Do You Know This Image?
If you do, it’s because of the vision of one person: a man who loved large breasts and empowered women – which he turned into an incredible career in film…
Russ Meyer Lives!
Let’s face it, you either know who Russ Meyer is – or you SHOULD know who Russ Meyer is – why? Because in the annals of exploitation movie making, you have missed out on the greatest filmmaker of sexploitation ever! He was a truly unique filmmaker with a singular vision, and a particular obsession!
Oh, did I mention he has an affinity for well-endowed, empowered women? Russ Meyer’s Autobiography was called “A Clean Breast”!
A Clean Breast : The Life and Loves of Russ Meyer (3 Volume Set)
Russ Meyer’s long-awaited autobiography was released in August 2000 – and it was an immense, 18-pound, 3-volume set that is nearly as stupendous as the magnificently endowed actresses who have helped make Meyer’s films legendary.
FYI: This is not meant to be a bio of the man – for that, go to his terrific website and dig in:
This also isn’t an exhaustive look at his movies – there is just too much to cover, but here are some posters fo this early films…
“Ever Wonder Why Wives WANDER?”
I love that tagline, and as you can see from the posters, he was an early pioneer of exploitation filmmaking, pushing the envelope as the world entered a more permissive era in cinema…
And without a doubt, Russ Meyer LOVED empowered women. His actresses are tough as nails, and ready to kick some serious butt! Russ Meyer celebrated a world consisting of idiotic men, tough women, large breasts, and wild antics!
That became clear with the release of a film that turned cinema upside down:
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
In 1965, Meyer unleashed one of the most iconic movie titles ever!
Here’s how the film starts:
Narrator: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to violence, the word and the act. While violence cloaks itself in a plethora of disguises, its favorite mantle still remains… sex. Violence devours all it touches, its voracious appetite rarely fulfilled. Yet violence doesn’t only destroy, it creates and molds as well. Let’s examine closely then this dangerously evil creation, this new breed encased and contained within the supple skin of woman. The softness is there, the unmistakable smell of female, the surface shiny and silken, the body yielding yet wanton. But a word of caution: handle with care and don’t drop your guard. This rapacious new breed prowls both alone and in packs, operating at any level, any time, anywhere, and with anybody. Who are they? One might be your secretary, your doctor’s receptionist… or a dancer in a go-go club!
This was a movie that introduced the classic exploitation promise: action, women and sex sex sex! The plot line was simple: Three strippers seeking thrills encounter a young couple in the desert. After dispatching the boyfriend, they take the girl hostage and begin scheming on a crippled old man living with his two sons in the desert, reputedly hiding a tidy sum of cash.
Here is the trailer:
It wasn’t just the title that was iconic – Meyer also introduced the world to one of the coolest, most iconic sexploitation stars of all time!
“Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! introduced the world to Tura Satana, who become one of the biggest cult stars ever.
Satana’s most noted screen role was as Varla –a very aggressive and sexual female character – and a role in which she did all of her own stunts and fight scenes.
Next up was Meyer’s trilogy of sexploitation action films:
THE “VIXEN” TRILOGY! – Vixens / Super Vixens / Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Vixens
It’s easy to see why “Vixen!” is one of the late Russ Meyer’s more popular movies, with one of those reasons being Erika Gavin. Gavin, as the libidinous title character, seems to be having a great time frolicking through this movie, mounting Canadian mounties, sexually teasing her biker brother or seducing the young couple who stay at the mountain lodge she and her pilot husband operate.
The “Vixens” movies were another chapter in the crazy, anything goes world of movie making that was the Russ Meyer way – and they made money, playing grind houses and drive-ins all across America!
Meyer’s last films were released near the end of the 70’s, but they live on in all sorts of special editions, which you can see at his website.
Of all the movies Russ Meyer made, this is perhaps the most unusual:
Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls – 1970.
When three female rock’n’rollers travel to Hollywood to claim an inheritance, they meet up with a kinky music promoter who turns them on to a whole new scene. At first, all seems very exciting and the naïve trio becomes submerged in his dangerous tinseltown underworld-before they discover his true motives.
Here is the trailer:
Yes, this is the legendary sequel to / and satire of “Valley Of The Dolls”, scripted by Roger Ebert! And X-rated when it was released! The DVD special edition calls it “A rock ‘n’ roll extravaganza of ample proportions!
The film has been released in a terrific home video edition. Look at what is offered on the deluxe DVD:
Commentary by screenwriter and film critic Roger Ebert
Commentary by cast members Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Harrison Page, John La Zar and Erica Gavin
“Above, Beneath and Beyond the Valley: The Making of a Musical-Horror-Sex-Comedy” documentary
“Look on up at the Bottom: The Music of Dolls” featurette
“The Best of Beyond” featurette
“Sex, Drugs, Music and Murder: Signs of the Times, Baby!” featurette
“Casey and Roxanne: The Love Scene” featurette
Actor screen tests
Uschi Digard starred in a number of Meyer’s films, and I took a look at her incredible career as well, which you can click here to see:
So there you go: a taste of Russ Meyer and his influence on cinema.
If you like these stories, you can go to my website’s front page and sign on to follow me – there are NO ads at all, just lots of stories to come about the wild world of exploitation and cult films!
Click here and see the “follow” button on the upper right!
Here you go, a number of ways to experience Russ Meyer – enjoy!
Categories: 70's Films, Books / Media, Camp Cult Classics, Cult Classics, Exploitation Films, Grindhouse, JRsploitation, Nudity, Russ Meyer, sex kittens, Sexploitation Films, Talent / Celebrites, Uncategorized