Hail Satan! The Devil In Miss Jones 3 and 4 (1986)

Dave gets grubby with Gregory Dark’s takes on a bona fide porno masterpiece.

“I like him because I want to be decent, because I want to do the right thing. I just wish in my heart of hearts that I didn’t think he, Gregory Dark, might be the devil.” [1]

The Devil in Miss Jones (1973) is a wonderful picture.

Expertly made by writer/director Gerard Damiano, it’s a heady blend of arthouse and hardcore that drew positive notices from the likes of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. Even William Friedkin referred to this XXX masterpiece as “a great film” [2]. Premiering in New York City in March 1973, Damiano’s feature outgrossed both of its high profile predecessors, Deep Throat (1972) and Behind the Green Door (1972), and pulled in a whopping $15million. In doing so, it not only became the highest grossing pornographic movie, but it finished ahead of Sidney Lumet’s Serpico (1973) and a whisker behind Live and Let Die (1973) at the year-end box office.

With a good portion of praise being reserved – quite rightly – for Georgina Spelvin’s mesmeric performance as the titular Justine Jones, it was a thrill to find the by-then forty-six year-old actress returning for the sequel, The Devil in Miss Jones Part II (1982). Directed by Henri Pachard (aka Ron Sullivan), the long-awaited follow-up is the obvious bridge between Damiano’s original and Gregory Dark’s genre-bending twofer that would arrive four years later. Pitched more as a satire than a straight-up slice of smut, Pachard’s film benefits from some lavish set design and a cast to die for, with Jack Wrangler, Joey Silvera, Joanna Storm, and a brilliantly comical Robert Kerman (as The Devil’s Advocate) all adding to Spelvin’s welcome return.

Now, I say The Devil in Miss Jones Part II was the bridge between Dark’s sequels, but I didn’t necessarily say that it prepared you for them.

Dark, who had single-handedly invented the alt-porn movement with the groundbreaking New Wave Hookers (1985), describes both THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES 3 (1986) and 4 (1986) as favourites among his extensive adult catalogue – and it’s easy to see why.

It’s Lois Ayres who moves into the role of Justine Jones. A Boston native, Ayres, as cult auteur David DeCoteau calls her, is “the original porn punk rocker” and that was clearly the sort of look that Dark was keen to paint his pornos with. Frustrated by what he perceived to be the staid establishment of the adult industry (a truly funny thought), Dark wanted the club girls of the mid-‘80s to be represented in the genre, and Ayres epitomises them.

Above: Lois Ayres

Cropped bleach blonde hair, heavy eyeliner, and a permanent snarl, Ayres descends on her erotic odyssey into hell with the brilliant Jack Baker as her guide. It’s his job to navigate her through various rooms of debauchery and back to the bright white light of her apartment, which was where she met a premature end in a headboard accident while in the throes of passion with a sympathy seeking jilted groom (Paul Thomas). Interspersed with Justine’s journey is a series of talking head testimonies from people she had known – both carnally and socially – which could well be swiped from Warren Beatty’s Reds (1981). Either way, it’s a trait that Dark grew fond of, and used  several times in his porno career.

What Justine bears witness to is an orgy of filth. Each themed room taunts her and us with hedonistic spectacle. It climaxes – so to speak – with a gangbang featuring Vanessa Del Rio, and it’s a sequence that will have you wincing with its sweat-soaked carnal intensity. But then, that’s what Dark wanted.

“I wanted the sex scenes to be offensive,” he told Ashley West in an interview for The Rialto Report. “Non-erotic, functional, and animalistic.” [3]

Opening theatrically in tandem with its sequel in December 1986, The Devil in Miss Jones 3 had to undergo a degree of pruning, what with the presence Traci Lords. Despite having appeared in Black Throat (1985) and New Wave Hookers for Dark, at the time Lords had, of course, recently been outed as underage, so was in the process of having her skin flick dalliances scrubbed from history.

THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES 4 picks up from the exact moment that its predecessor finishes, albeit with a lot less dynamism and vigour than the previous hour-and-a-quarter. It’s clear that the project was conceived as a whole and splitting it in two dilutes its quality somewhat. Still, Dark’s desire to plumb the depths of depravity continue to shock more and more with every passing minute, twisting the dial of perversity up to eleven and beyond. A visit to The Racist Room forces the bigoted in society to have sex with black women [4], and a trip to The Taboo Breakers yields a plethora of barely dressed oddities exhibiting all manner of kinks and peccadillos. From the Gleaming Spires’ new wave styled opening track [5], to Dark’s aggressive and invasive camerawork that dovetails with the film’s rapid fire cutting, The Devil in Miss Jones 4 is rock n’ roll pornography and the helmer wants us to be outraged.

Degenerate goings-on mixed with a general lack of titillation encompasses the entirety of Dark’s period in the porno game, and it certainly paved the way for a new generation of industry creatives to pull rank and veer from the cookie cutter format of what had gone before, into an increasingly transgressive style of hardcore. Love them or loathe them, it’s impossible not to respect what Dark created. And both of his Devils are the peak.

As Dark chuckled in 2007:

“I always approached these movies like I was some kind of anthropologist performing these experiments – to see what human beings would do, how far they would go. I kept waiting for people to tell me to fuck off… But no one ever did!” [1]

[1] The Devil In Greg Dark by Tom Junod, Esquire Magazine, January 2007.
[2] Interview: Director William Friedkin by Linda Ruth Williams, The Erotic Thriller in Contemporary Cinema, Edinburgh University Press, 2005.
[3] Gregory Dark Interview by Ashley West, The Rialto Report, August 2017.
[4] A thematic link to Let Me Tell Ya Bout Black Chicks (1985), where Dark had two white guys dressed as members of the KKK having a double penetration scene with porn icon Sahara.
[5] A Christian Girl’s Problem.

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