Vixen! is a 1968 American drama film and satiric softcore sexploitation film directed by Russ Meyer and starring Erica Gavin. It was the first film to be given an X rating for its sex scenes,[3] and was a breakthrough success for Meyer. The film was developed from a script by Meyer and Anthony James Ryan.

Theatrical poster
Directed byRuss Meyer
Produced byRuss Meyer
Written byRuss Meyer
Anthony James Ryan
StarringErica Gavin
Music byIgo Kantor
Edited byRuss Meyer
Distributed byEve Productions
Release date
  • October 22, 1968 (1968-10-22)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$8 million[1][2]

The film concerns the adventures of the oversexed Vixen (Gavin), as she sexually manipulates everyone she meets. The story's taboo-violations mount quickly, including themes of incest and racism.


In the heart of the Canadian wilderness, sultry and sexually assertive Vixen Palmer, quickly becomes bored when her husband Tom, wilderness guide/pilot leaves for the mountains. The hypersexual Vixen vents her frustration by attempting to seduce anyone within reach including a couple her husband brings home as clients (separately), a Mountie, and eventually her own brother, Jedd.

The film finally veers into political satire as Vixen's racism and the creeping threat of Communism are discussed at length among the characters as the film draws to its end. At the end of the film, her husband brings another couple home and Vixen smiles, apparently planning to seduce them.


Erica Gavin was a dancer in clubs who knew women who had acted in other Meyer films. She answered an advertisement seeking actors for Vixen and was cast.[4]

Meyer recalled, "Bravely I went up to the location for Vixen without a leading lady and left a couple of my henchmen to try to find somebody. It's always difficult. But Erica had a curious quality about her. She didn't have the greatest body, you know. She didn't have the up-thrust breasts like the others. "[5]

The film was shot in Miranda, California. During the film, George Costello had a relationship with Gavin, which led to the end of Costello‘s professional relationship with Meyer.[6]

Meyer said the sex scene between Gavin and her brother "was the best of them all. She [Erica Gavin] really displayed an animal quality that I've never been able to achieve before - the way she grunted and hung in there and did her lines. It was a really remarkable job... I've done a lot of jokey screwing but there's something about Erica and her brother that was just remarkable... [it] really represents the way I like to screw." [7]


The film was a huge box office success. Meyer later attributed this to the fact "it was so frank for its time. And a lot of it had to be attributed to Erica Gavin. She had a quality that also appealed to women. And women came in great numbers."[5]

Meyer later elaborated:

I think an awful lot of women would have liked to have been able to act like Vixen a few times in their lives. To have an afternoon in which they could have laid three guys, have an affair with their best girl friend, that would straighten a lot of people out... Everything she [Vixen] touched was improved. She didn't destroy, she helped. If there was a marriage that was kind of dying on the vine, she injected something into it which made it better... I think that every man at one time or another would thoroughly enjoy running into an aggressive female like Vixen... She was like a switch-hitter. You show this girl as being like a utility outfielder: she could cover all the positions.[8]

Meyer said he used sex in the film to make points about racial bigotry and communism.[9]

Critical reception

The Los Angeles Times called the film "good clean fun for adults... may well be Meyer's best film to date".[10]

The New York Times called it "slick, lascivious."[11]

Roger Ebert called it "the quintessential Russ Meyer film... Meyer's ability to keep his movies light and farcical took the edge off the sex for people seeing their first skin-flick. By the time he made vixen, Meyer had developed a directing style so open, direct and good-humored that it dominated his material. He was willing to use dialogue so ridiculous... situations so obviously tongue-in-cheek, characters so incredibly stereotyped and larger than life, that even his most torrid scenes usually managed to get outside themselves. Vixen was not only a good skin-flick, but a merciless satire on the whole genre."[12]

See also


  1. King of the Nudies on Biggest Film Caper Yet Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times 30 Nov 1969: s18.
  2. "Dolls" triggers flood of great memories
  3. All About the VIXEN
  5. Russ Meyer: Ten Years After the 'Beyond' Ebert, Roger. Film Comment; New York Vol. 16, Iss. 4, (Jul/Aug 1980): 43-48,80.
  6. "Interview with Garth Pillsbury". TV Store.
  7. Incredibly Strange Films. Starbrite. 1986. p. 86.
  8. SEX, VIOLENCE AND DRUGS ALL IN GOOD FUN! Berkowitz, Stan. Film Comment; New York Vol. 9, Iss. 1, (Jan/Feb 1973): 47-51.
  9. West View: King Leer BURT PRELUTSKY. Los Angeles Times 8 June 1969: l8.
  10. MOVIE REVIEW: 'Vixen' Screening Citywide Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times 1 May 1969: e20.
  11. Screen: Sensationalism: ' Russ Meyer's Vixen' at Three Theaters By HOWARD THOMPSON. New York Times 17 May 1969: 19.
  12. RUSS MEYER: King of the Nudies Ebert, Roger. Film Comment; New York Vol. 9, Iss. 1, (Jan/Feb 1973): 35-46.
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