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This one’s for all the fellas out there.

Russ Meyer is the epitome of the American rags-to-riches story. His mother was a nurse who raised him in southern California in the 20s & 30s. His father was a police officer that, due to divorce, had virtually no contact with Russ throughout his life. Russ’ mom pawned her wedding ring in 1936 to buy her boy an 8mm film camera and by 1937, at the age of just 15, Russ began winning prizes with his amateur films. In the 1940s, he served as a U.S. Army combat cameraman in Europe. When he returned after the war, unable to get work in Hollywood, he made industrial films & even freelanced as a Playboy photographer! His experience creating documentary-style films, heavy with narration, (along with his love of the female form) would inform much of his later work.

By the late 1950s, Russ had decided to switch into feature film-making with his naughty comedy The Immoral Mr. Teas. It is in this genre blend of slapstick comedy combined with sexual themes that Russ Meyer would make his name.

Cult indie director Russ Meyer loved 2 things in this world: breasts. Big, beautiful, bouncy, boobs. Tremendous ta-tas. Massive mammaries. Colossal cans! Gargantuan gazongas! Ridiculous racks! I’m talking real whoppers here, guys. Russ loved him some sweater meat, and he didn’t make any bones about it. Gigantic jugs! BROBDIGNAGIAN BUSTS, okay fellas?! This man was obsessed with momma’s milk factories in a way that would make Sigmund Freud blush. He wanted giant jiggling casaba melons all up in his face, 100% of the time, and he made no excuses for it.
The thing about Russ Meyer’s work, as ridiculous as this may sound, is that he doesn’t objectify women. Sure, he is hyper-focused on large bosoms in a way that may make you uncomfortable and he chooses his leading ladies based on who has the biggest pair, I’ll grant you that. But Russ just used tits the way John Woo uses bullets. Or Wes Anderson uses insufferably quirky hispters. Or Quentin Tarantino uses other people movies. He just really likes tig ol' bitties, you guys.

Although that sounds extremely sexist, one must consider this: in modern films, 81% of protagonists are male. 77% of dialogue is spoken by male characters. 64% of screen time is devoted to men.

Despite the fact that women are 51% of the U.S. population, Hollywood treats them like they’re half human. The only characters they’re permitted to portray are directly related to their sexuality: wife, mom, daughter, etc… whereas men are more likely to be portrayed as having a job, a goal, or a mission. Russ meyer, by contrast, casts his women as dominant & bold masters of the world. They demand much from their men, and if their men can’t satisfy them, then they’ll find someone else who can. In his films women are stern taskmasters and iron-fisted dictators, not doting housewives or obedient sex slaves.

In Russ’ mind, it’s a woman’s world & we’re just living in it. He always treated his mother and stepsister with the utmost of respect, and he went to great lengths to show women as powerful in his features. He was progressive in many ways, only including trite moral lessons in his films to appease distributors and theater owners. He knew that the only avenue to show all the sex and free spirited love-making in his films was to make sure that the so-called “sinners” were punished at the end.

It’s in figuring out this formula that Russ became the man who single-handedly transformed the stag-party-level softcore “nudie cuties” of the late 50s and early 60s into the unabashed, violent sexploitation grindhouse flicks of the 70s. Russ Meyer WAS the transition. He took the “girl next door” style of innocent Playboy-era antics and turned them into violent, brutal, and often surreal dances on the dark side.

The women at the center of Russ Meyer’s universe are empowered.
They grab life by the balls, and men by the stick.
Supervixens - Burn DOWN this fuckin' lean-to!
Meyer writes strong-willed women that are fed up with men & their pathetic, puny little egos. They’re rebelling against the patriarchy, taking back what’s rightfully theirs. They don’t hesitate to use sex or violence to achieve their goals, either. Women in Russ Meyer's films are ruthless, impassioned, and driven. I rather like Russ’ world. It's a place where men have had their chance to lead, have clearly squandered the opportunity, and women have decided to take it back.

It’s easy to see how Russ Meyer, who fought in WWII, could arrive at this world view. After spending years in the European theater, watching 1st hand as the will of man destroyed lives, families, and indeed entire civilizations-why wouldn’t he decide that men were unfit to lead the world? Why wouldn’t he fantasize about a time where women reclaimed their true place, not at the feet of men, but as their masters?

When you allow men to create anything his heart desires, he creates guns & tanks & atomic bombs. When you allow a woman to create, she brings forth life into this world. We’ve been doing this whole thing wrong for years.

At the end of the day, it's clear to me that Russ Meyer was not sick, disturbed, or perverted. He was woke.

As always, you can buy any of the films below from our Amazon Associate links. We’d really appreciate it as CineMania is a labor of love, with no ads whatsoever and completely free of all corporate interference and tyranny. Every click helps offset our server costs!

Russ Meyer interview on The Incredibly Strange Film Show:

The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959)

Starring: Ann Peters, Michele Roberts, Dawn Danielle

Plot: Mr. Teas is a door to door salesman for dentists' appliances. Everywhere he goes he encounters beautiful "well-developed" nude women, which of course stir his interest.

 The Immoral Mr. Teas<br/>(1959) on IMDb

Eve & The Handyman (1961)

Starring: Eve Meyer, Iris Brisol, Francesca Leslie

Plot: Eve follows the handyman around as he makes his appointed rounds. She watches as he has humorous run-ins while cleaning toilets, taking scrap metal to the dump, & trying to help a topless hitchhiker.

 Eve and the Handyman<br/>(1961) on IMDb

Wild Gals Of The Naked West (1962)

Starring: Terri Taylor, Julie Williams, Barbara Baral

Plot: An old geezer recalls some of the antics of the men and women of his western town, more wild and woolly than Tombstone or Dodge City.

 Wild Gals of the Naked West<br/>(1962) on IMDb

FunFact: None of the characters are heard speaking throughout the whole film (sometimes their mouths move, but no sound comes out), much like a silent film. Only music is played throughout the film and the only voice heard is that of the narrator.
FunFact: Eve first met Russ Meyer when he photographed her for Playboy Magazine in the 1950s. They were married when they made this film together.
FunFact: Boobs.

Europe In The Raw (1963)

Starring: Who do you think? A bunch of nude European women.

Plot: A documentary about the sex clubs of Europe.

 Europe in the Raw<br/>(1963) on IMDb

Heavenly Bodies! (1963)

Starring: Gaby Martone, Marian Milford, Werner Kirsch

Plot: A "behind-the-scenes" look at the photographers of glamour magazines, focusing on their technique, styles, and (of course) their buxom subjects.

 Heavenly Bodies<br/>(1984) on IMDb

Russ Meyer’s Lorna (1964)

Starring: Lorna Maitland, Mark Bradley, James Rucker

Plot: Lorna has been married to Jim for a year, but still hasn't been satisfied sexually. While Jim is working at the salt mine, she is raped by an escaped convict, but falls in lust with him.

 Russ Meyer's Lorna<br/>(1964) on IMDb

FunFact: More Boobs.
FunFact: Even MOAR BEWBS.
FunFact: Maria Andre was under contract already to play the character Lorna, and about to start filming, when the producer Russ Meyer learned of the availability of Lorna Maitland - a blonde with bigger breasts who eventually got the lead part.

Russ Meyer’s Fanny Hill (1964)

Starring: Leticia Roman, Miriam Hopkins, Syra Marty

Plot: Young, pretty and innocent Fanny Hill has lost her parents and must find her way in life amidst the perils of turbulent 18th century London...

 Russ Meyer's Fanny Hill<br/>(1964) on IMDb

Mudhoney (1965)

Starring: Lorna Maitland, Antoinette Cristiani, Rena Horten

Plot: It's 1933, in the midst of the Depression and Prohibition. A stranger wanders into a small Missouri town and gets entangled in a bad family situation.
 Mudhoney<br/>(1965) on IMDb

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)

Starring: Tura Satana, Haji, Lori Williams

Plot: Three go-go dancers holding a young girl hostage come across a crippled old man living with his two sons in the desert.

 Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!<br/>(1965) on IMDb

FunFact: Russ Meyer and Albert Zugsmith didn't get along during the shooting of this film because Meyer wanted to make a serious movie while Zugsmith was more interested in making a slapstick comedy.
FunFact: The rock group Mudhoney took their name from this film. They arguably kick started the grunge genre and were a massive influence on Nirvana. Kurt Cobain used to wear their T-shirts on stage.
FunFact: Russ Meyer named the movie like this because he claims that a movie has everything when it contains speed (faster), sex (pussycat) and violence (kill,kill).

Motorpsycho (1965)

Starring: Haji, Holle K. Winters, Sharon Lee

Plot: Cyclemaniacs assaulting and killing for thrills! Bike riding Hoodlums Flat-Out on their Murder cycles.

 Motorpsycho!<br/>(1965) on IMDb

Mondo Topless (1966)

Starring: Exotic dancers, dancing exotically.

Plot: Russ goes back for seconds at the trough of the mondo documentary, which much better success than his previous entry "Europe In The Raw".

 Mondo Topless<br/>(1966) on IMDb

Common Law Cabin (1967)

Starring: Babette Bardot, Adele Rein, Alaina Capri

Plot: After stealing a fortune in unclaimed jewelry, ex-detective Barney Rickert arrives at a run-down dude ranch in Arizona to hide out.

 Common Law Cabin<br/>(1967) on IMDb

FunFact: Provided the rock band Motorpsycho with its name.
FunFact: After Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! lost money, Russ Meyer's wife convinced him to make this cheap, cruddy "mondo documentary". It hit at the exact right time and became a monster success much to Russ' chagrin. Years later, "Faster Pussycat" would gain a cult following.
FunFact: As originally written, story was supposedly to be set in Hawaiian tourist paradise, but budget constraints meant relocating it to Arizona.

Good Morning… and Goodbye! (1967)

Starring: Alaina Capri, Haji, Karen Ciral

Plot: Tales of eleven losers are told and interwoven, detailing their sexual foibles, peccadilloes, and more.

 Good Morning... and Goodbye!<br/>(1967) on IMDb

Finders Keepers, Lovers Weepers! (1968)

Starring: Anne Chapman, Lavelle Roby, Jan Sinclair

Plot: The owner of a topless bar on the Sunset Strip isn't having a good day. His girlfriend is planning to rob his club and his wife is having an affair with the hunky bartender.

 Finders Keepers, Lovers Weepers!<br/>(1968) on IMDb

Vixen! (1968)

Starring: Erica Gavin, Vincene Wallace, casual racism

Plot: Vixen lives in a Canadian mountain resort with her naive pilot husband. While he's away flying in tourists, she gets it on with practically everybody...

 Vixen!<br/>(1968) on IMDb

FunFact: There's less boobs in this one.
FunFact: Boobs!
FunFact: One of the first films to receive the newly-formed MPAA's X rating.

Cherry, Harry & Raquel! (1970)

Starring: Larissa Ely, Linda Ashton, Uschi Digard

Plot: Harry (a corrupt sheriff) and his Chicano deputy hunt an Apache who is about to go to the authorities with the news Harry is smuggling marijuana. Everybody has sex with everybody else.

 Cherry, Harry & Raquel!<br/>(1970) on IMDb

Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls (1970)

Starring: Cynthia Myers, Edy Williams, Dolly Read

Plot: Three girls come to Hollywood to make it big, but find only sex, drugs and sleaze. So, it's a documentary, then?

 Beyond the Valley of the Dolls<br/>(1970) on IMDb

The Seven Minutes (1971)

Starring: Marianne McAndrew, Edy Williams, Tom Selleck

Plot: The trial of a bookstore clerk who has been indicted for selling a steamy, banned book called "The Seven Minutes"...

 The Seven Minutes<br/>(1971) on IMDb

FunFact: According to legend, the film's nearly incomprehensible storyline was the result of a photo lab mishap that ruined much of the original footage - a situation that director Russ Meyer tried to rectify by shooting inserts of a nude woman frolicking in the desert that were inserted in the many plot holes to pad the running time.
FunFact: Written by film critic Roger Ebert.
FunFact: This film was the 2nd of a 3 picture deal between 20th Century-Fox and producer Russ Meyer. After the film flopped at the box office, Meyer walked away from his studio deal and returned to independent filmmaking.

Black Snake (1973)

Starring: Anouska Hempel, Vikki Richards, David Prowse

Plot: The story of a slave revolt on a 19th-century Caribbean island.

 Black Snake<br/>(1973) on IMDb

Supervixens (1975)

Starring: Colleen Brennan, Shari Eubank, Uschi Digard

Plot: Clint Ramsey has to leave his gas station job and go on the lam after being framed for the murder of his wife.

 Supervixens<br/>(1975) on IMDb

Up! (1976)

Starring: Marianne Marks, Raven De La Croix, Janet Wood

Plot: A nazi is murdered in his bathtub, with a piranha. A large-breasted woman comes to town and makes love with nearly everyone. A nude greek chorus explains some of what is happening. This is the best movie I've ever seen.

 Up!<br/>(1976) on IMDb

FunFact: Director Russ Meyer stated in an interview that this film was his "statement" film against racial bigotry.
FunFact: Russ Meyer originally intended to cast his wife Edy Williams in the role of SuperVixen, but they split up and he decided to use Shari Eubank (cast as SuperAngel) in the dual roles of SuperAngel and SuperVixen. This necessitated the strange plot device of SuperVixen being the reincarnation (sort of) of SuperAngel, with Eubank also playing the ghost of SuperAngel.
FunFact: Kitten Natividad's lines were dubbed by another performer.

Beneath The Valley Of The Ultra-Vixens (1979)

Starring: Kitten Natividad, Ann Marie, Uschi Digard

Plot: A woman tries to set her husband straight after one-too-many instances of his back-door persistence.

 Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens<br/>(1979) on IMDb

Erotica (1961)

Starring: Sherry Knight, Bertha von Bustenhalter, Denise Daniels


 Erotica<br/>(1961) on IMDb

Pandora Peaks (2001)

Starring: Pandora Peaks.

Plot: Russ Meyer's final film is a documentary about porn star Pandora Peaks and her grand tetons.

 Pandora Peaks<br/>(2001) on IMDb

FunFact: The house used in the opening sequence actually belonged to director Russ Meyer.
FunFact: One of Russ' earliest films, this has virtually no narrative & is instead a blatant excuse to film softcore porn.
FunFact: Russ Meyer's final film, this is merely a documentary on a huge-breasted porn star.
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