"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to violence." Starting with abstract quivering lines and the narrator's voice against a black background, Russ Meyer locates his trio of vixens go-going for the leering, jeering male gaze before hopping from the nightclub to an outside world of gargantuan cleavage and raging machines. Narrative-wise, it's When Amazons Attack -- three badass chicks, pissed-off Amerasian dominatrix Tura Satana, Mediterranean-lesbo Haji, and motor-hipped blonde Lori Williams, ditch the strip-bar for some hot-roddin' across the desert floor, crack the spine of the "sensitive" jock they bump into along the way, kidnap his whimpering girlfriend (Susan Bernard), and end up digging for loot in a depraved coot's (Stuart Lancaster) ranch. In Meyer's roaring pop masterpiece, titillation tweaks phallocentrism via displacement, so that a genre's (and, thus, a culture's) sexual roles and aggressive thrust get reversed -- their outfits are as ridiculously insufficient in containing the women's bountiful physiques as society is of tolerating their seethingly expanding energies. The formidable Satana, with Betty Page mop, angry slashes for eyes and karate-chopping limbs, is an awe-inspiring bobcat with the safety taken off her claws, assuming autonomy even after emerging fully formed from Meyer's fantasies, rendered iconic by the camera's kinetic dotting. By contrast, the men, for all the Kazanian sweat of the plot, are emasculated, crippled, a hick station attendant fumbling for the gas cap of Satana's car to penetrate with his pump hose, a wizened patriarch groping a shotgun from his wheelchair. (In that sense, Dennis Busch's soft-brained column of muscle, aka "The Vegetable," is the movie's prototypical male impotent, all sinew and no fuck-power.) Despite a steady flow of scurrilous double and single-entendres, it's possibly among Meyer's least fleshy works (the gazongas, visually the center of every setup, remain nevertheless covered up), yet the repressed cheesecake only enhances the kino-fist cartooning of a splashy artist who understands the subversive politics of a broad with double-D tits ramming her Porsche into a weightlifter. By the end, the virtuous (and the conventionally proportioned) may be the ones alive once the dust has settled, but for Meyer it's the outsized outlaws, shooting transgression into the stratosphere, who will last. In black and white.
--- Fernando F. Croce