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MANSFIELD
66/67 ALL ABOUT
MANSFIELD


EL CORREO GALLEGO

VINTAGE APOCALYPSE

José Luis Losa

Fifty years ago now, while travelling from a nightclub in Biloxi to New Orleans, Jayne Mansfield joined the legendary league of young and famous bodies coming to an exquisitely lurid end. The Buick Elecktra she was in crashed straight into a tractor-trailer, and the collision cleanly severed off the actress’ head. A decapitated, not-so-airhead, with her IQ of 165, her knowledge of five languages and her skill playing the violin, a brutal paradox compared to he stereotype of the blond who played dumb, the pin-up girl with whom Fox hoped to cover Marilyn Monroe’s departure.

girlz

For this commemoration of the half-century anniversary of her death, Todd Hughes and P. David Ebersole have organized an exploding celebration cake. This isn’t a tribute; it’s a cluster bomb that the executive producers of ROOM 237 mix in a cocktail shaker with the ingredients from the last two years of Mansfield’s life, when she was already a broken toy estranged from her mid-fifties fame, fought over by the time by Donen, Tashlin and Walsh. During this summer of 1967, the person Jayne Mansfield would hang out with the most was Anton LaVey, a showbiz shaman, tragicomic precursor of the Manson family and founder of the Church of Satan, flirted with by Sammy Davis Jr, Forrest Ackerman, Joseph Cotton and a sacerdotal and crepuscular Mansfield just 34 year old! With the fuse already lit, the decapitation in Biloxi was presented as a demon’s curse, a spooky sacrifice born of a sorcery ritual. Hughes and Ebersole orchestrate a bacchanal of souls where the satanic LaVey and Jayne Mansfield switch from the crude sensationalism of the lurid crime press to the pink panther dance of cartoons. Where there’s room for the harsh reflection of Kenneth Anger – black pope of Hollywood Babylon – and of John Waters. Or the performance among lysergic outpours from a time that was already announcing that “Helter Skelter” graffiti written with Sharon Tate’s blood. And also a scathing display of the theory of the conspiracy surrounding the accident that leaves Oliver Stone’s JFK looking like a trifle. This campy/napalmy Feast of the Goat1 served to us by the duo Hughes and Ebersole (whose previous track record in the area of evil, with pieces like REFLECTION OF EVIL, THE HORROR AND MYSTERY OF THE SUCCUBUS or INCENSE AND PEPPERMINTS was well deserving of a retrospective) assumes the shape of a teleidoscope that immerses us with a hypnotic power in all the Jayne Mansfields you could ask for; the blonde bombshell who was launched to invigorate the Marilyn Monroe monopoly; the girl who can’t help it that won a Golden Globe Award and redeemed herself as the smartest. The Mansfield who was actually a brunette and reflects on the carnival of her drifting, with a voice lent by Ann Magnuson, singer of the psychedelic rock group Bongwater. And finally, the damned Jayne Mansfield, condemned for LaVey’s black masses, the lame devil who, it would appear, took possession of their final days and – this is without a doubt – takes controls of the final curves of this roller coaster or protean vintage apocalypse that is MANSFIELD 66/67.

1 ‘Feast of the Goat’ – reference to the novel of Mario Vargas Lola.


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