BEST LOCAL GIRL MADE HEAVEN - 2003
Her passport put her age at 82, but relatives think she was at least 90 when this nation's grande dame of the sleazy art film departed Miami this past August 10 on a nudist cruise to hell. At least that was the destination Doris Wishman always thought she'd booked, owing to the naughty nature of her movies. Indeed her reputed cult classic is Bad Girls Go to Hell. But so extensive was this Coral Gables denizen's following that the boat surely dropped her off at that cinema paradiso in the sky, probably still wearing an imitation leopard-skin suit and retro sunglasses. In the Sixties Wishman's low-budget shoots explored a strange universe of nudism. They include Hideout in the Sun, in which two bank robbers hide from the police in a nudist camp, and Blaze Starr Goes Nudist. Another classic overlooked by the Academy was Nude on the Moon, in which astronauts touch down and find a welcoming committee of naked women with antennas and bouffant hairdos. She even delved into heavy international political themes with Behind the Nudist Curtain. As the decade progressed, the self-taught director gradually refined her grainy black-and-white melodramas in which crude men tended to abuse scantily clad women. Critics raved about her jarring jump-cut closeups to ashtrays, squirrels, heaving breasts. Her filmography is a veritable review of Sixties history: Another Day, Another Man; The Sex Perils of Paulette; Bad Girls Go to Hell; Indecent Desires; A Taste of Her Flesh. Perhaps it was a lust for money that led to her mid-Seventies hardcore phase (Come With Me, My Love). But mostly she eschewed explicit sex in her art, preferring to revel instead in tasteless weirdness. A few years later the prolific filmmaker culminated her dream of making a horror flick with A Day to Dismember, about a female porn actress turned psycho-killer. After a long hiatus and a stint working at the Pink Pussycat sex boutique in Coconut Grove, Wishman returned in the new millennium with the lyrical Dildo Heaven and the violent yet sexy Satan Was a Lady. She was editing Each Time I Kill at the time of her death. In the end, she was a crazy sweetheart. "I made all my films out of love," Wishman purred.