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picture of Lyn Seed in Extras (1976)
Lyn Seed in Extras (1976)

Caught beyond: a long lost 1982 interview with Mandy Moore has resurfaced

On the 18th of September 1982, Mandy Moore, the first lady of sixploitation cinema, was found dead. One month earlier - on the set of "Full Toss" - Moore gave what was to be her final interview.

She was in high spirits, spoke with wit and verve, and - we hope - was oblivious to her deadly predicament as she chatted to Basil Trip from the sixploitation magazine Caught Behind.

picture of Linda Bootlace and Moore (bottom) in Two to Cum (1980)
Linda Bootlace and Moore (bottom) in Two to Cum (1980)

BT: When you were making The Bedsore Twins back in 1976, did you have any idea you would become sixploitation's biggest star?

Mandy Moore: Well I hate to have to correct you but we actually shot the film in 1975. It took more than a year to get it past the BBFC (British Board of Film Censorship) and only then after some fairly heavy editing.

BT: Are you alluding to the much imagined, never seen, but nonetheless legendary "Leg- Bi's" scene between you and Samantha Strokes?

Mandy Moore: No, not at all. The scene you are referring to was removed because by the time the film was cleared for release, Sam was going out with a well known umpire. He had a reputation for being lenient when it came to bouncers, but he wasn't so liberal about his girlfriend facing mine.

BT: Thanks for clearing that up. So, did you plan on becoming the greatest sixploitation star of them all?

Mandy Moore: I am flattered, embarrassed, and must correct you again. There are a lot of actresses that deserve to be mentioned ahead of me. Lyn Seed is probably the most highly regarded. Walter (Less) admits that if Extras (1976) had have failed he would have moved away from cricket heavy plots. Lyn Seed was the reason why that film was a hit and deserves whatever accolades are due for bringing sixploitation into the mainstream.

BT: Did he suggest what direction he might take?

Mandy Moore: Not really, but by then Extras was already huge. Maybe darts because at the same time as we were making The Bedsore Twins, I worked on a film that was never finished called Dart Bored Wives.

BT: I will definitely be asking Walter to elaborate on that. You have managed to wriggle out of acknowledging your esteemed place within sixploitation. Could you at least say a little about how you got involved in the genre?

picture of Samantha Strokes dancing with umpire Alf Spencer at the Playfair Club
Samantha Strokes dancing with umpire Alf Spencer at the Playfair Club

Mandy Moore: Walter was looking to cast someone he hadn't previously worked with and he had seen me in a couple of films I made for Ernie Handles. I am probably a bit more conventional than a lot of people expect and I turned down his offer to appear in a really crazy film he was going to make called The Tied Test.

Linda Bootlace was my room mate at that time and she had played the wicket keeper's daughter in Extras. She assured me that Walter was a true gentleman, explained that his rape fantasy scenes were always very sensitively done, and encouraged me to rethink his offer. So I did, and when I called Walter he surprised me by suggesting a compromise: he would cancel The Tied Test if I agreed to star in The Bedsore Twins.

BT: Did you and Walter hit it off right away?

Mandy Moore: Yes. Walter is never needlessly gratuitous and will not expect you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Being an actor himself he is able to empathise with you in a way few directors can.

Once - while we were making Sticky Wicket (1979) - the script called for me to shoot my first ever girl/girl/umpire/printer/tea-lady/scorer/wicket keeper/PA-announcer/12th man/boy/boy/girl/steward scene.

I told Walter that a scorer would never get involved in a group sex situation on a match day - that the scene lacked plausibility. He said he would think about it and went off to his caravan. Within minutes he came back with a very tasteful rewrite: a grounds-man and his twin daughters had replaced the scorer.

BT: At the risk of possibly touching a raw nerve, why did you take part in the Bernie Barker trilogy?

picture of Less and Moore waiting for a bus in 1979
Less and Moore waiting for a bus in 1979

Mandy Moore: There was and perhaps still is a dominant view that actresses are somehow studio property. That due to some unwritten code of loyalty they should subjugate their creative and economic aspirations to the guarded ambitions and tenuous prosperity of film financiers.

I knew Walter would take it badly given his poor relationship with Bernie but I was still trying to establish myself as a credible actor. People forget that the "Lord's Trilogy" - particularly The Mound Stand (1978) - was art house and afforded me the opportunity to perform in something outside of the exploitation genre.

I was and remain indebted to Walter for keeping me in work, but it was Bernie who first allowed me to showcase my talents as a serious actress.

BT: In The Mound Stand you played a robot that is kept in a storage room in a fictitious pavilion at Lord's Cricket Ground. You are variously used as a bowling machine, for rolling the pitch, cutting the grass, operating the scoreboard, selling scorecards, and confiscating musical instruments from the crowd. It was quite a departure from your earlier roles.

Mandy Moore: Well yes. It was good to be involved in a film that didn't rely on titillation to sell tickets. The fact that NW8 (the name of the robot) is sperm powered is crucial to the plot. There is even talk that the new stand they plan to build at Lord's will be named the Mound Stand.

BT: And things have continued to go from strength to strength since returning to Walter. Tell me about the new film?

picture of Moore in The Mound Stand (1978)
Moore appeared in human and robotic form in The Mound Stand (1978)

Mandy Moore: It's called Full Toss and I am very excited about it. I play an innovative and unconventional bowling coach who transforms a team of Minor County easy-beats into a title winning professional outfit.

BT: My spies tell me that your character is possibly influenced by the Countess in Henry VI, Part 1. Might this be the world's first cricketing interpretation of Shakespeare?

Mandy Moore: No I think you have misheard that. My character has influenza and somebody counted that I have sex six times with the actor Henry Slips.

BT: Thanks for clarifying that. I know you are due on set any moment now, but before you go, could you please say a little about your future plans?

Mandy Moore: Well I hope to keep on making films for as long as there are job offers. I would also like to pursue other projects; possibly something to do with holidays.

But if I didn't need to earn a living, I would retrieve the treasure that rots upon the wishing-well bed. I would return it to those who cast it aside in good faith. And for those that threw for the sake of the splash, I would double the sum in a fit of pique.

BT: You have given hope to wet t-shirt enthusiasts everywhere. Thank you for your time.