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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 ***
The cult of Russ Meyer had its heyday back in the late 70's and 80's
when his work was embraced by people as different as John Waters and
Roger Ebert, who championed his sex and violence epics as works of art
with far greater depth and meaning than their sleazy appearance. It
seemed that Meyer's trash was as profound as the serious work of
But that was a long time ago and the culture has come a long way since then. As a kid, I remember VIXEN and HARRY, CHERRY, and RAQUEL playing at local theaters, but alas, I was far too young to see them. And as I have gotten older, I have learned that nothing ages faster than what was pushing the envelope yesterday.
Only recently did I have an opportunity to finally see FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! and I can say that while it shows its age, there is much about the film that still holds its own.
What makes FASTER, PUSSYCAT! look like a senior citizen: the clothes for one thing; Billie's miniskirt, Tommy's plaid shorts and Linda's bikini all scream 1960's. But more to the point, it is Meyer's leering, dirty old man point of view that makes FASTER, PUSSYCAT feel not only dated, but absolutely ancient. The way he asks us to pant at the sight of these bad girls gone completely out of control reeks of an era when Hugh Hefner was the epitome of hip and daring.
What makes FASTER, PUSSYCAT! still have punch: it's depiction of a world devoid of morality and goodness, where almost all the characters are murderous and lecherous; where the only innocent person, Linda, is constantly beaten and victimized by the three go-go dancing amazons or the old man and his mentally damaged son. In this way, FASTER, PUSSYCAT! beats NATURAL BORN KILLERS to the punch by a good thirty years.
Meyer got terrific performances out of his actors and actresses that still hold up, especially six foot plus Tura Satana as Varla, the leader of the three bad ass women on a rampage in the desert. Varla, who karate chops Linda's boyfriend to death early in the film, is one of the cinema's all time great female villains, a character with no redeeming attributes beyond the obvious physical ones. She is matched all the way by Lori Williams's Billie, whether she's taking a shower outside under a water tank, getting drunk at lunch or throwing down with Haji's Rosie. And Stuart Lancaster perfectly captures the Old Man's pathetic situation as well as his vileness.
And Meyer had a keen eye for the action that was as unique as his gander for the female form; just look at the scene where Varla tries to crush the muscle bound Vegetable with her car, there's nothing quite like in any other movie.
To answer my question, yes, FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! holds up pretty well, kind of like an old Ford Mustang whose paint is chipped and fender's dented, but whose motor still purrs like a pussycat.
*** 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
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
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you take a look around the internet at all the reviews for Faster,
Pussycat! Kill! Kill! you'll undoubtedly see the movie examined from
every conceivable angle. You'll see some very learned people going on
and on about female empowerment or the impotency of man or other
similar topics. Don't worry I'm not going there. So leaving behind
all the sociological and psychological mumbo-jumbo, Faster, Pussycat!
Kill! Kill! is just one cool, wildly entertaining movie. Not plain old
cool, but uber-cool. This is trash cinema at its very finest. For me,
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is about as straight forward as you can
get. It's a movie about three women, three cars, six breasts, the
desert, and a whole lot of violence. It doesn't get much simpler, or
better, than that.
There are so many things I want to say about Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! that I don't really know where to begin. I guess I'll start with Russ Meyer. From the opening voice-over narration followed by the three larger than life go-go dancers, Meyer gets Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! off to a kick in the rear sort of start. And he never lets up. Meyer keeps the images and pace coming fast and strong. After watching the movie, I'm amazed at what he was able to do with a budget that was probably less than what I spent on our last family vacation. Meyer uses his camera in a variety of unusual and surprising ways. I doubt I could think of a single angle he didn't use to shoot his three female leads. And Meyer filled the movie with some very interesting, almost ethereal, images. There are some shots of Varla during the race sequence with her hair blowing in the wind as she laughs with the utter delight of the situation that are like works of art. The fact that these close-ups are obviously stage-bound and the car is being rocked by some prop guys only adds to the surreal feeling. I've never seen anything quite like it.
Speaking of having never seen anything like it, there's nothing quite like Tura Satana, Haji, or Lori Williams. Once you've seen them, you'll never forget them. I can honestly say I was impressed with all three and not just with their obvious physical assets. Each gives a more than serviceable, realistic performance. Of the three, however, Satana stands out. Is there a single scene in which she appears that she does not totally dominate? From the ample cleavage to the straight jet-black hair to the make-up to the clothes to that man-eater attitude she's absolutely mesmerizing.
What else impressed me? Here's the quick list to save some time: the music (both the jazzy, "loungey" score that runs through most of the movie and The Bostweeds title track); the often unexpected outbursts of violence; the dialogue (Tarantino wishes he could write dialogue half this cool); and the whole 60s go-go feel to the movie. It's just about perfect!
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