Satan in High Heels/Review

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< Satan in High Heels
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Place Satan in High Heels firmly in the category of low-budget, female-driven exploitation cinema: salacious, quotable and patently irresistible. (For further study visit Wicked Woman, Shanty Tramp and Common Law Wife.)

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Meg Myles plays Stacey Kane, a traveling-show carnival stripper who’s determined to use her Kim Novak-like face and Marilyn Monroe-like figure to her advantage. No matter that she’s hard as nails, a thief, an opportunist and a corrupter: these are things that she puts to good use.

After stealing her heroin addict boyfriend’s newfound cash, Stacey skips town and lands in New York City. You see, she wants to be a singer not a stripper, and in no time at all she finds a benefactor who knows the manager of a popular nightclub called Pepe’s: all she has to do is, well, “be friendly.”

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At Pepe’s Stacey finds many admirers. There’s nightclub owner Arnold (Mike Keane), Arnold’s playboy son Laurence, (Robert Yullo; a dead ringer for James Franco), and lesbian nightclub manager Pepe herself (“Dark Shadows’” Grayson Hall). On hand in a bitchy “introduction” role is acclaimed burlesque performer Sabrina—all white hair, white costume and white poodle.

Location filming and low angle photography (Stacey’s slinky high heels make more than one appearance) give the picture a 3-D pulp magazine feel; the snappy script and hip jazz score make an impression; and the zingers are plentiful: when a character comments on Stacey’s affability, another one cracks, “A shark is friendly too… if you meet it out of water!”

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A nude swim, a double cross, three full production numbers—the best of which is Stacey’s self-referential “The Female of the Species (Is More Deadly Than The Male),” and a homosexual bartender/junkie who turns out to be a stool pigeon are some of Satan’ sassy, sensational and splendidly sleazy low-lights.

Directed by Jerald Intrator with a script by John T. Chapman and music by Mundell Lowe, Satan delivers its teeming goods with canny exuberance.


Josiah Howard is the author of four books including Blaxploitation Cinema: The Essential Reference Guide (now in a fourth printing). His writing credits include articles for the American Library of Congress, The New York Times and Readers Digest. A veteran of more than one hundred radio broadcasts, Howard also lectures on cinema and is a frequent guest on entertainment news television. Visit his Official Website.

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