Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
It took roughly five minutes for this film to win me over. As our intrepid rock-group girls and their manager decide to try their fortunes in L.A., the film suddenly goes apeshit -- as a man and a woman trade lines in a voice-over, flash-forwards and brief images meant to evoke the L.A. lifestyle stutter onto the screen at roughly twelve shots a second. (Take that, Michael Bay!) This joyous foray into sheer filmic experimentation was audacious enough to get me gaping in incoherent awe, and things stay more or less at that level for the film's first forty minutes. Russ Meyer and Co. appear to be aiming for nothing less than sheer sensory overload, and they damn near succeed. The film does slacken a bit when the melodrama stacks up like dirty dishes at Thanksgiving, but it rallies in its last fifteen for an eye-poppingly bizarre climax. Seriously, not much can prepare for the leap into the void that the screenplay (written by Roger Ebert, as most people know by now) has tucked up its sleeves. I don't want to ruin it, but it's a berserk, ballsy and bloody mess with at least one plot point that seems to have influenced Lloyd Kaufman's sloppy magnum opus Terror Firmer
. I loved every minute of it. The dialogue here, as in the only other Russ Meyer film I've seen so far (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
), is pulpy to the point of intentional badness and wonderfully quotable -- years from now, I will still feel compelled to shout out "You will drink the black sperm of my vengeance!" at wholly inappropriate times. This is the film Myra Breckinridge
wanted to be.