Walked into the Virgin Megastore today and was looking through the sale stuff when I was flabbergasted to see a DVD I didn't know existed. It's one of those 20th Century Fox 2-in-1 packs (a la "Romancing The Stone/Jewel of the Nile") and contains "Valley of the Dolls" and "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" "Valley of the Dolls" was a crap, trashy bestselling novel, by Jacqueline Susann, an author so terrible, she makes Jackie Collins seem like Virginia Woolf. The movie was a crap, trashy turkey of a film but very big at the box office. Worth watching as a giggle for the sheer awfulness of it all. However, "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" is an entirely different kettle of fish! Russ Meyer had been making waves in Hollywood by bringing his unique brand of cartoonish, soft-core nudie melodramas into the mainstream with the box office sucess of "Vixen". Fox were eager to sign him to a deal, and were also keen for a sequel to "Valley...". Somehow the two collided. Meyer enjoying creative control over the movie, had Roger Ebert (yes, he of two thumbs up fame) script a bizzarre, acid fuelled pastiche of the type of movie typified by "Valley of the Dolls". The movie is not a sequel to the original, with only the words "...Valley of the Dolls" in common, and there any relationship ends. Fox were horrified by what they saw, hadn't a clue how to market it, and consigned it to double feature status with another "maverick" film giving them headaches at the time, namely "Myra Breckinridge", a bad but extremely interesting cult item. While this movie is not on the same league as "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls", "Myra Breckinridge" shares the same quirky, cult cache and would have made a much more appropriate pairing in this DVD package if someone at Fox had been awake. Anyhow, "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" (correct me if I'm wrong and point me to the DVDs) marks the first appearance of Russ Meyer on the silver disc format. It is also Meyer's only work for a major studio. The film is pretty much unique. The most deadpan of deadpan humour, shagadelic '60s cats and chicks, sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll (of the "groovy" variety - an hilarious cod-psychedelic music score), impossibly pneumatic predatory women, a frenetic pace and editing style that will leave you reeling, Meyer's trademark knockout cinematography and a plot resembling every super-soap you've ever seen, except fuelled by mind expanding substances. All of it peppered with explosions of OTT violence. Indeed the print is the uncut version with the rather queasy gun / fellatio sequence restored. Not for everyone granted. I find with Meyer you either get the joke or you don't, there doesn't seem to be any middle ground. But if you're in the market for something decidedly different then well worth a try - especially at under a tenner. And you get a so-awful-it's-funny movie thrown in too. Well that's Christmas made for me!