Thursday, March 24, 2011

Director of the Week - Russ Meyer

These kids today don't now jack about exploitation filmmaking...They need to look to Russ Meyer to show em how it's done.

I was 1st introduced to the films of Russ Meyer in 2002, by a friend (we miss you rob).  He brought over Up and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. I was totally blown away by Up. It was awesomely gratuitous and excessive in all the right ways. IT was random, crazy; brutal…features a narration by a naked nymph spouting shakesperianespue poetry explaining things that no one cares about. It just get wilder and wilder with every frame.

We followed that up with Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Written by none other than Roger Ebert.  It’s a sequel  (in name only) to Valley of the Dolls about an all girl rock band that goes to tinsel town to make it,” only to fall victim to its decadence. The last half an hour was insane.

I sought out and watched his other work over the following weeks. Most notably Faster Pussycat Kill Kill. Meyer is mostly known for his fixation with large breast. And yes, every single flick of his I saw feature well endowed heroines. But his work was more than that. He used sex to satirize the generation’s rigid values and morality. Many times the women in his films were also strong and powerful; the whole Female Empowerment argument could be made. Whatever their artistic merits, Russ Meyer made his movie his way.

What strikes me most about Meyer today though is what a successful self-distributor he was. All through the 80’s and 90’s he made tons hocking his own movie from his own home and website. I hear even takes phone orders himself.


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