Legendary filmmaker Russ Meyer deadposted 2004-09-22 11:12:40 by dmcnelis
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Russ Meyer, who helped spawn the "skin flick" with such films as "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" and "Vixen," has died. He was 82.
Meyer died Saturday at his home in the Hollywood Hills, according to his company, RM Films International Inc. Spokeswoman Janice Cowart said Meyer had suffered from dementia and died of complications of pneumonia.
Meyer's films were considered pornographic in their time but are less shocking by today's standards, with their focus on violence and large-busted women but little graphic sex.
Altogether he produced, directed, financed, wrote, edited and shot at least 23 films, including his debut, "The Immoral Mr. Teas," in 1959 and the 1968 film "Vixen," whose success earned him notice from major studios.
He went on to direct the major studio release "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls", which was co-written by film critic Roger Ebert.
In a 1996 interview with The Associated Press, Meyer described his films as "passion plays. ... Beauty against something that's totally evil."
Meyer was unapologetic for his movies, arguing the onscreen female nudity put customers in theater seats. But he maintained that women liked the films.
"The girls kick the hell out of the guys. I've always played well at the Ivy League -- Cornell, Dartmouth. I have never encountered a berating woman," he said.
Meyer's work made him rich and earned him critical acclaim. He was honored at international film festivals, his movies were discussed in college courses, and his work was shown at top museums.
His 1966 classic, "Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!" about three hip go-go-girl club dancers who go on a vengeful murder spree against the men who did them wrong still makes the art house rounds.
"This film is not derogatory to women," Meyer said. "There were three tough cookies to deal with. Besides, they get what's coming."
Meyer married three times. His studio said he left no survivors.