Review: Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (1979)

Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #665

Number of Views: Multiple
Release Date: May 11, 1979
Sub-Genre: Satire/Sexploitation
Country of Origin: United States
Budget: $239,000
Running Time: 93 minutes
Director: Russ Meyer
Producer: Russ Meyer
Screenplay: Russ Meyer, Roger Ebert
Cinematography: Russ Meyer
Score: William Tasker
Editing: Russ Meyer
Studio: RM Films International
Distributors: Signal 166, RM Films
Stars: Kitten Natividad, Ann Marie, June Mack, Ken Kerr, Stuart Lancaster, Michael Finn, Patrick Wright, Henry Rowland, Robert E. Pearson, Michael Finn, Sharon Hill, Don Scarborough, Aram Katcher, DeForest Covan, Candy Samples, Steve Tracy, Uschi Digard

Suggested Audio Jukebox (。 ㅅ 。)

[1] William Loose “Clint & SuperHaji/Harry & Angel”

[2] Paul Ruhland & William Loose “The Greek Chorus”

[3] Thee Sixpence “Incense and Peppermint”

[4] The Strawberry Alarm Clock “I’m Comin’ Home”

They say you never forget your first time and, where Russ Meyer movies are concerned, I make them right. Indeed, I remember it now like it was just yesterday. I was a fourteen-year-old buck, still attempting to master the art of penile grappling, and desperate to broaden my horizons some even if that meant sampling forbidden pleasures. Most of my social group had already discovered the shady world of hardcore pornography but it never really interested me. Instead, I got my kicks from the likes of Bob Clark’s Porky’s and the countless other sex comedies doing the rounds at the time. Close-up penetration left me cold and I was far more excited by the prospect of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it flashes of good old eighties bush than what laid beneath. In years to come, I would discover the skin flick bible as presented by Mr. Skin but, for the time being, I simply grabbed whatever I could get.

It was a humid evening at the end of a long, hot summer in Small Town, UK and I frantically flicked through the four available TV channels for some post-watershed entertainment to relieve the boredom. It was then that I happened across Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens purely by chance and my wide eyes could barely register what they were being made privy to. Up until that point, the name Russ Meyer meant nothing to me and I hadn’t the vaguest idea that this cheeky full-blooded American pretty much owned the monopoly on softcore sexploitation flicks. I also had no clue that he was such a prolific filmmaker and regarded by many as the “King of The Nudies”. By all accounts, this outrageous little movie represented little more than another day at the office for Meyer. However, little was I aware, that it was to be his affectionate swan song before powering down his camera for the very last time.

If you’d asked Meyer which one of his works he was most proud of, then he’d name drop Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens without a moment’s hesitation. However, with the eighties looming large and the market changing considerably, there was no longer a place for his titillating brand of storytelling and he decided to bow out on top. By then, he had amassed himself a small fortune and could live out the remains of his days in luxury. However, while no longer active as a filmmaker, his many movies continued to generate interest and folk started to realize there was more to Meyer than a dirty old geezer with a zoom lens. Indeed, social satire played a significant part in his art and he was fragrant in his mockery of moral stereotypes and lampooning of conservative American values. He also had a thing for the ample bosom.

Actually, ample doesn’t do them justice and only the word Brobdingnagian comes close to defining their DD cup majesty. These cosmetically enhanced bouncing betties gleefully defied the laws of gravity and featured prominently in his later works, to the point of being omnipresent. Moreover, Meyer wasn’t averse to casting his leading ladies during their first trimesters of pregnancy just for the additional pound of flesh this provided. Meanwhile, those who didn’t possess gargantuan breasts weren’t discriminated against and, instead, he used clever camera angles and deceiving lingerie to accentuate their dimensions. However, while his many detractors accused him of portraying the fairer sex purely as objects, more often than not, these Amazonians were stronger than their alpha counterparts which I guess made him an accidental feminist. Funny that.

Meyer also had himself a long-time collaborator in close friend and staunch devotee, Roger Ebert. I know right? Having watched this outspoken film critic and his partner-in-crime, Gene Siskel, lay siege upon the horror genre right through its most transitional period, it still feels a little surreal to me that he was more than partial to a nice bit of smut. In fact, Ebert was a proud ambassador for buxom boobies and co-wrote the screenplay for Meyer’s 1970 cult classic, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. In 1979, he was at it again, this time concocting the enlightening narration that tied Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens together. Speaking of which, The Man From Small Town, USA, is on hand as we speak to offer a guided tour through the place that he calls home. I guess we shouldn’t keep him waiting.

Small Town, USA. A tiny pimple on the ass of an entire nation. Populated by regular, everyday folk. Proud folk. Happy folk. Dignified in their own special way. The American dream is alive and well. It resides in Small Town, USA. Where community means everything and everyone’s your neighbor. It may appear unremarkable but don’t be fooled. Behind every door there’s a lesson to be learned. Work and play are old drinking buddies in Small Town, USA. Exercise routines are rigorous and all-encompassing. Hard bodies writhe just to survive. To stop the rot of disillusion. Athletic pursuits aren’t just encouraged. They’re compulsory. Anything to get the blue blood of democracy pumping. Pumping. Pumping. Everywhere you look. Pumping. You can’t fault their industry. Their drive to thrive. Their enthusiasm knows no bounds. It’s an A for effort for the folk of Small Town, USA and they take their curricular very seriously indeed.

Take front-stacked fancy Lavonia Shedd for example but don’t expect her to come quietly. Ever diligent in the sack. Lavonia’s unflagging commitment to the cause is admirable. No mountain too high. No valley too deep. No prick too hard. She’ll tackle any serpent. Look it dead in its eye. Grapple until it submits. Sex to Lavonia is living and breathing. A natural in approximately every sense of the word. Forward thinking. Pubis tugging. Thighs clenching. Pistons always firing. Pillow talk doesn’t interest Lavonia but groaning bed springs do. Her needs are simple and few. To satisfy her quim’s insatiable appetite. To fuck her way to absolution. And all in the good name of betterment. Hers is the American way, by way of Lavonia.

Her old man Lamar is the man tasked with taming this untamable beast. With an IQ of 37, his work is cut out. But this doesn’t hinder Lemar. By night he can often be found crunching numbers and refusing to let his limited intellect dwindle. All work and no play would make Lemar single. At least until tomorrow when the previous night’s indiscretions wave goodbye and the slate is wiped clean once more. Staring at a pocket screen for too long can send a grown man doolally. So Lemar takes regular breaks. Being strictly a rear window man, he’s incapable of looking a good fuck in the eye. Lemar needs healing. The kind of spiritual cleansing that only a respected evangelist can provide.

Local radio faith healer Eufaula Roop. A woman of the cloth. Holy in the fuck. Never less than thorough with her methodology and execution. Broken men travel from far and wide for Eufaula’s exclusive brand of mending. She makes that which is incomplete whole again. Repairs the moral fabric of her sisters and brothers in the name of the good lord and all that is holy. Practicing all that she preaches, Eufaula Roop can drive out a demon in triple-quick time and has a 100% success rate. The folk here are her flock. Her congregation. And every wireless in Small Town, USA tunes into her frequency.

Then there’s google-eyed travelling salesman Semper Fidelis. Escapee of the rat race. Servant only to the open road. Peddler of perverse provision. Spokesman for free enterprise. Gifted with gab, the true souvenirs are within his brief case. Greeting cards, toiletries and vacuum cleaner brushes are not his line. Eye-catching lingerie is his angle and he caters for all kinds of dangle. Times are hard so Semper Fidelis goes door-to-door. Purchases can be made from the comfort of your own living room away from prying peepers and discretion is both guaranteed and encouraged. When it comes to customer satisfaction, Fidelis is your man. And he’s only too happy to work out an installment plan.

Looking for spare parts? Then head on over to Junkyard Sal’s and you’ll be back on the road in no time. Salvage is her trade and business just so happens to be booming. Feel free to rummage but prepare for the scrummage as Sal runs a tight ship and doesn’t endorse freeloading on her clock. Every man is expected to pull his weight. To grease the gears. To feed the monkey. Overtime isn’t optional. It’s simply better than the unemployment queue. But Sal understands that a hard day’s work deserves to be rewarded and that a happy work force is a productive work force. While only too willing to give you that rise, it takes two men to satisfy Junkyard Sal and even then that’s only from the waist up.

Lola Langusta. Latin Brunhilda. Perpetual practitioner of the black sock. Fond of drug-induced fantasies and tugging her pubis. Lola Langusta, hotter than a Mexican’s lunch and just as likely to repeat on you. Familiar in every sense of the word, if Lola reminds you at all of our old friend Lavonia Shedd, then I urge you not to tell Lemar. Every girl needs an outlet. Lola Langusta is that outlet. And what an outlet. Dancing. Prancing. Always advancing. She owns the stage and every last appreciative straggler around it. A polarizing crucible of fulfillment. Thanks to Federico’s of Wisconsin and that nice Semper Fidelis, Lavonia can now spread her wings freely. Soar the skies and return to her nest no longer deprived of her rightful gratification. Maybe one day her beau will learn how to look a good fuck in the eye. Wish them well folks. It’s the neighborly thing to do in Small Town, USA.

Let’s not forget the knave of garbage disposal, Mr. Peterbuilt, whose trash compaction skills are second to none. Or Lavonia’s pet project, young hopeful Rhett. His years may be tender but this one time cherry clutcher is no longer untraveled and now a proud stud, armed to the scrotum tail with fresh life experience and a new-found skip in his stride, no longer hamstrung by all that unnecessary semen. How about Asa Lavender? If you promise to open wide, he’ll throw you in a complimentary whitening. As an orthodontist, he’s second to none. As a marriage counselor, a rather poor third. Like Lemar, Asa is a rear window man. But Eve’s out of luck when there’s a Steve in the garden and lavender just so happens to be his favorite color. Actually it’s popping fuchsia. And zingy yellow. Asa finds that delightful.

It’s getting late and, after a hard day’s exertion, the residents of Small Town, USA deserve their privacy. Tomorrow is a brand new day. A host of fresh opportunities for advancement. I’m sure Lavonia and Lemar will settle their differences and, from what I hear, that visit to Eufaula’s healing station appears to have worked wonders. Let’s hope it fixed his little problem as normal, everyday folk like Lavonia and Lemar have done more than enough to warrant their own slice of wedded bliss. The answers are all here in Small Town, USA. Hive of activity. Backbone of our proud nation. Frequently upstanding. Always eventful. Mostly agreeable. Whatever your heart’s desire, you’ll find it right here by the skinful. So remember folks, next time you’re in need of a little emotional mitigation or the everyday grind becomes too much to bear, head on over to Small Town, USA. We’ll be sure to make you welcome.

Jesus, he goes on. Credit where it’s due however, he did provide rather a flavorsome taster. I’m not about to complain as Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens made an indelible impression on my adolescent mind as Meyer himself did on American cinema. It’s as lewd as it is crude, as dirty as it is flirty, as right as it is wrong, as deep as it is long. The plot is little more than a ruse as it prefers we peruse and the one thing it won’t do is allow for the blues. Ebert’s words are like friendly thunder across a lush green vista and, in busty, thrusty queen Kitten Natividad, it has its very own pubis tugging Ultra-Vixen.

As for Meyer, well this would prove the last time he graced us with his cinematic presence, but by that point, his work was already done and his legacy made eternal. Take it from me, this movie helped usher me into manhood, slackened the leash, taught me a trick or three, and is the whole reason I always smile at strangers. Who knows what really goes down behind closed doors? Thanks to my short stay in (and habitual return to) Small Town, USA, I now have a far better grasp on the answer. As inscribed on his headstone, Russell Albion Meyer was “glad to do it”. And do you know what? I’m damn glad he did it too. I’m sure he’s up there somewhere, watching down on us normal, everyday people alongside his good buddy Roger Joseph Ebert, and right up to his cuticles in those trusty, busty Ultra-Vixens. Now that’s what I call a happy ending.

Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 8/10

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Richard Charles Stevens

Keeper of The Crimson Quill

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1 Comment

  1. Russ Meyer….a man that celebrated voluptuous women. Guess he would be out of fashion now. Interesting films. Still find it hard to believe he & Ebert were close! Who knew!
    Good appraisal, Rich.

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