Thursday, 7 April 2016

The Meyer Files #16: Supervixens! (1975)

Maybe my favorite Meyer film, 1975's Supervixens! was the movie that brought him back into the public consciousness after the disaster of Blacksnake.

It is also notable for featuring his second greatest villain. Outside of Tura Satana's glorious Varla, Charles Napier's grinning psycho Harry Sledge is the best embodiment of Meyer's deranged Neanderthal.

Like always, the plot here is simultaneously pretty simple and needlessly complicated.

After a fight with his girlfriend Angel (Shari Eubank), young stud Clint Ramsey (Charles Pitts, human cardboard) crosses paths with Sledge. Despite no real evidence, Sledge beats Clint up and warns him away from Angel (who he is pretty keen on).

Following an abortive sexual encounter with Angel, Sledge winds up killing her and frames her boyfriend for the murder.

Ramsey goes on the run through a cartoonish world of gas stations, super-stacked women and a stetson-wearing maniac named Harry.

This movie is one of the most iconic Meyer epics. It features all the usual tropes, a lot of familiar faces and some of Meyer's best directorial work. It is also bloated, repetitive and has moments of extreme boredom.

Criminally, Charles Napier is only in the opening and closing reels, and the movie could use more of him. Harry Sledge is the most terrifying, fully realised character in the movie, but Meyer deploys him too sparingly.

Instead, we are stuck with Clint Ramsey. Charles Pitts is such a non-entity you could replace him with a tumbleweed and it would be more engaging.

Meyer's female cast are cut from the usual mould, with Uschi Digard making a somewhat unsettling return as a nymphomaniacal milk maid.

There is something uncanny about Digard -- her smile is too wide, and her eyes a little too wild. If they had made a Batman movie in the 70s, Digard would have made a great Joker.

Haji and Stuart Lancaster turn up as their characters from, respectively, Good Morning and... Goodbye! and Mudhoney! Haji pops in to exchange a few insults with Ramsey, while Lancaster plays a more lascivious version of Farmer Lute, who chases Ramsey off after he catches the younger man in a compromising situation with Digard.  

On release, Supervixens! was a massive hit, and proved that Meyer could still make a hit. It is also the last fully successful movie he made. Up! and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens would have their moments, but Supervixens! is the last time the Meyer magic is present in full strength.

Russ Meyer will return with Up!

For previous entries...

The Meyer Files #1: The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959)

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