For the last third of 2015 I put a lot of my movie-watching efforts into making a journey through the rather buxom catalog of pervert auteur Russ Meyer. Meyer had an undeniably fascinating career as a boundary-pusher in schlock cinema. From inadvertently inventing the “nudie cutie” to creating some of the most brilliant rapid-fire montages ever assembled in his editing room mastery to working with Roger Ebert on a hit X-Rated comedy for a major Hollywood studio, Meyer was a mischievous pioneer, a true industry outsider. As such, his work is very difficult to pigeonhole, despite its consistent lean towards salaciousness & titlation (a huge emphasis on “tit” i that second descriptor). Some Meyer films are delightfully silly. Some are morally reprehensible. Some manage to be both simultaneously. A complicated brute of a man, Meyer defies you to defend everything he’s said & done in its entirety. And yet he’s made some of the most vibrant, idiosyncratic films the world has ever seen.
The question is what are we to do with the mess that Meyer’s left behind? It’s been fun picking through the pieces of the wreckage, but I doubt I have any significant answer to that conundrum now that I’ve made it through to the other side of his catalog. Honestly, I doubt I ever will. His work is wildly varied in terms of quality & impact. It’s much easier to discuss his oeuvre one film at a time than it is to discuss his accomplishments as a single unit.
So, if you’re interested in an entry point for checking out Russ Meyer’s filmography, the best I can do is list his films chronologically with links to their respective reviews & star ratings. Just in case a sold two dozen features sounds like too much effort for a newcomer (not to mention the home video distribution of his work being disastrously mishandled), I’ve also made a top five shortlist for the films I’d recommend as his best works, the ones most worth seeking out. If you’re looking for a career-spanning piece on the cultural impact Russ Meyer’s catalog has had in cinema, I highly recommend the book Big Bosoms & Square Jaws: The Biography of Russ Meyer, King of the Sex Film by Jim Ryan. It’s a very fun & well-researched read, one that contextualizes Russ Meyer’s contribution to cinema better than I ever could myself.
The Breast of Russ Meyer
1. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)
2. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)
3. Good Morning . . . and Goodbye! (1967)
4. Mondo Topless (1966)
5. Supervixens (1975)
H.M. The Seven Minutes (1971)
RM’s Filmography, Ranked & Reviewed
1959: The Immoral Mr. Teas – 3.5 stars
1961: Eve and the Handyman – 1 star
1961: Erotica – 2.5 stars
1962: Wild Gals of the Naked West – 2 stars
1963: Europe in the Raw – 3.5 stars
1963: Heavenly Bodies! – 3 stars
1964: Lorna – 2.5 stars
1964: Fanny Hill – Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure – 3 stars
1965: Mudhoney – 2.5 stars
1965: Motorpsycho! – 0.5 stars
1965: Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! – 5 stars
1966: Mondo Topless – 4 stars
1967: Common Law Cabin – 3 stars
1967: Good Morning . . . and Goodbye! – 4 stars
1968: Finders Keepers, Lovers Weepers! – 3 stars
1968: Vixen! – 2.5 stars
1970: Cherry, Harry & Raquel! – 3.5 stars
1970: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls – 5 stars
1971: The Seven Minutes – 4 stars
1973: Blacksnake – 0.5 stars
1975: Supervixens – 4 stars
1976: Up! – 3 stars
1979: Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens – 3 stars
2001: Pandora Peaks – 2 stars
13 thoughts on “All Two Dozen of Russ Meyer’s Feature Films Ranked & Reviewed”
Your retrospective was fantastic. I’m a little split on your rankings, but that’s to be expected.
Since I read your reviews, I was finally able to obtain a copy of The Seven Minutes, which is the only title you have that I missed before.
For what it’s worth, Beyond the Valley and Supervixens! are far and away my favorites. It think it’s a shame that SV will probably never have a decent looking home video release.
So, thank you for the incredible retrospective. I was looking forward to each one.
Thanks for all the feedback! I’m curious what you’re going to think about The Seven Minutes once you see it, since I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. A lot of it is far outside his normal mode, so I can see why it didn’t please everyone, but I really dug it.
And honestly, everything ranked below Pussycat! on that best of list is somewhat arbitrary, since I liked each of those titles a great deal & they’ve very different from one another in terms of style & tone, since they’re from wildly different times in his career.
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