Even by the standards of Russ Meyer films Common-Law Cabin is a strange one. It’s a kind of transitionary film, between the dark and violent weirdness of movies like Mudhoney and Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and the more colourful and rather lighter surreal sex comedies like Vixen.
Dewey Hoople runs a tourist resort on the Colorado River. It’s actually not really a resort; more a tourist trap. In fact it’s just a cabin in the middle of nowhere! Unsuspecting travellers are lured there to be fleeced by his partner, a drunken old sailor. Once there they are sold over-priced booze, and treated to some truly bizarre entertainment - there’s a kind of wild woman act by his scantily clad and very well-endowed housekeeper Babette, and a floor show provided by his equally well-endowed daughter Coral.
Coral’s go go dancing is proving increasingly disturbing for her father given that she’s a rather well-developed girl, and her go go dancing costume leaves little of her charms to the imagination. His housekeeper certainly thinks he takes far much too much interest in those very womanly charms!
A fairly unhealthy situation gets a lot more unhealthy when the latest party of suckers arrives. There’s a slightly sinister individual who for some inexplicable reason decides to wants to buy Hoople’s place, and there’s an obviously not very happily married doctor and his very well-endowed wife (yes, this is a Russ Meyer movie, and there are the usual outrageously ample bosoms).
As usual in a Meyer movie, the mood gradually darkens as it emerges that one of the tourists is most definitely up to no good, and events build towards a violent and bizarre climax. But again as usual in a Meyer movie, the violence is very much cartoon-style and is much too outlandish to be offensive or really disturbing.
This movie also marks a change away from the black-and-white cinematography of the film that preceded it, and the colour photography has the bright vibrant feel of his later movies.
Common-Law Cabin may be Meyer’s most underrated movie. Definitely not his best, but it’s most emphatically worth a look if you’re a Meyer fan.