Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things: I watch ’em, so you don’t have to

Denez McAdoo

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!1965director – Russ Meyer”Filmed in Glorious Black and Blue”83 min. – unrated

“Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to violence” and – BLAM – Russ Meyer’s immortal cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Is off to a blazing start that continues throughout the film; the action refusing to let up not until the very last pathetic she-man is karate chopped straight to hell.

Fans of sass-mouthed dominating ultra vixens pummeling the hemoglobin out of every member of the male species who get in their way, take note: Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’s trio of big and beautiful woman serve as the film’s intimidating, take-no-prisoners anti-heroes. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, is one of the earliest films to put females in such an aggressive lead role; though whether or not this is a positive role is open to debate. Rosie, the slender, dark haired quiet type, has an impossibly thick Italian accent and some subtle suggestive lesbian tendencies. Billie, the blond haired free spirit, seems to have an inability to refrain from performing her hip shaking go-go dance routine, with or without music playing. She also maintains a painfully dated teenage hipster double speak rife with double, and sometimes triple, entendres. Then there is the obvious show stealing performance from Tura Santana as Varla, the black-hearted leader of this gang of lawless thrill seekers. Varla is characterized by both her jet-black Bettie Page-esque bangs and, despite all the action taking place in a blistering Midwestern desert, her all black knee high boots and skin tight outfit with a bust line that plunges so deep it would make Tara Reed blush. Varla is a hot-tempered temptress who speaks almost exclusively in snappy, mean-spirited comebacks and put-downs.

Filled to capacity with racing fuel and sex appeal, these untamable wild women get their kicks off dancing in the clubs by night and driving fast sports cars by day. They each have individual Porches and while cruising through the desert looking for some action, they come across an innocent young couple, Linda and Tommy, who are timing the performance on their sports vehicle. The three pussycats challenge Tommy to a race in an attempt to embarrass him in front of his girlfriend. They race, Tommy looses, one thing leads to another, and all of sudden Tommy is getting strong armed by the gang of sadistic females. Tommy snidely asks Varla, “Are you trying to say something?” Bad move, tough guy; Varla snaps back, “I don’t try anything, I just do it!” before burying him in a pile of karate chops and finally snapping his pencil neck like a twig. Left with Tommy’s teary-eyed girlfriend, the gang decides to gag her, kidnap her, and take her along for the ride.

When they stop for gas, the slack-jawed yokel gas attendant suffers from a case of wandering eyes as he makes small talk with Varla about traveling. “That’s what I believe in – seein’ America first” Not letting anything get past her, Varla puts him in his place shouting, “You won’t find it down there, Columbus!” They eventually learn of an old wheelchair bound man who hates woman but loves his money. They pay him and his two sons a visit to ask if they can borrow some water. Not always used to a car load of four scantily clad young ladies driving up to his ranch, he makes a keen observation on the state of current affairs, “They let ’em vote, smoke, and drive – even put ’em in pants. So what do you get? A Democrat for president.” Well, he ends up getting his ass run over.

Director Russ Meyer had already made a well-established career in tasteful glamour photography before moving on to the somewhat less tasteful world of sexploitation, eventually becoming one of the better known photographers for Playboy magazine. Though there is no nudity in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Meyer’s experience in a similar medium means that the lighting and photography that make up the film’s overall cinematography is of exceptionally high quality, especially for this genre. This also means that he knows a thing or two about where to place the camera to get the most alluring angles of his actors and actresses. A true classic well deserving of its hype. I give it three thumbs up.