When I think of Russ Meyer movies I think of breasts — which is what the auteur intended.
I also think “tedious” because despite the great titles and promise of flicks like 1965’s Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (1979), the fact is that Russ Meyer movies generally suck, unless you’re drunk.
So it was this prejudice that kept me from watching “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,” Meyer’s collaboration with Roger Ebert. Ol’ Roger kept his hand in all kinds of trashy projects, — a little odd for the man who denounced Night of the Living Dead, but hey, he unrenounced it later when it became apparent the world saw him as a fat gooey liberal donut-head.
Anyhoo…BVD, as the flick is known to aficionados, is either an unintentionally funny and inept attempt at a sequel to the film version of a trashy novel, or a brilliant send-up of same, or some sort of postmodern meta-something that would make sense to a French philosophy professor.
These gals are in Texas, I think, and they have a rock band – a trio, ostensibly, which features an invisible horn section and organ player.
They also have a dopey doe-eyed manager with Greg Brady fashion sense. They all pile in the van and sing their way to Los Angeles, where Kelly drops in on her long-lost rich aunt who in turn invites the gang to a party that night at Ronnie “Z-Man” Barzell’s.
And this is where BVD really takes off, because Z-Man is played with considerable camp by the immortal John Lazar, who also played the evil and campy warlock Troxartes in Deathstalker II. (As I have opined elsewhere, if you absolutely must watch a sword-and-sorcery flick made in Mexico by Russian Jews for $11.87, Deathstalker II is the obvious choice.)
The next hour is so depraved that I can only fondle a few highlights: Sex, of all kinds, everywhere. At least a couple dozen breasts. Lesbitation to an extent that was pretty out there in 1970. John Lazar running around saying things like “No more words, I pray you. Let the games begin!”
Also: Fat Nazi. Transvestite, or maybe she-male. Nature Boy in jungle pattern Speedos, and decapitation of same. Wheelchair, and miraculous recovery from passive-aggressive suicide plunge by a distraught Greg Brady. Some of the worst lip-synching and pretend instrument-playing in cinema history. (The drummer chick looks like she’s stirring batter.)
And don’t forget: Death by sword. Death by handgun. Death by the Strawberry Alarm Clock, wearing matching magenta shirts and black vests.
BVD is a monumental piece of crap, and earns the highest acclaim possible — a four-coil rating, and eligibility in the next Iron Coil all-time list revision.