Titillating Russ Meyer

Nigel Watson

Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk






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Russ Meyer is one of those directors whose films are so bad that they have achieved a venerated cult status. Some critics have even gone so far as to say that his violent soft-porn films promote an intrinsically feminist point-of-view that was ahead of its time.

British chat show host, DJ and film buff,  Jonathan Ross, praises his films and they have even been showcased at the National Film Theatre. Now, in 2005, we can consider his work for ourselves as for the first time ever in the UK, the complete collection of eighteen of Russ Meyer's most iconic and infamous movies will be available to buy on DVD from 20 June. This includes the controversial Blacksnake starring Anouska Hempel. The collection features:

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Mondo Topless

Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens


Motor Psycho
Cherry, Harry, and Raquel
Common Law Cabin
Good Morning and Goodbye
Pandora Peaks
Eve and the Handyman
Wilds Gals of the Naked West
The Immoral Mr Teas
Finders Keepers Lovers Weepers

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is one of his better known films, and with a title like that it’s hardly going to be forgotten. It neatly sums up many of the themes and obsessions of Meyer. The film centres on three tough, large breasted women who drive around the deserts of Southern California looking for kicks. Varla, the ringleader wins a car race against a young man, then after killing him the trio tie-up his girlfriend. The camera is often placed at ground level and is tilted upwards at the women in a manner that emphasises the ample bosoms of the female protagonists.

In the same year’s Mondo Topless, Meyer dispenses with any attempt at a story altogether. It starts with a naked, big-breasted woman driving through the streets of San Francisco. This reminds me of a scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) when a fully dressed, but far more attractive, Kim Novak drives through these streets in a mindless daze. In Meyer’s version the buildings take on phallic dimensions and the undulating motions of the car are suggestive of sexual activities. From here Meyer shows us topless dancers in a club and women rocking their breasts in pools and various landscapes. His fascination with naked women in outdoor settings is also indulged in Up!

Using 'Vixens' in his film titles became something of a goldmine for Meyer. Again, these are poorly thought-out stories that feature large naked breasts and equally ludicrous violence.

Considered Russ Meyer’s most controversial work ever, Blacksnake stars ex-Bond babe (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), designer and English aristocrat Anouska Hempel as a sexy and unforgiving slave driver.  No man escapes her island…. Or her whip!  

As ‘The Duchess of Doom’, Anouska Hempel is an aggressive, sexy, dominant slave driver in this non-PC, 70s kitsch classic – the ultimate sexploitation movie. The story is based on a slave revolt on a 19th century Caribbean island and it aroused mass controversy following its original release.  Many people, including Hempel, tried to ban it.

Meyer casting Hempel in this movie was controversial in itself; she had normal size breasts, Hollywood credentials and breeding.  

Blacksnake also stars the original Star Wars lord of darkness, Darth Vader actor Dave Prowse and is available as a twin-pack alongside the aptly named Wild Gals of the Naked West

Wild Gals has that saucy Russ Meyer touch featuring the erotic western lives of cruel men and their voluptuous women.

On a perkier note, another title in this set is Pandora Peaks. Fans can be forgiven for thinking they are watching a movie in 3D when the jaw-dropping 72HHH breasts of the acutely named actress seemingly burst through the TV screen. Pandora’s set is enhanced even further with the edition of Finders Keeper Lovers Weepers, a non-stop rollercoaster of flesh, fantasy, and action.

Finally, fans will be able to feast their eyes on another great pair with Meyer’s first ever skin flick, The Immoral Mr Teas, plus Eve and The HandymanMr Teas set Meyer’s cinematic wheels in motion, while Eve and The Handyman, featuring Russ’s first wife and the first-ever Playboy playmate Eve Meyer, is as saucy and as exciting as they come!

All Meyer’s films show women’s breasts released from the prison of their bras, yet the toughness and violence metered-out by these women reveals a need for punishment for his (and our own) voyeuristic urges. At the time they must have seemed quite erotic and shocking for their level of nudity and violence, now they provide a glimpse into some of the most titillating fantasies of the 60s and 70s. These are genuine kitsch classics that celebrate enormous busts long before the like of Jordan and Pamela Anderson went under the surgeon's knife.
The full, uncut DVD collection, each sold separately, is available from all good DVD retailers and Ann Summers stores (Stockists: 0845 456 2320).
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Material Copyright © 2005 Nigel Watson