Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Beast and the Vixens (1974): or, Bigfoot Meets Bigboob

He's much more than just a cryptid/hominid who may or may not stalk the uncharted reaches of the Great Northwest Forests (or Florida swamplands, or Arkansas Delta, or Okaloosa Wilderness Area); Bigfoot is a piece of our American cultural heritage--a modern myth, a symbol. Part noble savage, part monster, he represents the duality inherent in our very nature, the angel and the beast, the boiled-down essence of humanity. In literature, pop culture, and especially film, Sasquatch has become the soft wax upon which we can imprint our grossest fears and grandest hopes. Is he a lust-crazed monster, the violent, rapey man-beast of the uncontrolled id? Is he a phantom of Nature herself, the ghost of a disappearing pristine environment? Protector of the Woodlands, or Invader of the Suburbs? The answer is simple: he is, or can be, all of these things.

We've seen him as killer, a cipher, and even as a roided out serial rapist--but I don't think we've ever seen "Sasquatch as Voyeur." Until now! In his 1974  sexploitation/Squatchsploitation mash-up, The Beast and the Vixens (aka The Beauties and the Beast), director Ray Nadeau and writer Gaynor MacLaren envision Bigfoot as Russ Meyer's Immoral Mr. Teas meets Arch Hall Sr.'s Eegah! And the results, my friends, are just about as glorious as that makes them sound.

Allow me to elucidate:

"It's okay--I'm a SCIENTIST."

It's not the case so much any more, but back in the 70s when Bigfoot Mania was at its peak, filmmakers felt a responsibility to establish their bona fides as solidly as possible, whether they were making a documentary or not. In this movie that happens even before the opening credits, as we join our Very Suspect Narrator*--a Marlon Perkins type whose face the cameraman seems to keep purposefully in shadow, doubtless as part of a Sasquatch Witness Protection program. In a very naturalistic (i.e., unrehearsed and slurring) style, he reads off several reports of cryptid hominid sightings from around the world, while an intern helpfully pushes picture postcards into the lens from just out of frame. Bigfoot reports in Oregon, the Yeti sighted in the "Himmy-Layers" of Tibet, other strange furry creatures in other places--it's an avalanche of HARD SCIENCE. His case proven, the VSN turns more or less directly toward the viewer and intones: "The story you are about to see...COULD BE TRUE!"

Which is to say, of course, that it totally isn't.

*Nota bene: any similarities between this character and the Totally Awesome Narrator from Brad F. Ginter's Blood Freak (1972) are completely coincidental and awesome.

Once we've got that bit of business out of the way, it's time for Serious Sasquatch Action! Nadeau wastes no time, as we see Bigfoot rising from the underbrush like a zombie from his grave, as drawn-on lightning flashes from a clear blue sky! Luckily he's within striding distance of a nice-looking KOA Kampground, where a headkerchiefed hippie lady has just finished an afternoon rowboat excursion and climbed out onto the bank to shed all her clothes and take a nap. Like you do. Overcome by perfectly natural acquisitive desires, the stealthy manbeast quickly lopes up, snatches the hippie, and spirits her off to his woodland abode. To what dark purpose we can only conjecture and fear!

"Holy crap! Topless babes!"
Next we get the opening credits, which play out over a random sleepy busty girl rising from her bed and stretching--a lot. This turns out to be main character Ann, played by Jacqueline Giroux (Drive In Massacre, The Erotic Adventures of Zorro), whom we get to watch having a nicotine breakfast, ACTING THE FUCK out of reading a page from a notepad, and then baring her bounteous boobs for a shower, which she takes while wearing a towel over her head like a turban--because otherwise she'd feel naked, I guess.

*So thirsty...*

Back to Bigfoot in the forest! Where he's hauling another shrieking girl--this one in white go-go boots and a miniskirt--to his surprisingly well-furnished cave. Seriously--he has a hope chest, a Native American blanket, and all the scrub brush you can eat! He sets the girl gently down on the rocks and then leaves her to primp her hair and look sexy and perplexed.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the city, a random smoking stevedore makes a random phone call, telling the random gangster-sounding guy on the other end of the line that "something is up"! No time for that now, though, as Ann--wearing a frankly amazing blue velour jumpsuit--has picked up her friend Mary (Meyer vixen and Marvel of Natural Engineering Uschi Digard) for a weekend trip to the woods. Hold on to your hats though, because now we're back at Chez Sasquatch, where the Big Galoot has just deposited ANOTHER hapless honey into the cave! Lest you think his intentions are unsavory, however:
Girl 1: "I think it's the creature they wrote about in the Times!
Girl 2: "What creature?"
G1: "Some hunters say they saw a being in the woods--this monster fits the description!"
G2: "What does he want with us?"
G1: "Oh Christ, I don't know! He doesn't do anything--he just gives me food and water!"

Not Go-Going Anywhere
 Oh, and the first girl escaped sometime in the interim, apparently. One supposes that either because she's too terrified to move, or else figures this BF can't be any worse than the bf she has back home, Girl 1 has settled in for the duration.

Sub-meanwhile, Mary and Ann have arrived at their cabin in the woods, where random Sapphic sexiness ensues. After half-heartedly lamenting the fact that "ze boys are not here!" Mary starts hitting the brandy hard, using a snifter almost as big as her astonishing, gravity-defying ta-tas. Ann changes into a yellow, crocheted jumpsuit that must be seen to be believed, and Ann reads aloud from a book she finds in the cabin library, All You Ever Wanted to Know About Sasquatch But Were Too Drunk to Ask. Soon they retire to the bedroom, where the girls bunk up and then get down, just as you hoped they would. You're not the only one either, Bucko, because just outside the window, Bigfoot is watching, bouncing on the balls of his big feet in glee and making very suspicious fappy sounds! Which just goes to show, the enjoyment of lipstick lesbian pr0n is innate and primeval.

Filmed in Cinemascope™, by necessity

The rest of the film is mostly further installments of Sexy Time, with Bigfoot always on hand (foot?) to bear witness. A philandering couple drives out to the middle of nowhere to have their tryst--because despite being 35 years old apiece neither has his or her own apartment, presumably--and what follows is one of the most awkward, hilarious sex scenes imaginable. With the man-ape unable to contain his excitement, the couple suffers from a shocking bout of Coitus Interruptus Sasquatchus, which leads to the male of the couple running naked into the distance, arms waving above his head like a cartoon character, doughy ass-cheeks a-jiggling! The girl passes out from embarrassment and terror, and Bigfoot takes her to a more secluded spot to gaze longingly at her and cop a feel. As far as we know, it goes no further than that.

NOT a Sasquatch Sex Scene...technically
 Back at the Quadruple Boulders Cabins and Resort Area, the girls meet a stench of hippies down by the stream, and quickly make friends with the whole smelly, skinny-dipping lot of them: Hank the Neckbearded Poet, Mark the Mulleted Muscle, Becky the Kindhearted, and Hank's squeeze Sarah, QUEEN OF THE HIPPY HARPIES! The group reconnoiters back at the cabin for booze, weed, and conversation, as the hippies reveal they've been leaving food for Bigfoot, who leaves them ancient gold coins as payment. Because if there's one thing Sasquatch ain't, it's a freeloader. As the night progresses, Hank serenades Ann with some plaintive folk rock:
"Gypsy mountain madness
running though my brain
makes me do the things I do,
Lawd it makes me go insane!"
And if you're thinking, "Dear God, I hope we get three verses and a bridge of THAT!"--well, today's your lucky day!

Also not Sasquatch

Sarah does not react well, shouting abuse at Hank and Ann before storming off into the bedroom. Once the whole group is asleep, Sarah is plagued by sexy conflict dreams, as her astral self confronts Ann in a nude-but-for-the-boots-and-belts old West gunfight! She awakens disturbed, and Hank--first putting aside the squeaky rubber duck he sleeps with (seriously)--comforts her with a hairy hippie sex scene that lasts a good five minutes and twenty seconds--and yes, I timed it. Despite her battle-axe demeanor and Eeevil Demon face, Sarah has quite the nice body, though, so that's nice at least--pity you have to watch Hank's hairy ass thrusting atop it. But life's full of difficult trade-offs.

After this, the random stevedore, Frenchy, returns along with his gangster buddy, and we learn via clunky exposition that they're after the gold treasure the hippies have been hawking at roadside faires. There's a confrontation at gunpoint and a near-rape of Becky by Frenchy, and Mark shows his scrappy side by nearly beating the scrawny Quebecker unconscious before his buddy steps in. Eventually, in a marginally exciting fight, the hippies get the better of Frenchy, and Ann makes a break pursued by the gangster. She's protected by a Grizzled Old Hermit Out of Fucking Nowhere, who has the stash of coins the criminals are looking for (?). Finally, tired of having been forgotten by the film for a good twenty minutes, Bigfoot reappears, crushes the gangster, and walks off hand-in-hand with the Hermit while the girls and their friends live hippily ever after. Fin.

Not Sasquatch--but nonetheless awesome

So this movie isn't going to win any Palmes d'Ors, but I have to tell you I loved it from beginning to end. The score ranges from Very Dramatic Strings to the Mr. Magoo Suite, the acting is amateur and over the top (most entertainingly from the argumentative Sarah, whose screen credit is sadly unclear), and at 66 minutes, it doesn't hang around long enough to wear out its welcome. There could have been a little more focus on Bigfoot for my money (or at least some answers--what happened to the girls in the cave? Who is his hermit friend? How can he stand out in the open the whole time and still be a mysterious cryptid?), but balanced against a hilarious plot, lots of nekkidity and sexyness, and a winning lighthearted tone, it's really a small complaint.

In closing, The Beauties and the Beast is a fun, sexy little slice of 70s Squatchsploitation that should have fans of Russ Meyer and cryptozoology cheering. I doubt there's a SE DVD/Blu-Ray set coming anytime soon, but if you can find an old VHS or bootleg, I'd definitely recommend the purchase. 3 thumbs up.

"This iz mah SRS FACE."

More images from The Beast and the Vixens (1974):
Newsweek's design and layout team has come a long way.

"Roses are red, violents are blue, My feet are quite big, and my...OH MY GAWD!"

Blue Velour Hoodie with belt and matching track pants--from this fall's Smurfette Collection

"It took my grandmother MONTHS to crochet this jumpsuit!"


Studdy McWangerson: Ready for Action

"I found these two wrestling under a blanket! What?"


"Sure, Sasquatch is out there...or so the Germans would have us believe!"

"So ronery."


Samuel Wilson said...

Never heard of this before tonight, so thank you, Vicar, for taking us back before the ol' creature had to do commercials for a living. Of course, those jerky bits are some of my favorite ads these days, but how the mighty have fallen.

Bill (RSR) said...

Where can I get this, Vicar? As a fan of Sasquatch and large breasts, this is a must-see for me.

bruce holecheck said...

I have a bunch of ridiculously awesome photo negatives to this one that I've been meaning to scan for a blog post -- I guess I should get around to it!

The Vicar of VHS said...

@Samuel--What a falling off was there, indeed! The 70s were the golden age of Squatchsploitation, which for my money reached its apex in 1980's Night of the Demon; I don't think we'll see its like again.

@Bill--I found a dvd for sale at Trash Palace and also Movies Unlimited, both under the "Beauties and the Beast" title. I'm sure there are other tubes on the internet through which it could flow as well. Happy hunting!

@bruce--Awesome! When you post them, be sure and let us know!

Al Bruno III said...

What's this?

Softcore Sasquatch Sapphic Silliness?

Another wonderful write up my friend.

But did you ever wonder why the Loch Ness Monster never gets any girl on girl action?

SteveQ said...

And here I thought Joi Lansing skydiving in a teddy was the low point of bigfoot movies...

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