A cheerfully silly ode to larger-than-life femininity, entertainment attorney-cum-camp-auteur William Winckler's "The Double-D Avenger" reunites three of Russ Meyer's original bodacious starlets -- Kitten Natividad, Haji, and Raven de la Croix. It's scoring one-off rep house dates while already doing strong tape/DVD biz via Internet sales.

A cheerfully silly ode to larger-than-life femininity, L.A. entertainment attorney-cum-camp-auteur William Winckler’s “The Double-D Avenger” reunites three of retired mamploitation master Russ Meyer’s original bodacious starlets — Kitten Natividad (“Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens”), Haji (“Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!,” “Good Morning — and Goodbye!”) and Raven de la Croix (“Up!”). Pushing 60 but still defying nature (especially gravity), these dames are game for lowbrow laughs, which is all this vid-shot, deliberately cheesy “superheroine” adventure aims for. It’s scoring one-off rep house dates across the country while already doing strong tape/DVD biz via Internet sales.

Natividad plays Chastity Knott, a popular pub owner horrified to learn she’s got terminal breast cancer. Her equally out-there doctor (de la Croix) informs her of rumors of a long-shot cure. So Chastity ventures to South America in search of the crockazilla plant and its magical healing powers, deep in the land of the Amazonian Ta-Ta tribe. She’s duly cured, and, what’s more, now has superhuman powers — she can lift a papier-mache “boulder” with one hand. Such strength comes in handy once strip club-cum-clip joint owner Al Purplewood (G. Larry Butler) decides to have his only business rival wiped out.

He dispatches bad-girl trio Hydra Heffer (Haji), Pirate Juggs (Mimma Mariucci) and Ooga Boobies (Sheri Dawn Thomas) to do the dirty deed. They succeed in killing Chastity’s suitor Bubba (Gary Canavello), but the lady herself proves more resilient — especially in her new masked guise as the “Double-D Avenger.”

As one might imagine, this ain’t Noel Coward, and generous viewer application of beer is advised for enjoying such dialogue as “Holy hooters!,” “I’m double-de-lighted,” and the oft-repeated “Shiver me titty timbers!” Along the way to the inevitable good-over-evil triumph, we get such diversions as a lingerie modeling sequence, a montage of Kitten’s old pinup shots and a “sword” fight with vibrating dildos.

Perfs range from the broadly good-humored to the simply amateur; 87-year-old exploitation flick fave Forrest J. Ackerman makes a frail guest appearance as a wax museum caretaker.

What very few Russ Meyer homages grasp, let alone equal, is the camera/editing dynamism that made his features unique beyond their obvious breast-fixation. “Avenger” is executed with the just-adequate low-budget tech savvy of a lesser Troma production. Still, cult film fans will be satisfied just seeing these older yet undiminished gals back in bawdy (though never actually topless, let alone bottomless) action. If Kitten’s equipment looks especially unreal and/or heavily costumed, it’s because she underwent a double mastectomy for breast cancer four years ago — a fact that lends pic a poignant, uplifting (ahem) subtext.

The Double-D Avenger

Production

A William Winckler Prods. presentation. Produced by Winckler. Executive producers, Patricia Tousicnant, Jim Tousicnant, Elizabeth Sturm. Directed, written by William Winckler.

Crew

Camera (color, digital video), Raoul J. Germain, Jr.; editor, Germain, Jr.; music, Don Shore; sound, Jon Herd; makeup/hair, Miquela Armijo; assistant director, Dezzirae Ascalon. Reviewed on videocassette, San Francisco, Jan. 14, 2003. Running time: 73 MIN.

With

Kitten Natividad, Haji, Raven de la Croix, Forrest J. Ackerman, Mimma Mariucci, Sheri Dawn Thomas, G. Larry Butler, Lunden de'Leon, Gary Canavello, Andrea Ana Persun, Ray Verduzco, Bob Mackey.

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