The Goddesses of Underground Cinema: DARLENE BENNETT
This Stepping Into Something Weird feature came about for two reasons; Michael Findlay and Doris Wishman. My friend and co-host David was in the early stages of an obsession with the films of Michael Findlay; an obsession which began with Findlay’s Flesh trilogy. Sharing a similar taste in film his enthusiasm made me seek out the trilogy for myself. This led me to the Something Weird Video catalog. I was certainly familiar with the distribution company’s films but outside of Herschell Gordon Lewis’s work I had not really delved deep into their library. Something Weird Video has a list of categories in their sidebar and one of those categories is Doris Wishman. I had seen one film directed by Ms. Wishman ; Bad Girls Go to Hell which I could just barely recollect. The world of film is ridiculously thin on female directors and I felt it was my duty as a film fan and a woman to explore her world. I added Something Weird Video’s double feature Bad Girls Go to Hell and Another Day Another Man to my queue. The film arrived in my mailbox the day before David and I were beginning our Vancouver International Film Festival journey. We were really disappointed with our first film festival choice and required a serious palette cleansing. Bad Girls Go to Hell followed by Another Day Another Man did the trick! Unfortunately our film festival experience continued to be a disappointment. Each night we made up for our mediocre festival choices with more Wishman! We couldn’t stop! Next it was our mutual favourite Wishman flick Indecent Desires followed by The Sex Perils of Paulette, My Brother’s Wife and Too Much Too Often. I have now seen almost every one of Doris Wishman’s films; a director I only discovered a couple of months ago has now become a favourite! Doris Wishman will be the next director in My Favourite Five Series.
The reason for this long introduction to The Goddesses of Underground Cinema is because of my subject Goddess Darlene Bennett. Darlene Bennett was a favourite of Doris Wishman’s and has been featured in five of Ms. Wishman’s flicks. My absolute favourite Bennett/Wishman role is Tracy in The Sex Perils of Paulette. Tracy is a hardcore bitch and immediately takes advantage of the wishy-washy Paulette. Paulette is such a flake I applauded Tracy’s delicious cruelty. Tracy is the perfect mix of smart, trampy and fun that just hits all the right notes. On equal footing is her role as Zena in My Brother’s Wife. Seductive, self-involved and sleazy Zena is a triumph and is bar-none the highlight of the film. At one point she sits on the damn camera lens (the above image of Darlene admiring her reflection is from My Brother’s Wife)! Both the aforementioned films have Ms. Bennett hooked up with another Wishman regular Sam Stewart and the two have a wondrous easy chemistry that makes the characters especially appealing. Less dynamic, but certainly no less memorable were her roles in Bad Girls Go to Hell, where she is styling as Tracy; A Taste of Flesh, as “I ain’t taking no shit from nobody” Carol; and her briefest role in a Wishman film as Lisa in Too Much Too Often where she is the unfortunate victim of a particularly sleazy gigalo. Darlene Bennett had an active acting career beginning in 1963 until 1968 when she disappeared completely from the world of acting. I was not able to find a single solitary bit of trivia about this gorgeous goddess who has been so very memorable in everything I have seen her in. Darlene Bennett has a twin sister Dawn who was also an actress. The two were in several films together including two Wishman flicks; My Brother’s Wife and Bad Girls Go to Hell. Her sister Dawn was not nearly as active in the industry starring in literally half the amount of films; 17 to Darlene’s 34. The twin sisters obviously bear a striking resemblance to one another but are not identical. Needless to say the novelty of twin sisters must have been extremely appealing to exploitation directors. Every single film that I have seen on Darlene’s list has been an exploitation title and several of these titles can be found in the Something Weird Video catalog. As well as the aforementioned Wishman flicks, Darlene Bennett also performed for directors Michael Findlay, Barry Mahon and Joseph P. Mawra among others. Beautiful Darlene Bennett is the perfect mix of sexy, cute, naughty and beautiful with a killer smile and a body to match that should be celebrated for the Goddess she is. Oh! And talented…I must not forget talented! I would like to thank David for helping me acquire several of the pictures I have included here. A special thanks for the pictures from Barry Mahon’s short film Naked Fury. Naked Fury was included on the supplements for the double feature Scum of the Earth and The Defilers. The short features narration by director Barry Mahon who was concerned about Darlene and her twin sister Dawn’s reaction to a particular photo shoot. The photo shoot required the women to don lingerie and wrestle with one another. The women as it turns out were wrestling pros as they grew up together fighting. I absolutely love the shots that David chose for this charming little short. David is not only a good friend, but a talented and passionate writer; look for David’s feature on The Films of Michael Findlay at the end of the month! Below are several pictures of Darlene in her various roles followed by a list of all her acting credits and a short clip of Naked Fury.
Darlene as Zena in Doris Wishman’s My Brother’s Wife
Darlene with twin sister Dawn in My Brother’s Wife
Darlene as Tracy in Doris Wishman’s The Sex Perils of Paulette.
Darlene as Carol in Doris Wishman’s A Taste of Flesh.
Darlene as Lisa with Buck Starr as Mike Torson in Doris Wishman’s Too Much Too Often.
Darlene as Connie in Joseph P. Mawra’s Olga’s Girls.
Darlene as Monica in Michael Findlay’s The Sin Syndicate. Borrowed from My Kind of Story Images.
Darlene and her twin sister Dawn in Barry Mahon’s short film Naked Fury. This short was included on the supplements for the double feature Scum of the Earth and The Defilers. Pictures courtesy of my co-host David.
Beautiful dreamy shot of Darlene as Sapphos in Michael Findlay’s Take Me Naked provided by my co-host David.
Darlene with Roberta Findlay in Michael Findlay’s Take Me Naked provided by my co-host David.
DARLENE BENNETT’S ACTRESS CREDITS
Too Much Too Often! (1968) Lisa
Instant Orgy (Short) (1967)
FIle X for Sex: The Story of the Perverted (1967) Gal in Stag Film #1 (uncredited)
The Singles (1967)
A Taste of Flesh (1967) Carol
Double Trouble (Short) (1966) Twin (uncredited)
Naked Fury! (Short) (1966) Twin
My Brothers Wife (1966) Zena
Take Me Naked (1966) Sapphos (as Doris Dobb)
Misconduct (1966) Secretary
Hot Nights on the Campus (1966)
Sin in the City (1966) Girl at Beatnik Party (uncredited)
Prostitutes Protective Society (1966) Prostitute (uncredited)
Crazy Wild and Crazy (uncredited) (1965)
Music to Strip By (Short) (1965) Corey (uncredited)
The Art School for Nudists (Short) (1965) Nudist at Volleyball Court
The Room Mates (Short) (1965) Darlene
The Soul Snatcher (Short) (1965)
Bad Girls Go to Hell (1965) Tracy
Nudes on Tiger Reef (1965)
Naughty Nudes (1965) Darlene (as Darlene)
Rent-a-Girl (1965) Water hose bondage girl
The Secret Society (1965)
Nudes Inc. (1965)
The Beast That Killed Women (1965) Girl in Bunk Bed #1 (uncredited)
The Sex Perils of Paulette (1965) Tracy (as Darlene Bennet)
The Girl with the Magic Box (unconfirmed) (1965)
Lust and the Flesh (1965) Girl at Party
International Smorgas-Broad (as the Swenson Twins, credit only) (1965)
Nude Scrapbook (1965)
The Sin Syndicate (1965) Monica
Olga’s Girls (1964) Connie (as Giselle Swan)
1,000 Shapes of a Female (1963) Dismissed Model
Sittlichkeitsverbrecher (1963) Woman with Whip in U.S. Inserts (uncredited)
An excert from Barry Mahon’s short Naked Fury featuring Darlene and Dawn Bennett.