The Beauties and the Beast
(a.k.a. The Beast and the Vixens)

Director: Ray Naneau                                                     
Uschi Digart, Coleen Brenan

If Ed Wood had been directing in the 70s, he might very well have made a movie like The Beauties and the Beast. It's just as funny, and just as bad, as anything he ever done. But maybe the movie shouldn't be knocked so hard - it's "A Second Unit Production" and released by "Sophisticated Films". And the narrator at the beginning of the movie, after talking a little about the legends of Bigfoot and the Yeti tells us, "The story you are about to see...could be true!"

The story begins with a woman deep in the woods deciding to take off her top and do some sunbathing. A skinny-looking Bigfoot, whose face somewhat resembles Richard Nixon with a beard and long hair, sees her and decides to grab her and take her back home, afterwards imprisoning her in the spare room of his cave. Shortly afterwards, he spots another woman in the woods, and kidnaps her and imprisons her with the other woman. Naturally, the women are frightened and anxious, and wonder what's going to happen to them. You'll end up wondering along with them, because the fate of the women is never resolved! This subplot ends around here, so we never find out if Bigfoot does what we are thinking he'll do to the women. Darn.

Now the main "plot" starts. Two women, who are in the middle of writing a research paper for the archeology class, decide to go to a cabin in the woods to get information for their paper. On their first night at the cabin, Bigfoot looks in the window to see the women each getting completely undressed and getting into bed (together). One of the women is suddenly frightened at being in the woods in the dead of night, leading the other one to embrace her and whisper assurances in her ear, giving her a few assuring kisses along the way.

The above scene ends at that point - darn again. But not to worry. The next scene starts during the next morning, with a couple in a VW Bug driving into another part of the woods, and engaging in a very long heavy petting sequence. Then they get out of the car, take off their clothes, and engage in a very long sex scene, which is explicit even by today's standards. While at one point while they are going very vigorously at it, Bigfoot walks up to them and continues to watch them. (This sequence is particularly hilarious). When they finally look up, the guy is so scared he runs into the woods naked. Bigfoot grabs the naked woman and for a lengthy period fondles her all over while the camera is in close-up.

Not long afterwards, the two college women meet up with some hippie squatters, and join them in some skinny-dipping at the lake. Then they move in with the hippies, which creates some jealously from the female hippies. One female hippie that night has a dream when she has a shoot-out with one of the women, both naked except for their boots and gunbelts. (You see snow in the area during the scene, which means the scene mustn't have been pleasant for the actresses.) One of the female hippies is still jealous, which means her hippie boyfriend must engage in a long, explicit sex scene with her so she'll still know he loves her.

The next day, the group encounters two ex-cons, who have returned to the woods to get a treasure that's supposedly buried nearby. Both mean business - they both carry rifles, and one has a laugh like Elmer Fudd's. One of the women manages to escape, and finds a woodcutter straight from Little Red Riding Hood, and they both run back to save her friends. But will they be too late? Maybe. But there's always the chance of help from an unexpected ally...

By now, I'm sure you've decided whether this is your kind of movie or not - probably is, right? Then you'll have a lot of amusement watching it. To add to the ludicrous story, we're treated to a level of filmmaking that's seldom been this low. Most of the dialogue is spoken off-camera, or with the speakers' faces not visible or far away, so that the director could film most of the movie silently (to save money) and then sync in the dialogue lately. Maybe director Naneau took a cue from director Doris Wishman. But far from irritating to the viewer, it somehow seems right that such a silly story was made in such a silly fashion. The Beauties and the Beast is a neglected movie deserving notoriety as one of the best of the so-bad-they're-good. You should be warned that you'll have to look hard for this movie - it's long, long out of print, and was never plentiful even when it was first released. But this is one movie that's worth a journey around the video stores in your area to find it.

Also reviewed at: Cold Fusion Video

Check for availability on Amazon (DVD)

See also: Cinderella, Hex, Hollywood High