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The tendency to dismiss Russ Meyer's "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!"
(1965) as just a cult classic is probably due to the most memorable
feature of the film, the girls. First there are the two quintessential
Meyer women, Tura Satana and Haji, towering brunettes with enormous
breasts who dominate all the men around them; or at least Satana does,
Haji's character (with a strange Italian-Mexican accent?) is more
focused on Satana than on men. They actually come across as a feminist
empowerment fantasy, which is consistent with Meyer's almost exclusive
career focus on situations in which women wreak their will upon men.
If they are too extreme for your tastes there is blonde free spirit Lori Williams and air-headed sweet young thing Susan Bernard. While arguably the two prettiest women to have ever graced a film, there is no argument that William's character is the sexiest of all time. Interestingly, it was the sweet-faced Bernard who became a Playboy centerfold just a few months after the movie (December 1966).
But "Pussycat's" greatness comes from the visceral power of Meyer's unusual images (can you say Fellini). Add to this abundant humor, inventive camera angles, fast pacing, clever editing, violence, and a generally amoral cast of characters.
The film gets even better with subsequent viewings, you connect better with the twisted dialogue and the wry humor.
Expectations were very high when watching this, but its not Russ Meyers
best. The superwoman are tough as nails or as a velvet glove dipped in
iron as they say, almost all lines of the movie is memorable, Tura
Satana and co shouts them out in the coolest fashion and this makes up
for the strongest feat of the movie. I promise you'll laugh more than a
few times by them..
Its cousin 'Motorpsycho' however was more accomplished than this was. The story doesn't have as much potency (no pun), the girls are good, but not all that and the absurdity reached in 'Supervixens' and 'Motorpsycho' is not reached here.
Its still a campy classic though.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When you talk about exploitation movies there are a handful of
directors who truly stand head and shoulders above the rest within that
particular field of film. Names like Jess Franco, Herschell Gordon
Lewis, Al Adamson, Pete Walker and Russ Meyer would be mighty high on
any list of exploitation masters. The latter, Russ Meyer, may well have
a serious claim to be labelled the most important of all the
exploitation directors, for his work goes beyond merely making money
from sex, nudity, violence and other such sensationalism. Meyer is
actually a serious artist, whose philosophies and techniques make his
films instantly recognisable. In some ways, he is just as important and
influential as Hitchcock, Huston, Lean and Visconti though
critically, perhaps correctly, his films are received with far less
acknowledgement and acclaim. Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is Meyer's
most popular, most famous and probably most entertaining film. It is a
true original, perhaps too "different" for many tastes, but certainly
one of the quintessential films within the exploitation genre.
Three sexy go-go dancers Varla (Tura Santana), Rosie (Haji), and Billie (Lori Williams) spend their spare time car-racing in the Californian desert. Varla in particular has a competitive edge and a vicious streak, so when challenged to a car race by egotistical Tommy (Ray Barlow), she cannot resist. The race gets out of hand and Varla, a karate expert, ends up savagely murdering her rival Tommy. Following the killing, the trio of girls decide that they have nothing to lose and so indulge in various other unsavoury activities. First, they kidnap Tommy's girlfriend Linda (Susan Bernard), then head off into the sunset in search of further kicks. They eventually wind up at a ranch owned by a wheelchair-bound old man (Stuart Lancaster), who lords over two sons with an iron fist. One of the sons is sensitive Kirk (Paul Trinka), the other is a gigantic retard known simply as "Boy" (Dennis Busch), whose brute strength alone is fear-inspiring. Varla and her sidekicks suspect that the ranch-dwellers may have a fortune in cash and set about finding it and stealing it. They use their considerable sex appeal to seduce the younger ranch hands, but the bitter old man proves a far tougher nut to crack .
This film is typical Meyer the usual doses of perversity, nastiness and excessive cleavage are there for all to see, and it is put together with considerable skill. Meyer usually served as his own producer and editor on films, and in this one his editing is especially impressive. The film is shot in black and white, but still manages some startling imagery, notably Santana's crunching slaying of Barlow early in the film, expertly framed against the dusky desert wilderness. The script is less impressive, with an almost adolescent, single-minded reliance on flesh and brutality that is taken to and beyond the extreme. Sometimes you might find yourself asking what the hell you're watching, especially as the film enters its deranged final section. You might even find yourself fearing for Meyer's mental well-being, for it does indeed take a pretty perverted imagination to come up with a story as twisted as this one. Generally-speaking the performances are rather amateurish, although Santana makes an unforgettable impression through sheer lip-smacking relish (as well as her extraordinary cleavage) in her role as the most sadistic femme fatale ever seen on film. If you're interested in cult movies, then Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is an absolute must-see . indeed, only when you've seen it can you consider yourself a genuine authority on the subject of cult films.
All men are boobs. All women have two. Other than that, Russ Meyers didn't bring much to this picture. But then he never did. Meyers never created movies. His focus was shock. Find something weird; surround it with anything. In this movie, Meyers takes four well-endowed females and makes them mean. Well, one is stupid and likes to cry and run away. The other three are mean for no reason to everybody. Even when they are trying to trick people, they are mean. The bodies look great. The faces are hard. The minds are psychotic. Most comments go overboard about how beautiful these women are, but in truth, if you saw these women on the street, they should send you running. Even the stupid one looks psycho enough to make you hide the steak knives before you go to sleep. Meyers successfully ensures that the plot does not get in the way of the action. Great movie if you like angry women with large breasts, loser men who deserve to die and a gas station attendant who must be the crazy uncle of Goober and Gomer Pyle.
Woo-hoo! For as long as I showed interest for eccentric cinema, I
anticipated this film. It has the coolest sounding title ever and the
posters couldn't look more ravishing. Unfortunately, the Russ Meyer
collection is pretty hard to find where I'm from so it took me years to
finally purchase it. I own it now and I can say it fully lives up to my
expectations. It's a gorgeous film, and typically Meyer. That doesn't mean
it's a masterpiece but he has the talent to make words like `trash' sound
good. Faster Pussycat Kill kill handles about
not all that much, but
that's the beauty of it. Three beautiful exotic dancers (with the exact
right measurements) revolt against the masculine lifestyle and go out on a
rampage. Riding fast cars, provoke men and sweet similar stuff. Leader of
the pack is the gorgeous Varla (portrayed by the more than impressive Tura
Satana). She's one massive heap of estrogen who kills men with her bare
hands and enjoys riding over people with her car. Her two accomplices have a
tad bit more humanity in them. They're Lori Williams (a gorgeous looking
blond girl) and Haji (her accent alone causes chemical reactions inside a
man's body). The lovely threesome ends up among rednecks in a farmhouse,
somewhere in the middle of a desert. Meyer's style is a joy for all senses!
The film is filled with memorable quote material and the screenplay is very
ingenious at times. The male weirdoes in the farmhouse actually pre-date
Tobe Hooper's Sawyer family with almost a decade!
Faster Pussycat! Kill Kill has pretty much in common with Motor Psycho, a
film shot by Meyer in the same year. There's a main villain, ultra-insane
and prepared to go all the way while his followers merely fear him, rather
than support him. So basically
this IS Motor Psycho
but with boobs!! Hey,
I'm all for feminism so let's hear it for FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL KILL!
Russ Meyer's 1965 cult classic "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" has all
of the earmarks of 60's kitsch, but comes at you with such no holds
barred gusto as to allow it a place all its own. It would be hard to
refer to it as "the kind of film that" or "it's like this or that",
because it truthfully stands alone. If anything, most of the
relationships this film has to anything else have been forged with the
pop culture it inspired.
Given it really has one at all the film's plot revolves around a trio of tough women who are go-go dancers by night and wickedly violent speed demons by day. During one afternoon in the middle of the desert they encounter a young couple. Ultimately, one of the women kills the man, kidnaps the young woman, and attempts to use her as bait for a dirty old man and his sons.
There's little rhyme or reason to most of what happens, except as an amped up display of well-endowed, sexually engaging women and raw, in your face violence. This highly lauded film among the art house and drive-in set is great, juvenile fun, with some exceedingly memorable, albeit corny, dialogue.
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.
There are certain movies that can be completely enjoyed against your better judgment. Most Ed Wood films, the occasional Michael Bay film and virtually all Russ Meyer films. I mean they are films that deal with angry women with big breasts killing or maiming men. Even though they were ahead of their time (think Kill Bill, Alien or the Terminator before women really became hard in films) they are really exploitation films of breasts and violence. Some may say the perfect films. The dialogue is also legendary, it's somewhere between the insane, "Welcome to violence" and the so corny it hurts, "Here Rosie baby, pop the top before you blow your own!". Somehow Meyer still constructs a movie that although terrible bad in almost every way (the editing is quite good), is a classic in the way that only the truly worst can be. Enjoyable down to the last bad fight scene. I'll never race three strippers in the desert in the same way again.
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.
*** 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.
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