Buggles review

Bad Girls Go To Hell

Director: Doris Wishman
Starring: Gigi Darlene

I'd been wanting to see "Bad Girls Go To Hell" for quite some time, ever since I managed to view a sampler pack of sexploitation film trailers from the bizzaro cinema distributor Something Weird video. The collection contained film promos from a variety of 60-70s Adult Only movies, like "The Taste of Flesh" and "Another Day, Another Man" (both cinematic masterpieces I have yet to see.... and believe me, I WILL!) but there was something about the "Bad Girls Go To Hell" trailer that stood out. Most of these leering and lascivious films disguised their libidinous roots by posing as "realistic" examinations of immorality; they pretended to be more conservative than their critics, and the BGGTH advertisement did this quite well with an slightly outraged male voice-over that decried "thrill seekers" and "immoral passions" until it finally lead up to the irrefutable conclusion that "BAD GIRLS GO TO HELL." It only took one viewing of the trailer and I knew I had to see the real thing.

As often is the case, the real thing was a bit of a disappointment compared to the trailer. Yes, "Bad Girls Go To Hell" has all the Peeping Tomfoolery, sexual violence and overdone meloncholism you'd expect from a sexploitation film, in fact it stands out from the crowd if judged on that criterion alone. But you need to sit through a large amount of bad editing and absurd plot devices to satisfy your lust for schmaltz. (What made the trailer so inviting was the complete lack of plot.) It might seem spoiled to complain about a lack of a reasonable storyline in such a film as "Bad Girls Go To Hell", after all, it's precisely that factor that gives these films their fine kitsch value... but after an hour and a half... it gets a little boring.

Nonetheless, there's plenty to rave about with "Bad Girls Go To Hell", starting first with Gigi Darlene, the actress who plays the primary "Bad Girl" in the film. (Of course she's really not bad at all, just naive.) She starts out the film as a pouty, fleshy blonde, who walks around the house in a see-through dress most women would save for their wedding night, and then performs household chores completely oblivious to her feline sexuality. Darleen perfectly embodies the 1960's stereotype of a gorgeous women - back in the day when gals were allowed to eat - and her overabundance of curves and mounds make you curse the fact that today's actresses relegate themselves to the Julia Roberts "Scarecrow" school of sexuality. Gigi is in fact so unaware or how lustful she is, that she thinks nothing of simply donning some underwear underneath her see-though attire and stepping outside her apartment for a bit of shopping. She's instantly attacked by the licentious janitor, and after a bit of plot shifting ends up killing him and deciding to do the only sensible thing one can: move to New York. Once there, she is befriended and betrayed by the following deviants (in this order): a powder keg alcoholic who beats Gigi with a belt then passes out in a chair, an underwear clad nympho who makes an at first unreciprocated lesbianic advance towards Gigi, a prudish woman and her carnal, rapist husband (Does he have his way with Gigi? See the film!) and finally, a elderly invalid woman whose son just happens to be the detective assigned to the case of the janitor Gigi initially killed. Things just never seem to work out for this poor girl.

On top on the abundance of aesthetic appeal provided by Gigi Darleen, there's actually a nice "look" to this film. Done in black and white, by famed 'spoitation' director Doris Wishman, shadows and contrast are used quite nicely to highlight who's a bad guy and who's good. Sometimes it looks too theatrical, but I've always found that look very satisfying - as if it's imposing some sort of moral order on an immoral universe. The film also has plenty of the famous Doris Wishman cutaway shots; Wishman dubbed most of the sound to her films after the shooting, and in order to avoid having to match voices to actors, she often would focus the camera on a nearby object (a shoe, or a discarded pair of panties) when conversation was occurring. For most of the scene in which Al, the belt-beating alcoholic, picks up Gigi in Central Park, the dialogue is heard while the camera is focusing on a nearby family of ducks.

All in all, "Bad Girls Go To Hell" more than delivers what you'd expect from a sexploitation flick, while only minimally burdening the viewer with the cinematic incompetence and wavy plotlines that often accompany such films. If you start a viewing prepared for the weakness, you should have a memorable time.

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