundated with thoughts such as: Why is she wearing that? And: Who dresses like that around the house? To which Terry would probably reply, "Leave me alone."
With two slabs of hearty vaginal cornmeal already on his plate, you wouldn't think that Victor would be able to handle three vaginas at once. Think again, Skippy. Not only does he juggle three women simultaneously, one of them is played by the sophisticated C.J. Laing, a woman who literally oozes a Sharon Mitchell-approved brand of spunk appeal. As Terry and Claudia are not chatting with one another on that guacamole stain masquerading as a couch, Victor is busy inserting his cock inside C.J. Laing's warm, wet and inviting pussy. Despite their obvious drunkenness, Victor and C.J. manage to execute a series of well-timed thrusts. Though, it should be noted that when it came time to for C.J. to carry out her thrusting end of the bargain, I couldn't help but notice that the close up shots of her pussy were replaced with what looked like Bree Anthony's pussy. How do I know this? It's simple, really. While Bree's pussy is shaved, C.J. is rocking a full bush, and the pussy in the scene between Victor and C.J. is clearly shaved.
When the film's jaw-dropping climax is about to get underway, Victor, Claudia, Ada and Terry all gather together in the living room. And, yes, that putrid couch and those ghastly chairs are front and centre to witness the greatest twist ending in cinematic history. Appearance-wise, you wouldn't think something "jaw-dropping" was about to happen. But trust me, some weird shit is about to go down. It all starts when Victor asks Terry to get him a glass of cold water. I won't say anything else, as I don't want to ruin the surprise. Which is a shame, because I was looking forward to heaping a fair amount of misguided praise on Alex Mann, who shows up during the finale as a doctor, a doctor who wears a red blazer (he's constantly adjusting the sleeves) and sounds like a mobster. 
It just dawned me, by bringing up the fact that Sandy Foxx doesn't appear in a sex scene, and, not to mention, letting the cat out of the bag in regard to the C.J./Bree pussy switcheroo, I'm in danger of making this film sound like a piece of crap filled with nothing but errors and goofs. When, in reality, the exact opposite is true. A genuine camp classic if I ever saw one, Satan Was a Lady, with its odd shifts in tone, its dedication to long, protracted shots of  inanimate objects, and, of course, its tawdry approach to interior design, this film will satisfy the hunger that lies within all those who love their pornography to include elements of horror and melodrama. If watching Annie Sprinkle lounge around in nothing but black stockings and a matching corset is more your thing, then you'll love the film, too. I'm just saying, there's something peculiar about this film, and that's the main reason to seek it out.

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  1. Oh, how I long for the garishly-designed, amateurishly-filmed heyday of '70s porn with its untamed thickets of pubic hair and charming attempts at between-fuck storytelling and its stupendously-milkbagged, hirsute young Jewesses enchanting us with all their dark-haired magic and unparalleled blowjob skills...

    Body waxing and videotape ruined it all.

  2. Uh, yeah, I'm not sure what to say except, "How's the weather?"

    My junior prom (or maybe semi-formal?), I wore one of those Little Bo Peep numbers. And yes, it was pink. Totally G-rated, though.

  3. Of all the films you've reviewed, does this one have the ugliest furniture? You've seen a lot of unique sets. Although this was probably just someone's apartment.

  4. @SINAP: Ah, "untamed thickets of pubic hair." *single tear*

    There's no carpet in porn anymore. And by "carpet," I mean actual carpet.

    @Karim: The weather?!? Oh, it's getting better. Last week was brutal. So, did you hear? Ontario has a brand new lesbian premier. It's the darndest thing.

    Yeah, it looks like a prom dress. What I don't get is why was she wearing around the apartment? It didn't make any sense.

    @ido: Excellent question. Let me think. You know what, this film definitely takes the cake as far as gaudy furniture goes.

    Did you hear? Some anti-witch propaganda film is number one at the box office this week. The fake outrage I'm feeling at the moment is through the roof.

  5. @yum-yum: the furniture sure looks garish.

    I don't follow commercial/mainstream films, so I had to look that up. And then I looked at said movie's wikipedia page. Uhg. "splattery fanboy fun." ????? "Tarantino-esque" ?????


    The Drawing Down the Moon ritual was performed by medieval European witches to bring the Moon Goddess down to this mortal plain. It is embodied by the music on BEHERIT's album of the same name. Assyrian/Babylonian religion, Satanism, shamanistic ritual, and European witchcraft combined with hypnotic raw black metal and industrial song structures. enter trance and commune with ancient witchcraft.

    Full album:

    or REALLY enter trance and commune with witchcraft. Togawa Jun sings about menstruation, shamanism, female isolation, "hysteria", while wearing dragonfly wings-
    玉姫様 (Tamahimesama, "Jewel Princess"):

  6. The only reason I brought up Hansel and Gretal: Witch Hunters is because I recall you saying something about always rooting for the witch when it comes to movies that features witches. In other words, I hope didn't cause you any distress by making you aware of this lame ass movie. ;)

  7. @yum-yum: sorry for going off the deep-end there. I get migraine headaches and they sometimes influence my reactions to things. I'm a little (cough) high-strung to begin with.

    But that movie really looks like shit.

    Yeah, I'm always rooting for the evil witch.

    You should watch the Togawa Jun clip. I love her. Deeply.

  8. Togawa Jun is adorable, especially at around the 1:30. And she's totally dressed like a new wave dragonfly.

  9. I heard about Kathleen Wynne! Hurray progressive Ontario. Too bad about that Rob Ford dude, though. :D

    I hope Ron Jeremy recovers. :( Only porn star I've ever met. Well, that I know of.

  10. So, you know about Rob Ford, eh? I was kinda hoping you hadn't heard of him or something. ;)

    According to Sharon Mitchell, Ron Jeremy is a sweetheart, one of the nicest guys in the business.

  11. Is this available on a dvd or blu ray any where?