John Michael McCarthy kicked off his filmmaking career by writing and directing DAMSELVIS, DAUGHTER OF HELVIS in 1994. The project had started as a Fantagraphics comic book which was later published as a fumetti with photos and a "making of" article*(see article "Custom Filmmaking").

Fellow filmmaker Hugh Gallagher would shoot most of the movie on Super VHS. Cinematographer Darin Ipema would finish the job and assist photographer David Thompson with the edit. Darin Ipema, JMM and starlet wife Dawn Ashcraft produced with the film. Sherry Lynn Garris played the part of the sexy superheroine and George Cole played her father Helvis!**

The super low budget "film" was shot during Elvis Deathweek 1993 and premiered on Elvis Birthweek 1994***, thus beginning JMM's obsessive pop culture take on Elvis Aron and his stillborn twin, Jesse Garon (the rock and roll messianic ying yang of Birthweek and Deathweek) as well as the start of the oldest independent film company in Memphis, Tennessee, at the time called "Big Broad Films, before finally becoming Guerrilla Monster Films by 1998. Listed in this column are many cool moments in the early history of DAMSELVIS (including the Compulsive Gamblers single featuring "Black Damselvis" teenage starlet Portia Jeffries, photographed by Jim Cole

Although DAMSELVIS, DAUGHTER OF HELVIS was too experimental for an existing distributor at the time, the movie will eventually find a home as part of the complete box set of JMM's work called "THE NEW McCARTHYISM; The Twentieth Century Movies of John Michael McCarthy".

* A year later, Something Weird Video, another Seattle company would assist JMM in getting the word out on guerrilla monster films next release TEENAGE TUPELO.
**Susan Ferris was the first to don the costume, with a couple of MIA's in between until actress Garris was found at World Wide Talent Agency. Since then, models include starlets Kelly Ball and Alica Trout (who wore the costume during a scene in Craig Brewer's "$5 Cover".
*** JMM considers January 8th to the beginning of the new year. Later JMM creates the GOSPELVIS, a new religion, entirely American, founded on the mythic and universal archetypes of Elvis and Jesse.