Last Run Theater – Beyond the Valley of the Dolls Goes Beyond the First (and Second) Run from Helter Skelter to Cult Classic 1977-1979
1-7-77, Xenia, OH – Today, Russ Meyer’s classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is rightfully seen as an important movie of it’s time, but back in 1977 after hitting theaters as the co-feature to the 1967 film Valley of the Dolls through the Mid 70’s, it was mostly known as something freaky to run on the B-slot although there a small audience who knew it was much more than that. It’s darker side which can bring to mind some of the evils of the Late 60’s and Early 70’s like the Manson Murders in a couple of scenes with it’s focus on a megalomaniac Record Producer’s grip on a rising band being a perfect exaggeration on the self-made business people who lived their hype to a murderous level, was a good match for the exciting and creepy films that were all around the Exploitation market. Although it’s style and professionalism was a sharp contrast to many of the films it played with in the Late 70’s was a serious sharp contrast to many of the lower-budgeted films it was slotted with, but when put with something like The Manson Massacre (AKA The Cult, The Love Cult, Together Girls, and later Girls in Bondage) it must have been creepy and interesting enough to think about the sinister side of the Hippie Days.
4-2-77, Louisville – Along with the Lipstick, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls joined up with another re-issued Manson Exploitation film, this time the one that (arguably) started it all, The Other Side of Madness which got a new title sparked by the Helter Skelter TV movie. In 1975, the original title for the 1971 movie played in Youngstown winding up it’s very minimal success before fate took the film and made it a small hit.The R in the ad was a fake, but I also take it as an editorial comment on the fact that it really was an R level film by that time despite what the official X and NC-17 ratings will lead some to think.
7-8-77, Louisville – Someone must have been seriously into the film as it was seen as a perfect way to end an all nighter show featuring Autopsy/Sacrifice and Cry Rape/The Love Object.
1-21-77, Louisville – This small ad from the South Park DI has it with Bill Osco’s Alice in Wonderland and the 1968 sexy camp classic Candy. I decided to throw in another ad for the San Antonio Inn where I’m sure some of the audience went to.
11-25-77, Philadelphia – With the growing success of Charlie’s Angels, the re-issue of Myra Breckenridge was inevitable. This played a number of theaters for a couple of years.
10-6-78, Akron – Possibly one of the final showings of this double bill…more later?
12-9-77, Bridgeport, Conn. – Teaming it up with The Story of O showed how far X-Rated films have went through the years, although nobody was there to analyse this fact.
8-29-77 , LA – A word only mention for a Russ Meyer Marathon at the Nuart showing some of the Director’s classics including the then-recent Up.
6-15-77, Santa Cruz – Knowing it’s value, BVD was played with the legendary lampoon of the Hollywood film world, Hollywood Boulevard.
4-21-79, Youngstown – After hitting a disappointing chapter of his life trying to make Who Killed Bambi starring The Sex Pistols with Roger Ebert’s script and failing beyond a completed scene, Russ Meyer was getting his last theatrically-released film Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens ready for release when Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was starting to make it’s way into the Midnight Shows with an audience that loved it for what it is.