Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ryan Watches A Motion Picture #38: Super Vixens (1975)

Here's how Russ Meyer claims he lost his virginity:

During WWII, Meyer found himself in a French brothel. There he met Ernest Hemingway. When Hemingway learned that Meyer was a virgin, he told the boy he could have any prostitute he liked, and that he'd pick up the tab. Meyer picked the one with the most ample bosom. Later he made films.

And his movies can be pretty surreal at times. If you're unfamiliar with Meyer's brilliant sexploitation work, I'll sum up the basics: incredibly voluptuous women, usually stuck somewhere in arid Arizona, entrenched in hyper-campy battles of the sexes. His films seem to be some kind of reaction to second-wave feminism, and it's debatable as to whether or not his films bash women's liberation or support feminist critique by satirizing sexual politics. For my vote, I find that feminist readings work really well with Russ Meyer films, since men and women are caricatured so completely and intelligently that there's more to it than skin. Women are presented as manipulative psychopaths and sexual enslavers, and men as violent psychopaths and sexual slaves. The flip can be true in other Meyer films, but both genders are always ruled by the power of sex, and the exchange of that power is often disturbing if its not busy with being humourous. Russ Meyer films are a special kind of wonderful bizarre.

Super Vixens is a great example. An evil babe, an asshole boyfriend, a psychotic sheriff, a death, a resurrection, a not-evil babe, a nice boyfriend, Shakespearean vengeance. Of the films I've seen to date, it's Meyer at his most surreal, and possesses Meyer's usual charm in pretty large quantities.

So: If you're going to see any Russ Meyer films, this and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! would be the way to go.

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