Tag Archives: Uschi Digard

RUSS MEYER’S SUPERVIXENS (1975)

had seemingly put low budget independent film permanently behind him when he made Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970, co-written with ) and The Seven Minutes (1971) for super-studio 20th Century Fox. The first film made an unprecedented nine million dollars, but the latter was a commercial and critical failure. The axiom “you are only as big as your last film” held true, and Meyer was back on an independent path with the Caribbean-filmed period drama Black Snake (1973). Unfortunately, that was also a commercial failure. Some advocated it as an attempted change-of-pace for Meyer, but many felt the director had lost his footing.

Supervixens (1975) marked a return to Meyer’s zanier sexploitation style. It also finds him trying to catch up with his earlier self and with the indie school he influenced, which had already surpassed Meyer in its sex and violence quotas. Fortunately, he succeeded, and Supervixens‘ unexpected financial success (especially for an independent film) paved a path for the larger budgets of Up! (1976) and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (1979; his second and final collaboration with Ebert as co-writer).

Still from Supervixens (1975)Square-jawed full-service gas attendant Clint (Charles Pitts) is married to super jealous Super Angel (Shari Eubank). She is convinced his “Super Service” includes more than washing the windows of well-endowed Super Lorna (Christy Hartbug). Angel calls Clint’s former Nazi boss (!?!) Martin Bormann (Henry Rowland) and informs the hayseed that hubby better get home right now (for sex) or she will burn down the house. After beating the hell outta Clint, Super Angel plays victim and gets copper Harry Sledge () to arrest her philandering hubby.

Clint’s drowns his sorrows with bartender Super Haji (). While the cat’s away, Super Angel plays with not-so-super Harry. Alas, Harry is no Dirk Diggler, and after she mocks his libido, he sadistically beats, stabs, stomps, strangles, drowns and electrocutes her in the most violent scene from any Meyer film (it is disconcertingly brutal, even by contemporary standards), before burning down the house for real.

After turning down Haji’s “come hither” advances, Clint’s alibi goes bonkers, making him the most likely suspect in his wife’s murder. Clint hits the road in a Chuck Jones-styled desert rendition of a Homerian odyssey. He hitches a ride with swinging couple Cal (John Lazar) and Super Cherry (Colleen Brennan). Poor unfortunate soul Clint is a magnet to super-sized udders, and after turning down ménage a trois action with the duo, he gets beaten up, robbed, and dumped in the desert.

A good Samaritan picks Clint up and takes him home to his new mail-order bride: Super Soul (), who also tries to rape our hero. Soul is persistent and runs round the farm naked an awful lot, but again, Clint resists temptation, and barely escapes a flying pitchfork.

Clint’s next stop is at a motel, whose proprietor has an amorous daughter in Super Eulah (Deborah McGuire). Another attempted seduction leads to another exit stage left through the sand dunes in a scene akin to an X-rated comic book version of a Road Runner chase.

Clint encounters true love at Super Vixen’s Oasis. Super Vixen (Eubank) is the virtuous reincarnation of Angel (she wears a white dress, sports white shoes, drives a white car, and has painted her diner white).

Harry comes to spoil the lovers’ bliss, bringing out his whole arsenal, direct from Acme. Like a certain coyote named Wile E., Harry has bought some defective weaponry and blows himself up. For any viewer that may doubt Meyer’s conscientious homage to Looney Tunes, the director even includes a “beep, beep,” coming from nowhere in the desert as our villain gets blown to smithereens. Topping that is Super Vixen, perched naked atop a phallic rock, shouting “that’s all folks!” like Porky (thankfully) never did.

Indeed, Supervixens is a Russ Meyer ramped up spectacle of surreal caricatures paying homage to… Russ Meyer. The best approach is to chew slowly and digest.

RUSS MEYER’S CHERRY, HARRY & RAQUEL! (1970)

s Cherry, Harry, And Raquel (1970) is a film that achieves a sense of hyper-surrealism through kinetic editing alone. Actually, it may be one of the most bizarrely edited films in the whole of cinema. It opens with scrolling text: a strange preamble about the First Amendment and how constipated religious right wackos are a threat to Freedom of Speech, juxtaposed against images of nudie cuties bouncing up and down on a bed. Naturally, the imagery is intentionally provocative, and there is no doubt that some 1970 evangelical heads exploded when this played the drive-in circuit. Of course, it doesn’t take much to bring out the Pat Robertsons or Donald Trumps, be it boobs or red coffee cups, but Meyer was not about to risk being inoffensive. He not only filled the screen with bouncing udders, but also threw in a “pickle shot” courtesy of actor Charles Napier (in his first Meyer film; from here until 1975 the two collaborated in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, The Seven Minutes, and Supervixens). Although Napier’s full frontal nudity in Cherry, Harry, and Raquel was brief, it was enough to to earn the movie an “X” certification.

Beyond the hyperbole is an authentically eccentric film that moves like quicksilver. Cherry, Harry & Raquel officially opens with an even more bizarre narration, warning about the evils of potheads and marijuana coming up from Mexico (cue shots of the border patrol and of , as the goddess Soul, tanning on a yacht). The buxom blonde prostitute Raquel (Larissa Ely) is in the desert, cavorting with a dark-haired man. In case we don’t get it, there are numerous shots of a phallic shaped rock. As she is atop her lover, he grabs her breasts, which sharply cuts to an extreme close-up of Harry (Napier) shuffling a deck of cards in a poker game. The gamblers are interrupted by a knock coming from the door. The messenger informs Harry that “the old man” wants him. However, old man Franklin (Frank Bolger) is busy being orally serviced by Raquel (a strategically placed chalice blocks the view, inviting us to imagine what she is doing between the geezer’s legs). The intercuts are switchblade-like, potentially inducing viewer whiplash. Franklin fares worse because his orgasm is interrupted by Harry come-a-knockin’.

Still from Cherry, Harry & Raquel (1970)Harry’s ex-biz partner Apache (John Milo) is muscling in on their monopoly drug racket. Franklin gives Harry the order to waste Apache. Harry takes Raquel with him, which of course leads to sex in the desert, and nobody films makin’ whoopee like Meyers: close-ups of white boots tappin’ the pedal to the metal, phallic rocks, naked girls atop a police car, Soul, wearing only an Indian feather bonnet, embracing more phallic rocks, spinning red sirens, and even a sliver of lezbo action. Don’t expect it to make narrative sense. Just kick back and revel as Meyer’s scissors sculpt his softcore ode to Tex Avery. The only thing missing is a lecherous howlin’ wolf (or, perhaps not).

Harry drops off Raquel, picks up deputy Enrique (Bert Santos) and together the two of them head back to the desert after Apache. After a shoot-out, Harry hooks up with buxom nurse babe Cherry (Linda Ashton), has sex with her, drives her out into the desert and transforms her into a sand castle! As Harry digs out Cherry’s vital parts, the two go at it again. Cue quick cuts of Soul: see Soul exercise in the buff. See Soul shower. See Soul run on a train naked. See Soul mate with a rock penis. See Soul eat celery in her birthday suit. See Soul in the desert, sitting naked atop her car as Harry changes her flat tire. See Soul as a nude telephone operator in the middle of nowhere. The desert lovemaking is one of the most authentically strange vignettes this side of or .

Recovering from that montage, the story proceeds to Cherry giving Franklin a sponge bath, but once again the poor old fella just can’t find completion. He calls Harry: “Send Raquel over for a session. Oh, and kill Enrique too. He knows too much.” Meanwhile, Enrique has sex with Raquel and decides to keep the dope for himself. Raquel snuggles up to Franklin, only to find someone has murdered him in his hospital bed.

As luck would have it, Apache is still alive and kills Enrique, saving Harry the effort. Raquel and Cherry finally consummate their affair while Apache and Harry blow each other apart. Boys will be boys. Girls will be girls.

The narrator returns, assuring there is a lesson in all of this and it has something to do with Soul (and the evils of pot). Of course, no one is going to give a damn about the lesson. If ever a movie was tailor made to go with an entire bag of pizza rolls, Cherry, Harry and Raquel would be it.