Smith’s second feature length film appears to derive from his adoration of Maria Montez, the B- movie star best know for her performance in “Cobra Woman.” It features a variety of 30’s horror film monsters, a mermaid, a lecher, and various cuties performed by a cast which included Mario Montez, John Vaccaro, Diane DePrima, Beverly Grant, Tiny Tim, and others.
Jack Smith was raised in Texas and, after making his first film Buzzards over Baghdad (1952), moved to New York in 1953.
Smith was one of the first proponents of the aesthetics which came to be known as ‘camp’ and ‘trash’, using no-budget means of production (e.g. using discarded color reversal film stock) to create a visual cosmos heavily influenced by Hollywood kitsch, orientalism and with Flaming Creatures created drag culture as it is currently known. Smith was heavily involved with John Vaccaro, founder of The Playhouse of The Ridiculous, whose disregard for conventional theater practice deeply influenced Smith’s ideas about performance art. In turn Vaccaro was deeply influenced by Smith’s aesthetics. It was Vaccaro who introduced Smith to glitter and in 1966 and 1967 Smith created costumes for Vaccaro’s Playhouse of The Ridiculous. Smith’s style influenced the film work of Andy Warhol as well as the early work of John Waters, and while all three were part… read more
Over the last three days I've watched this film some seven or eight times on ubuweb (a very degraded video copy with faded color and false black shadows,) while preparing a little slide show for my own enjoyment using still images gleaned from Mary Jordan's documentary. I'm waiting for a better quality dvd to appear. (Any day now.) In whatever form it is seen, this film transcends normality.