Beauties And The Beast, The (1974)

Directed by Ray Nadeau
Applause Productions, Inc. VHS

If this movie doesn’t convince you that Bigfoot is real, then nothing will.

Beauties And The Beast is a classic example of exploitation filmmakers trying to do a billion things without having the means to do a billion things. And doing them anyway. Like Road Of Death and The Immoral Three, Beauties is a mishmash of style without reason. Someone was into the idea of making a softcore movie. And an action movie. And a Bigfoot movie. And also a movie where people talk about Bigfoot. Director Ray Nadeau and pals didn’t have the resources to make all four of those movies. But they had enough stuff to make one no-budget masterpiece about campers and convicts having sex while vying for ancient treasure in Bigfoot’s forest. Plus rape-through-the-jeans.

Oh boy!

A man holds binoculars in the woods while sharing cold, hard facts about Bigfoot. The man pronounces Sasquatch as “Sasquash,” just like they did in Bigfoot: Man Or Beast? A collage of newspaper clippings and photos float across the screen while he struggles to catch his breath. Then he says, “The story you are about to see COULD be true.” As if by magic, Bigfoot appears. He looks like a walking gorilla suit that is attached to a Captain Lou Albano mask.

Bigfoot kidnaps naked women and gently caresses them in the privacy of his cave. This leads to a couple having sex nearby. And that, in turn, leads to Uschi Digard and her girlfriend taking a trip to the woods. They stay in a cabin. They drink brandy while wearing over-the-top pop-art outfits that wouldn’t feel out of place in Who Are You Polly Magoo? Eventually, they take out their boobs and go to bed. The next day, the girls meet some campers that speak of an old hermit who leaves gold coins in exchange for food. Bigfoot watches all of this happen. Bigfoot also watches a guy play an entire song on an acoustic guitar about some “gypsy mountain madness.” Uschi’s friend says, “Wow, you’re so talented,” even though he’s not. Soon, some criminals show up and demand that the campers give them the gold coins. Guns! Punches! Danger! A tiny hermit wearing Boris Karloff’s vest from Son Of Frankenstein!

Bigfoot gets a lot of action in this movie. If every movie had more Bigfoot action in it, there would be no need to complain about anything anymore. Speaking of action, everyone else in this movie gets a lot of that, too. Pubes, boobs, and penises are in no short supply in Bigfoot’s general vicinity. So what the audience ends up getting out of all this action is a no-budget sex movie with a monster-on-the-loose foundation. It’s like a 1970s version of The Astounding She-Monster, but with the added bonus of a man having sex with his socks and loafers on. That’s fun. But with sexploitation, fun can transform into boredom in five seconds. Beauties And The Beast doesn’t have this problem. That’s probably because it feels like it was pieced together with a glue stick and cat piss by a lunatic.

From the Disney-esque library music to the harsh jump cuts, from the thirty-second establishing shot of a portable radio to Uschi Digard’s unintelligible Renee Harmon impression, the surreal mood of Beauties And The Best is satisfying and relaxing. The various tones constantly contradict themselves. The composition is a mess. It’s basically 60 minutes of happy idiots getting naked while Bigfoot hangs out and everything goes haywire behind the camera. By the time an “old west” dream sequence straight out of Russ Meyer’s Wild Gals Of The Naked West popped up, the moral was obvious.

Bigfoot is real. And he has a great life.