FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!(director/writer: Russ Meyer; screenwriters: Jack Moran/from a story by Russ Meyer; cinematographer: Walter Schenk; editor: Russ Meyer; music: Paul Sawtell/Bert Shefter; cast: Tura Satana (Varla), Lori Williams (Billie), Haji (Rosie), Susan Bernard (Linda), Stuart Lancaster (The Old Man), Paul Trinka (Kirk), Dennis Busch (Vegetable), Ray Barlow (Tommy), Mickey Foxx (Attendant); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Eve Meyer/Russ Meyer; Strand Releasing; 1965)
“This one aimed for the unsophisticated drive-in market with its rich mixture of sex and violence, but served up no nudity or swearing.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Noted tit connoisseur Russ Meyer (“Vixen”/”Supervixen”/”Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens”) directs this low-budget trashy underground sexploitation film (some consider it an underground classic and underground sleazy filmmaker John Waters says “the best movie ever made.” I think a few films must have passed him by. “Pussycat” is based on Meyer’s story and coscripted by Jack Moran. Film critic Roger Ebert wrote the screenplay for Meyer’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1969), which should tell you something about Mr. Ebert’s taste in films. This one aimed for the unsophisticated drive-in market with its rich mixture of sex and violence, but served up no nudity or swearing. That might be the reason it bombed at the box office, disappointing Meyer’s horny fan base who apparently wanted more than just cleavage, gore and superwomen beating up wimpy guys. It has plenty of action and his usual busty chicks, who this time are a baddie trio of go-go dancers who take a drive in their two souped-up cars on their day off in the California desert. They are lesbian lovers Varla (Tura Satana, part-Apache, part-Japanese) and Rosie (Haji), and the sex crazed bored Billie (Lori Williams, Playboy Playmate). Varla is the snarling karate expert, tough talking leader of the pack, while Rosie is the obedient follower. Billie is just along for the ride and doesn’t seem to have the same evil agenda as the other two, she just can’t stop go-go dancing even on her holiday and is just a hottie itching for some action.
The ludicrous plot involves the renegade trio meeting by accident in the desert the all-American nice guy racing car driver Tommy (Ray Barlow) and his most annoying naïve girlfriend Linda (Susan Bernard, first Jewish Playmate for Playboy), and challenging them to a “chicken race.” After the race Varla suckers Tommy into a fight and karate chops him to death by breaking his spine when she catches him off guard; they then kidnap Linda, leaving his body behind. At the gas station they learn from the moronic gas attendant that the old man in a wheelchair (Stuart Lancaster) has a lot of money stashed away on his premises he received in a settlement. Varla and her crew take the bound Linda out to the old man’s rundown farm house in the desert and plan to rob him. They tell the old man that they are bringing Linda back to her rich parents because she ran away with a racing driver, and are watching Linda so that she doesn’t escape. The old man turns out to be a demented lecher who lives with his dim-witted muscle-bound twentysomething son called only, without affection, by the name of Veggie (Dennis Busch). Soon Kirk (Paul Trinka), the old man’s other son, who appears to be normal and remains there only to look after his helpless brother, unwittingly brings Linda back to the farm after she escapes.
The scorching action in the desert includes an attempted rape, some gruesome killings and some of the dumbest dialogue imaginable. The brooding score and the sharp black and white photography help a bit in giving the film some legitimacy from the bad acting and overall stupidity of the project. But it’s all in good natured lowbrow fun. Its bloody action sequences had a big influence on later pop culture, especially in such splatter films as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Meyer avoids camp and shoots it straightforward, proving that he’s a true believer in big tits, in a juvenile sort of fetish way, and aims to give his type of undemanding viewer a number of kinky thrills. Many consider this one to be his masterpiece in schlock. Meyer, a former World War II combat newsreel cameraman and later a photographer for Playboy magazine, set the style for the soft-core porn films; they had no redeeming social value, but he found an audience and scores of filmmaker followers.
REVIEWED ON 10/26/2006 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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