Friday, November 25, 2016

Curvy Hellcats on a Rampage, or Thoughts on Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

From legendary B-movie director Russ Meyer, or maybe I should say DD-movies (my apologies), Faster Pussycat!  Kill!  Kill! (1965) was originally a low budget drive-in exploitation film that has now been rebranded as a sex-positive feminist action flick.  The premise has a certain simplistic genius; three go-go dancers and part-time street racers, murder a rival driver, kidnap his girlfriend and terrorize a crippled farmer and his two adult sons.
With a jazzy, beat poet mid-century soundtrack and snappy dialogue, from a hardboiled screenplay full of innuendo and impossible one-liners, it’s a cautionary tale of cat fights, hot pants, and rally stripes for fans of women's wrestling and salt flat drag racing.  Tura Satana stars in her career-defining role as Varla, the leader of the girl gang and karate expert with Bettie page bangs and dominatrix riding boots, driving a 1964 Porsche 356 C Coupé.  Haji, born (Barbarella Canon, which seems like a cooler stage name) portrays Rosie, the brunette with the 1959 MGA 1600 Roadster.  The blonde driving the 1958 Triumph TR3 A is Lori Williams as Billie, and together they are the Three Furies who burn across the lawless California desert. 
Susan Bernard portrays Linda, the kidnapped teen, who went on to become the first Jewish Playboy centerfold (Miss December, 1966), who cruised around with her boyfriend Tommy in their 1963 MGB.  It’s a car movie first and foremost, and a post WWII commentary on the evolving roles of women with a sly lesbian subtext folded in amidst all the karate chops and go-go dancing.
All the males in the movie are portrayed as weak and impotent, goofy gas station attendants, lecherous old men in wheelchairs or gentle giant muscle bound mutes.  They’re powerless against their feminine charms, wrestling prowess and driving skills.  Russ Meyer keeps the camera low and films them like Amazon goddesses, the audience sees these women from below, larger than life. 
Japanese-American Tura Satana made her big-screen debut in Irma la Douce (1963), with appearances in Our Man Flint (1966), The Astro-Zombies (1968) and The Doll Squad (1973).  She revisited the role as a voice actor in Rob Zombie’s The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2009). 
Ironically, the risqué burlesque outfits look would modest on a beach today.  For an exploitative box office disaster when released, the film currently has a very respectable rating of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Also the primary inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof (2007), Faster Pussycat!  Kill!  Kill! is not that much different than the Fast and the Furious franchise, except in those movies you get to stare at Vin Diesel’s chest. 

my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).