Russ Meyer had his fingers burnt with the major studios. The success of Vixen had led to a fractious relationship with Twentieth Century Fox, which produced Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and the little seen The Seven Minutes. Both films had been financial failures and drove Meyer back into independent filmmaking with Supervixens.
Supervixens plays like a Russ Meyer best of. All of his quirks are visible on screen; nazi’s, square jawed heroes, rapid fire editing, ribald dialogue, sex in the desert and girls with unfeasibly large breasts. The film is full of familiar faces for Meyer afficiandos; Haji from Good Morning and Goodbye!, John Lazarr from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Stuart Lancaster from Faster Pussycat Kill Kill! and the legendary Uschi Digard from Cherry, Harry and Raquel.
The film received a lot of criticism for its violence. The scene where Harry Sledge murders Super Angel in the bathtub is very graphic and jars with the rest of the film. Saying that, Charles Napier is fantastic as Sledge, an impotent cop seething with macho rage. The women, all of whom have Super in their name, are all extraordinary and Shari Eubank excels in her dual role of Super Angel and Supervixen. Her venomous dialogue is spat out with searing rage as she taunts Sledges advances. The film comes alive when the duo is on screen; their verbal sparring is a high point that the film never quite matches. The film does meander along at times and some segments could have been easily excised, Ramsey’s desert go-carting escapade for example. Supervixens is Meyer’s road movie and Road Runner cartoon rolled into one; even down to the “Meep Meep” sound effects. It’s a bit too episodic in its storytelling and outstays it welcome but when it works it shows the director at the height of his powers.
Since he passed away Meyer’s films have, at last, been given the special edition treatment on DVD they deserve, its great to see Madman have included Meyer in their Director’s Suite series.
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