With his final big-screen movie, the Sergei Eisenstein of skin- flicks, Russ Meyer, festoons Beyond the Valley of The Ultra-Vixens with his usual cynical and scornful look at small-town Americana. With the birth of video-tape and audiences preferences leaning in favour of penetrative, hard-core porn, Meyer bowed out with dignity, refusing to bow down to audience demand and lower himself to such a cheap and easy form of entertainment (although he would briefly return over twenty years later with Pandora Peaks (2001)). All the Meyer traits are here - blockhead male chauvinists, sex-mad townsfolk, a grizzled narrator, women blessed in the mammary gland area - and are loosely stringed together in what makes up the 'story'.
Set in the small town of, er, Small Town, USA, our narrator, The Man From Small Town USA (Stuart Lancaster), shows us all it's wacky inhabitants. There's a well-endowed evangelical radio preacher (Ann Marie) who has sex inside of a coffin, a man-eating junk-yard owner (June Mack), and a randy dentist/marriage counsellor (Robert E. Pearson). In the centre of it all is the beautiful, big-breasted Lavonia (Kitten Natividad) and her lug-head husband Lamar (Ken Kerr). They are happy enough, only Lavonia's unquenchable thirst for sex and Lamar's preference to 'entering through the back door' means that they must find themselves before they can finally 'come together'.
Co-written with Roger Ebert, Beyond the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens is less a story and more a collection of comic, fruity vignettes. Some of sharp, energetic and funny, others can be plodding. The satire is less sharp here than in his better movies, for instance Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) or Up! (1976), but his admiration of the female form is possibly clearer here than any of his other movies. He's often called anti-feminist, but, with Meyer, it's the women who hold all the power, outwitting and overpowering the numb-nut males, even raping one, a 14-year old boy I may add, in one scene. He certainly doesn't seem to mind though. It's often delightful and even titillating, but ultimately lacks the sharpness and daring of Meyer's best work.
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