A devilish new documentary is making the rounds this fall. Mansfield 66/67, from the Ebersole Hughes Company, premiered at the International Film Festical Rotterdam on January 28th. It’s been gathering steam (along with plaudits and praise) ever since.
Billed as “a true story based on rumor and hearsay,” the documentary examines the last two years of American actress Jayne Mansfield’s life, and the rumors surrounding her death in 1967. Particularly her torrid affair with Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey, and whether the horrific car accident that killed her was caused by a satanic curse LaVey placed on Mansfield’s lover Sam Brody, who also died in the crash. It’s pulsing, pulpy stuff, torn from torrid tabloid spreads. The film examines the fiery affair through interviews, experimental dance numbers, animated interludes, and archival footage of Mansfield and LaVey.
Who better to present such a salacious satanic scandal than such masters of exploitation cinema as John Waters, Kenneth Anger, and Tippi Hedren?
Directors David Ebersole and Todd Hughes are no newcomers to the macabre-umentary. The pair were executive producers on Room 237 (2012), which explored imaginative interpretations of Stanley Kubrick’s masterful adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining.
Despite what Waters says in the extended trailer, Mansfield was neither decapitated nor “scalped” in the car crash. In a 1997 interview with the New York Times, Mansfield’s undertaker put the rumors to rest. “Her head was attached as much as mine is,” he said. In the crash, Mansfield’s blonde wig was thrown from the car onto the side of the road. The first reporters on the scene couldn’t get a good look, but they saw blonde on the pavement, and as every good scandal rag writer knows, nothing sells like sex and blood.
Just ask P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes. Better yet, grab your chalk and black candles, and ask Anton LaVey.
Mansfield 66/67 is currently touring several film festivals across the world. The film will see a limited release in October and November in California, Tennessee, New York, and Ontario. Dates and locations can be found HERE.