Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mondo Meyer! A salute to sexploitation king Russ Meyer

The cinema mastermind behind "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" and "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" gets a Saturday night tribute at PhilaMOCA. With live burlesque show, no less.

Mondo Meyer! A salute to sexploitation king Russ Meyer


Sexploitation king Russ Meyer’s 1975 chef d’oeuvre, Supervixens -- the colorfully tawdry tale of a gas station attendant on the run for a murder he didn’t commit and his encounters with a succession of statuesque and seductive superwomen  -- is the centerpiece of “Mondo Meyer!”, an evening dedicated to celebrating the unique aesthetic and leitmotifs of the late, great cinema auteur. The Saturday event at PhilaMOCA kicks off with a screening of said film, shot in color for $100,000 (its reported gross: $17 million), with the buxom and bodacious Uschi Digard, Shari Eubank, Christy Hartburg, Colleen Brennan and Haji as, respectively,  SuperSoul, SuperAngel, SuperLorna, SuperCherry and SuperHaji . Charles Pitts stars as the grease monkey on the lam, driving all over the continent-- and running into the aforementioned femmes with, um, the continental shelves.  Meyer was nothing if not a breast man.

But  maybe he was a feminist, too, in his own weird way. In a 1995 Inquirer interview, Meyer posited a theory as to why women are such big fans of his work: "They like the idea of the man being a klutz…'And [my] women are all, of course, outrageously abundant, smart, aggressive, in charge. They take advantage of the man."

Post-screening, after everybody’s had a chance to collect themselves, movie historian Irv Slifkin (Filmadelphia, Videohound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era) will talk about Meyer – a combat cameraman in World War II – and his life, work and times. Slifkin knew the man, who passed away, in 2004, age 82, and has stories to tell.

And post-Slifkin, the burlesque ensemble Miss Rose’s Sexploitation Follies will mount a show dedicated to Meyer and his campy conflations of sex and violence. Doors open at 6:30pm. Admission is $12. PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th Street. Website:

Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Reach Steven at

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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