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*** 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
One of Meyer's best is this classic gothic melodrama biker chicks movie about a trio of bad-ass go-go dancers. Full of great dialogue and a true trash sensibility that inspired John Waters-it is a treat for those with more esoteric tastes.
My main fascination with this film is not the acting or plot, most is definitely drive-in stuff, but the fact that Russ Meyer dared to portray women as openly aggressive (ie., like men). In a UK interview, he admitted that he wrote the characters as that's the way he liked them: strong women turned him on. It's a wonder this film wasn't totally banned in 1965. But I'm glad it wasn't. Tura Satana has some wonderful lines
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Before picking up a boxset of his films in the Christmas sales last
year,I had heard about 2 Russ Meyer movies,due to both of the titles
later being used as the name for some bands,with Mudhoney being one of
the earliest bands from the Grunge sub-genre,and Faster Pussycat being
a Hard Rock band,whose music video for the single "Don't change that
song" was directed by Russ Meyer!.With having found Mudhoney to be a
great,southern-fried Drama,I decided to find out how wild Meyer's cats
Searching round for a place to do some test laps before a big race,Tommy and Linda are pleased to find a deserted desert area,that will give Tommy all the room he needs to run his test laps.Reaching the centre of the area,Tommy and Linda discover 3 parked up cars,that belong to a group of go-go dancers called Varla,Rosie and Billie.Attempting to politely introduce themselves,Tommy and Linda are instead pushed around by the gang,who tell Tommy that if he wants to prove the he is a "real man",then he must go against them in a race,right now.
Aggreing to the challenge,Tommy is left dazed and confused after the gang reveal their less than "traditional" driving skills.Taking advantage of the situation,Varla,Rosie and Billie grab Linda,and tell her that they are going to kidnap her,so that they can put Linda up for ransom.Rushing to save his girlfriend from being kidnapped,Tommy inadvertently runs into Varla's deadly karate chops,which lead to Tommy being left for dead,face down in the desert.
Filling Linda up with sleeping pills so that she keeps her mouth shut,the gang head to a peteral station,so that they can fill the cars up,and get of there with Linda as quickly as possible.Waiting for the peteral station guy to finish filling up the cars,the gang notice a fellow,wealthy-looking,wheel-chair bound customer being helped into a truck by the man's son.Keeping their interest under wraps,the girls ask the peteral station attendant if he knows anything at all about the man.
Taken by the girls sudden interest in local knowledge,the attendant tells the gang that the man lives in an isolated farm house with his two sons,and that their have been rumours going around the town for years that the man is sitting on a suitcase full of cash.Excited over the opportunity of grabbing more cash then she originally expected,Varla tells Rosie and Billie,that before they run off with their bounty in Linda,that it might be a good idea,if they pay this kind,wealthy old man a surprise visit.
View on the film:
Reuniting with co- screenwriter Jack Moran, (who wrote one of the last titles from Russ Meyer's "Nudie-Cutie" era with Wild Girls of the Naked West)co-writer/co-producer/editor and directing auteur Russ Meyer shows in his eye-catching stylised directing a tremendous skill in combining the cartoon style aspects of his Nudie-Cutie movies,with the Film Noir path that he is currently on,so that Meyer can create an unforgettably wild,cartoon-bonkers,deranged Film Noir.
Introducing each of the rough'n tumble amazonian women, (played by the splendid,and very easy on the eye's Haji,Lori Williams and Tura Satana) in a go-go dancing nightclub,Meyer bravely keeps away from building a "safe" centre-ground that the movie can relay on,to instead push everything contained within the film right to the edge of the sanity,with each of the actress's delivering their cracking dialogue with extremely over exaggerated pronunciation,which helps to create an irresistible animated atmosphere.
Keeping away from making any of the stunning girls mere 2D characters,Meyer shows a surprising amount of subtly in the way that he reveals the "true" relationship that Varla,Rosie and Billie have with each other,with the relationship between Varla and Rosie being one the is filled with glances that last just that bit too long,which become much more noticeably on repeat viewings of the film. (In an interview on the DVD,Haji mentions that Meyer did not give her the full details of Rosie's relationship with Varla until the movie had finished shooting,due to Meyer wanting the "true" meaning of their relationship to be one that was hidden from the suffice of the film.)
Along with the deadly kittens,Meyer and co-writer Jack Moran give the film a strong Horror element,with the old man,who the gang think they'll be able to steal a huge bundle of cash from,being revealed as not being a kind old man at all,but instead being one who is wicked,that also holds some pretty unsettling "family values" close to his heart,which lead to the gang having to risk everything that they have got,in the hopes that they end up becoming the cats who got all of the cream.
Who would know that the 60's could produce a movie so intense, that it will be a gemstone of a lifetime. In "Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!", it's a high octane thriller, that combines fast cars, fast moving women, and action that is non-stop. You have these three go-go dancers: Varla (Tura Santana), Rosie(Haji), and Billie(Lori Williams). They go out in the desert to unwind, until a couple appeared and they started to have a race. Well, the original three were racing their cars earlier in the scene, then Billie decides to have a swim. When the couple joined the scene, things began to get ugly. After the race, Varla and the boyfriend get into a fight, which resulted in his death. Then they drugged the girlfriend, and take her onto a ranch where this old man who was crippled in a railroad accident. The deadly trio do want something from him, his hidden money. But unknown to them, he is not so vulnerable period. For he got his own plans for them. The only thing is, they are not weak women. These women can fight, kill, or play very rough at all costs. No one is safe. This movie is about violent women, and not about domestic violence in the house hold. Of course, with the simple-minded brother, it's all about personal demons. Rev up your engines and see this movie. 5 stars
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