A Night to Dismember

A Night of DismemberInspiration and desperation are uneasy kin. Filmmaker Doris Wishman knows firsthand. This grand lady of trash cinema made sleaze classics like Nude on the Moon, Bad Girls Go to Hell and Deadly Weapons (featuring the 73-inch breasts of Chesty Morgan), but she was thrown for an even more humongous curve in the late ’70s when a disgruntled lab tech destroyed more than half of her unfinished A Night to Dismember (1983, 69 minutes). Regardless, she had to deliver a picture to investors, so Doris began the painful process of cutting the surviving bits of footage together into a relatively cohesive flick. The result was something of a Frankenstein monster with jagged twists and rough edges, yet a clear testament to perseverance and creativity. Two traits Wishman has never held in short supply. Currently, Doris is set to return to the screen with her 27th picture, Dildo Heaven, a characteristically provocative story of three gals out to bed their bosses.

The movie: Suburban family life tends to be a hair more twisted through Wishman’s lense. Vicki Kent (Samantha Fox) is home fresh from the funny farm after being sent there for killing some folks years ago. She feels better now, except her jealous brother and sister are determined she doesn’t stay that way. They conspire to drive her right back into criminal insanity without really considering the repercussions. Namely, maybe she’ll up and decide to KILL THEM. Now there’s an idea! Somebody’s bumping off folks left and right just the same. Usually after they’ve either had sex, dreamed about sex, or made the foolish decision to relax (nude) in the abyss of death otherwise known as THE BATHTUB! Ocassionally, this police detective comes snooping around to follow up on leads leaked by a mysterious caller, but he mostly uses these as an excuse to ogle Vicki who can’t seem to keep her clothes on. There’s a humdinger of a twist ending if you have the attention span of a trout. Some CineSchlockers will deny all knowledge of Ms. Fox’s reign among early porn queens of the late ’70s/early ’80s. Still others will confuse her for the sexpot-Brit-pop-singer by the same name. Tisk. Tisk.

Notables: Six breasts. 16 corpses. Multiple axe murders. Nail through the neck. Group grope. Double decapitation. Heart ripping. Head crushing. Finger lopping. Stuffed-dog abuse. Peeping. Gratuitous dream sequence. Psychedelic graphics.

Quotables: Part of the bizarro charm of this flick is that its entirely dubbed. Every bit of dialogue was added after filming along with the sound effects and recycled music. Our narrator is Detective O’Maley who says wacky stuff like, "Vicki saw me looking through the shades and started to dance. It was a long time since any man had paid attention to her" … and … "Mary ran to the cellar. She’d be safe there" … and his iron-clad cover story, "If you were wondering how I came upon all these intimate details. The Kents had one thing in common: they all kept diaries."

Time codes: Victim’s severed head melts A LOT like a big hunk of wax in the fireplace (19:23). Zombie rises from the murky depths of a lake (27:10). Vicki does an impromptu striptease in her boudoir (32:58). Great ice pick to the neck effect (49:39).

Final thought: The Godmother of Gore she isn’t, because if there is such a thing as BAD bloodletting this is certainly it. Yet the unparalleled diva of exploitation never fails to provoke the gap-jawed disbelief of her audience.