Hello again, Brothers and Sisters of the Psychotronic Video World! You know, our little corner of perversion and depravity would be a lot blander without the subject of today’s tribute. I mean, this man, this god among cheese-peddlers, gave us everything that was good about the 1980s (besides THE TOXIC AVENGER and ROBOCOP), hours of joy in the form of SyFy Channel Original Movies, and such classics of modern sensuality as THE BARE WENCH PROJECT, THE BREASTFORD WIVES, and THE WITCHES OF BREASTWICK. He’s directed under the names Jay Andrews, H.R. Blueberry, Salvadore Russ, Bob Robertson, Jamie Wagner and others, but he’ll always been Jim Wynorski to me.
Our story begins in 1980. Leaving behind him a successful, New York-based commercial business, Jim Wynorski (born August 14th, 1950 in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York) moved out to California where he found work with cinematic mogul Roger Corman. Corman put Wynorski to work cutting trailers for coming attractions, which translated into a crash-course in filmmaking.
In 1985, Wynorski was given his first opportunity to direct: THE LOST EMPIRE. Since he was not sure if he’d ever get the opportunity to make another film, he decided to cram EVERYTHING into this film: Hot chicks with big tits, gorillas, magic, mad science, ninjas, police shoot-outs, hot chicks with big tits, and did I mention hot chicks with big tits?
The following year, Wynorski helmed CHOPPING MALL, perhaps one of the finest films to come out of the 1980s. Horny teenagers hide out in a mall over night to screw around, only to be attacked by the mall’s new, suddenly-malfunctioning robotic security guards. Brilliant film, really a perfect encapsulation of the 1980s.
Much of Wynorski’s output immediately following this was sequels. While, certainly, 1988 saw him direct the remake of NOT OF THIS EARTH, starring former-jailbat Traci Lords, 1989 saw the production of TRANSYLVANIA TWIST, and 1990 brought about HARD TO DIE and THE HAUNTING OF MORELLA, during this same period he also directed BIG BAD MAMA II, DEATHSTALKER II (the pinnacle of the Deathstalker series), THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING (the best superhero movie ever made, bar none) and SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE II.
Throughout the 1990s, Wynorski kept churning out B-flicks, the likes of which include SORCERESS, STORM TROOPER (starring Zach “GREMLINS” Galligan), STEALTH FIGHTER (starring Ice-T), VAMPIRELLA and many more. Call it languishing in video store obscurity, if you will, be I prefer to look at it as steady employment.
In 2000, Wynorski hit big boobed gold. The previous year, the low-budget film THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT turned the horror world on its ear. So, naturally, Wynorski positioned himself to take advantage of this, while also highlighting his greatest passion in life — big, jiggly tits. Enter 2000’s THE BARE WENCH PROJECT. This was quickly followed by THE BARE WENCH PROJECT 2: SCARED TOPLESS, THE BARE WENCH PROJECT 3: THE NYMPH OF MYSTERY MOUNTAIN, BARE WENCH PROJECT: UNCENSORED and BARE WENCH: THE FINAL CHAPTER. Along with these, he made such films as BUSTY COPS 1 and 2, LUST CONNECTION, ALABAMA JONES AND THE BUSTY CRUSADE, THE WITCHES OF BREASTWICK I and II, THE DA VINCI COED, HOUSE ON HOOTER HILL…you get the idea. These films feature a lot more sex then anything else (Gee, ya think?) and often feature adult actresses in “mainstream” roles.
Around the same time, Wynorski began doing Creature Features for SyFy (then called Sci-Fi) Channel, starting with GARGOYLE and CURSE OF KOMODO in 2004, both under the pseudonym Jay Andrews. These were followed by KOMODO VS. COBRA, and most recently, CAMEL SPIDERS, PIRANHACONDA, and GILA!, a remake of the 1959 classic THE GIANT GILA MONSTER.
Concurrent with the production of THE WITCHES OF BREASTWICK, filmmaker Clay Westervelt filmed a documentary on the life and career of Jim Wynorski, called POPATOPOLIS, named after one of Wynorski’s pseudonyms. POPATOPOLIS is simultaneously a biography of Wynorski and a production diary of THE WITCHES OF BREASTWICK, which Wynorski had chosen to film entirely in 3 days, just to see if it was possible for him to do so. The resulting documentary is both comedic and poignant, particularly as it addresses the perceived demise of the “B-Movie” — “there are no B-movies any more, just A-movies and C-movies,” it’s lamented, and Andy Sidaris, another noteworthy B-movie auteur (and subject of a future Tribute article) interviewed for the documentary, in voicing his thoughts on Wynorski and B-movies, mourned this trend, voicing the opinion that B-movies are the films with the most vision, the most imagination, the most creativity.
I’m inclined to agree.
But anyways, this article isn’t a lamentation of the decline of B-movies, but a celebration of the life and career of Jim Wynorski, a B-movie filmmaker and boobhound that I can’t help but look up to. Corman-trained, driven to share his love of big, bouncing pleasure-zeppelins with the world, I salute Mr. Wynorski, and wish him many happy more years behind the camera.
Until next time, Brothers and Sisters of the Psychotronic Video World!
Tags: Andy Sidaris, B-Movies, Big Bad Mama II, boobs, chopping mall, Deathstalker, Deathstalker II, exploitation, Hard to Die, Jim Wynorski, Not of This Earth, roger corman, Sorority House Massacre II, swamp thing, The Return of Swamp Thing, traci lords, Transylvania Twist, Tribute