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The female characters each represent the different aspects of the female sexuality: innocence, female dominance, intellect, desire for other females, anger at power men have over them, etc. Same with the men. The old man was crippled by trying to save a girl from a train; raging male desire, and get emasculated by that pursuit. He has his new body: son, do his sexual work for him. The women are after his money, a familiar scenario. The other son is male rationality and emotional strength that women really want; a daddy. The film is packed with symbols of human sexuality. New ones emerge with each viewing and interpretation, Very sexy. The story is brilliant and reminiscent of Greek tragedies and Shakespearean lessons.
Russ Meyers' attraction for women with ample bosoms and fiery personalities is well-known. FASTER PUSSYCAT still looks like nothing out there in theatres. A trio of go-go dancers meet up with a teenaged couple in the desert. In short order the hellcats have killed the boyfriend, kidnapped the hapless girlfriend(why? Some sort of unspoken lesbian undercurrent?), and head toward an isolated ranch owned by a wheelchair-bound old coot who, the dancers learn, has a hidden fortune somewhere on the ranch. Then things really get hairy! Led by the raven-tressed Varla, the three karate-chop, cat-fight, and seduce their way towards the money. The thing is, the ending is a let-down, since we're led to believe from all this female hellcat posturing that Meyers admires strong women(but not too strong, apparently). Still, the girls are a joy to behold. The creators of XENA must have been rabid fans, since the warrior princess so closely resembles Varla(right down to the hairstyle). Check it out.
Russ Meyer's "Faster Pussycat" has echoes of other, more popular films in its set-up and design, certainly in its overall impact--yet this picture is the precursor to those, and as influential cult flicks go, it still stuns today. Three bosomy go-go dancers hit the desert in their sports cars for a little rowdy, competitive fun; they later end up kidnappers involved in murder after befriending a car-enthusiast and his teenybopper girlfriend. The plot is so reedy and bare it may pass for existential (you can attach any number of psychological theories to it and feel vindicated by the finish). Meyer, who also devised the original story and edited the film, holds back a bit on the overt sex but really lets us have it in terms of kinetic appeal. The picture, shot in crisp black-and-white, bristles with tension and energy, and the characters are so compelling and astutely drawn that even the outlandish plot-devices Meyer throws in hardly come off as cartoonish. Viewers are led (some may say unwillingly) wherever this director chooses to take them, and you can practically hear Russ Meyer cackling from behind the camera. Not for all tastes, but adventuresome movie-buffs should feast on this for some time. **1/2 from ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Brilliant trash from Russ Meyer about three volatile go-go dancers who
live hard and race their cars harder. Their leader is Varla(Tura
Satana), a benevolent sort of mad dame who loves pushing the boundaries
of bad. She decides to kill an innocent man just out to test-drive his
car for speed time. She is always looking for competition when it comes
to racing, and this young man produces the seed to sprout that urge. He
has with him a foxy young dame named Linda(Sue Bernard)for whom Varla
just has to carry along(she's bi-sexual, but is kidnapping her for
kicks because that's just how bad she is..always looking for something
a little more dangerous).
Varla is "supported" by lover Rosie(Haji)who is pretty much her servant girl for she even lights the woman's cigarettes. But, Billie(Lori Williams..who is absolutely scorching)is often a thorn in Varla's side because she challenges her authority and is quite a lousy drunk. Varla sees an opportunity for monetary gain in a crusty old man, crippled in a wheel chair(Stuart Lancaster)who has his stash hidden some place. She will scheme her way through the family to find the loot using means at her disposal such as her figure and possible sexual favors by going after older son Kirk(Paul Trinka)who admits he's weak when lust passes by. Billie sets her sights on the retarded, muscular son(Dennis Busch)who has a specific irritable weakness when trains pass..something about them scars his psyche. Will Varla find the old man's money? What will happen to poor Linda, who tries so often to get away but seems to never quite make it? Will anyone survive with Varla always scheming to find that cash? Ultra-violence prevails in Meyer's flick which is interesting because he allows Varla to be such a tyrant and seemingly indestructible when battling men. She swallows the weak whole and dominates all the characters. She sets her furious sights on something and doesn't think twice about diving after no matter what it is. Men presented in the film are weak and they seem almost knee-bent to the lusts they carry. The film has wonderful, slick beatnik dialogue and the way the camera shoots the characters is excellent. I loved how Meyer shoots the women behind the steering wheel. We can easily tell that they are merely in a superficial concoction with film crew-members moving the fake car with the girls inside, but this provides Meyer with a unique way of lensing their expressions of joy and malice as they race each other and chosen victims who have no idea what kind of dames they are dealing with.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Oh, all right already, I confess it didn't occur to me to rent this until
& E on cable did an entire episode on "cleavage" featuring clips from the
movie, at which point it occurred to me I'd never seen a Russ Meyer flick
whereas I'd seen TWO by Herschel Gordon Lewis, for crying out loud. So
maybe it was a kind of "pilgrimage" but at least I knew I wouldn't have
kiss a large rock at the end of it. ....
The key to enjoyable junk is that everyone involved with it be on the same page. Whatever style of acting is employed, let it be consistent cast-wide. On that point "Faster..." succeeds big-time, with one exception: the blonde chick comes off as doing self-parody. Had everyone else been doing self-parody, that would've been fine. Unfortunately, everyone else was "playing it straight" on the grade-Z scale. This may not seem such a dire matter, but for movies like this, tone is all they have going for them. Like the Monty Python block of flats, "it's only real if you believe in it..."
As for the (groan) plot, three strippers are spending their vacation cruising around the California desert and cross paths with a "regular guy" hotrodder and his sublimely ditzy girlfriend who, as in the de Sade novels, has no reason to exist except to be abused, so it doesn't bother us much. Then the femmes fatale learn from a Gas Jockey Ex Machina that there's an isolated household supposedly with a lot of money stashed, and dot dot dot. In the household are a crippled older guy with a pet shotgun and two sons, one a big lunk who's always eating and the other the closest this movie comes to a "normal" character. One remembers that up to that time movies always provided the audience with a "reference point" in reality. It wasn't until a few years later that John Waters came along to create entirely insane alternate universes, and then we had "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and it's progeny ...
The crippled guy and his back-story are interesting enough in their own right that for a while one is tempted to watch this like a "real" movie actually caring what happens to the characters, but of course Mr. Meyer soon puts that right and we're back to the "high cheese," to borrow a baseball term. The highlight is when the big lunk is seen actually impeding the forward progress of a car by leaning against it. We're all familiar with cars, right? Well, back then there was even more metal in them than now. At that point "Faster..." becomes a cartoon, but still worth finishing, having come that far and all.
There's a kind of anthropological fascination at work here, it's like a time capsule from 1966. ("It's two years until the next election," one character reminds us.) It's the "Playboy" era of "innocent smut." The camera is trained on the strippers' mammary glands so much that the latter deserve co-star billing. There's no hint of sex, "kinky" or otherwise. One gathers that the movie's directed at guys like those seen in the beginning, clean-cut & nicely dressed, happy for any kind of "thrill." Almost makes one nostalgic for when such thrills really were "cheap," economical. (I'm remembering the lyrics of the Mothers of Invention as Ruben & the Jets: "Cheap thrills, in the back of my car ... cheap thrills, how fine they are...") If "Faster..." were a modern flick, it'd have to be a blood-drenched semen-stained horrorshow even to get our passing attention. Ah, the Good Ol' Days ....
The movie's title song by the "Bostweeds" (jeez, is that the lamest band name ever?) was later covered by the Cramps on their "Peppermint Lounge" album. Those guys (and gal) were eons ahead of their time in mining the classic ore.
Speaking of "goofs," in the scene where Rosie gets stabbed to death by the big lunk, it seems he's getting her in the lower belly, yet later when she's lying dead, her wounds are up near ... where else ... her chest. Even the laws of anatomy know their priorities....
Considering its fame, it comes as a bit of a surprise to learn that
this Russ Meyer movie wasn't successful on first release. In fact it
did a lot worse than Meyer's subsequent effort Motor Psycho. The latter
was essentially a more traditional exploitation flick in which a gang
of thugs go around causing violence. The chief difference between this
movie and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! was that in the latter the
villains were a gang of girls. It seems audiences in 1965 weren't ready
for the kind of dangerous women that Meyer unleashed; women as amoral
and violent as traditional male villains. Nowadays, there will be very
few people indeed who consider Motor Psycho the better film, while
Faster Pussycat is not only regarded by many as Meyer's best film but
also one of the very best exploitation films ever made. The reason it
didn't connect at the time was really because it was too far ahead of
For a film made in the mid-60's Faster Pussycat has a very modern feel. One of the reasons for this was because of Meyer's sharp photography coupled with his precision editing. His films were very stylised and Faster Pussycat is a great example. His camera-work is always consummate and great looking, while the three lead women are consistently well shot Meyer always ensures that they look fantastic. These women are of course the pussycats go-go dancers, drag racers, killers - and a cooler gang of villains there has never been. The leader Varla is truly a one in a million. Played by the indescribably sensational Tura Satana, she is clad entirely in black and goes around shouting lines of great dialogue at whoever comes within distance. Has there ever been a temptress as cool and dangerous as Varla in cinema ever since? No, there certainly has not. Then there is Billie played by Lori Williams who is the loose cannon of the group. On the surface she seems the least threatening of the trio but she is under no one's thumb and Williams is extremely seductive. Completing the trio is Rosie played by the one and only Haji. Personally, she is my favourite of the three. She has the most magnificent over-the-top (Latino?) accent and gestures I have ever seen. Needless to say, all three pussycats are glorious. The male characters are much less interesting how could they not be? but still Meyer regular Stuart Lancaster is once again very good in the role as a wheelchair-bound nasty misogynist, while it would be remiss not to mention that he has a simple minded son who is known simply as The Vegetable.
But Faster Pussycat is not all about the visuals. The script by Jack Moran is extremely memorable and full of brilliant one-liners. Varla in particular spits out this dialogue with some verve. It remains a very amusing film because of the sheer funniness of the script. The movie even begins with a voice-over that starts with the genius line 'welcome to violence!' We are subsequently warned of a new type of woman, a dangerous female who will kill without warning. All of this is accompanied by a black screen with audio distortion lines. Directly after this we are in a go-go club where we are immediately introduced to the pussycats. And we are off, driving through the desert along with the ultra-cool theme tune by The Bostweeds. It's one of the greatest openings to any film in my personal opinion.
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is a film full of entertainment from start to finish. There are many moments to savour and it shows - if evidence was really needed - that Russ Meyer was a really great film-maker. And yes, this really is one of the greatest exploitation movies ever made!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I remember i watched a documentary about it and that's why i wanted to watch it. It's not common to see action movies with only girls, the last one i noticed was "Sucker Punch". This movie is one of the favorite movies of Quentin Tarantino, i'm not a big fan of him but it can be also a reason to watch it if you like Tarantino. Honestly i didn't think i will enjoy much. I thought it was going to be boring but many scenes were good. I mostly liked the final fight and the race at the beginning. It's interesting to ask "why they are not many movies like this, with girls as protagonists?". A guy will probably much more appreciate it than a girl. Recommanded for peoples who are bored bad guys.
This is without a doubt one of the most entertaining cinema i have seen
and I'm glad i have known Russ Meyer after all these days. I could
actually see why Tarantino wanted to make a homage to this genre as I
myself felt to do a homage to this film in particular. I felt that
Death Proof a fitting tribute to an obsolete genre thereby reminding us
of the kind of cinema that would not actually take itself too seriously
and focuses on entertaining people.
Watching this film is an incredibly exciting and endearing experience that I enjoyed a movie a lot after a long time. This is the sort of movie which asks its audiences to join the fun it is about to deliver at its very outset by a cantankerous voice-over. I loved the dialogue, particularly the references to Columbus and Einstein and the dialogues by the old men in the film are absolute crackers.
The girls are busty with a lot of oomph and cocky attitude and I loved each of them except the little screamer kid. I can never tolerate girls who scream but the other performances are also too good and I would never have thought this to be a B movie if I wasn't told so earlier. Certainly there was nothing in the movie remotely substandard except the plot and the amount of cleavage shown which made it a contender for a B movie. The background music was so loud and over the top that after a while it became quite exciting and set up the tone for the film. I had not seen Meyer's other works so I could not comment on his legacy, but as far as this movie is concerned, it is a genuine masterpiece in its genre.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" is like the loud empty roar of its
female gangster-go-go heroes' little sports cars -- dangerous thrills
stuffed into a dense package. The fact that this is one of director
Russ Meyer's less explicit movies doesn't really detract from its
quality as exploitation, basically because the film is so direct and
caustic that there's no secret about its nasty sensibilities. Jack
Moran wrote most of the films that initially made Meyer famous,
including "Mudhoney" and "Lorna", and he lavished his most extravagant,
almost baroque I want to say, dialog on this strange little film. Meyer
described it as an experiment -- he had made so many successful films
with violence directed at women by men that people were imitating his
formula. He thought he would see how it would work if there was a gang
of women out to do violence against men. Instead of motorcycles, he
made them sports car gangsters.
Tura Satana was to say the least a fortunate casting choice. It's really hard to imagine what the movie would be with another performer in the role. She seizes all the energy in the movie and makes it hers, just like her character. Haji and Lori Williams look nice but their acting is pretty low quality.... Satana isn't much of an actress either but she knows how to use her presence. She's pretty frightening in some of the scenes, and kind of sexy. Stuart Lancaster does a good job as the dirty old man. It's not really a movie you watch for the acting.
The pace of this movie and the way that it's edited is what I personally find the most exciting. Those early scenes with the racing seem really dramatic even though it's so cheap that there's not even any mattes or anything like that, just probably some guys shaking the cars while Satana and Co. make evil faces. I've always liked the way the film so quickly swings from this go go dancing and the little Gidget beach kid into anarchy and violence when the fight between Satana and the boyfriend takes place.
This is a movie that makes little pretense towards morality, basically it's a celebration of the open road and it's about how people choose their own destinies by joining in the violence. "You're a beautiful animal and I'm weak" says the faux-hero "Kirk", and we can believe him too. When concocting her crazy scheme, Satana's character Varla tells Billie, "you don't have to believe it, just act it" or words to that effect, which sounds like the voice of Russ Meyer. It's Meyer at his best -- totally and self-consciously absurd and unreal, but all heightened cinematically and with comic book dialog to the point where the film seems to create its own compelling universe.
This is absolutely one of the great films of all time. Russ Meyer was
obviously aware of the cultural significance of his pictures before anyone
else was. Faster Pussycat is about beautiful women that kick ass and drive
fast cars, and there is nothing more I really expect out of a movie. The
level of acting is far better than it should have been based on the budget.
This show clearly gives "2,000 Maniacs" and "Teenage Cruisers" a run for
their money in this world of too many films and not enough movies.
Clete Reid Atlanta, Georgia
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