Monday, August 6, 2012

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!; action crime, USA, 1965; D: Russ Meyer, S: Tura Satana, Haji, Lori Williams, Susan Bernard, Stuart Lancester

Three strippers - Billie, Rosie and their leader, the busty Varla - enjoy driving their race cars across the Mojave desert. Upon stumbling upon a young couple and getting into an argument with them, Varla kills a guy and takes his girlfriend, Linda hostage. The four of them arrive at an isolated shack where and old man is supposedly hiding a huge sum of money, so Varla proceeds to seduce one of his two sons. When Linda escapes, Varla kills Billie, the old man and his son. She catches up on the other son and wants to kill him, but he saved when Linda runs her over with a car.

Sometimes only one role in a movie is needed for an actor or an actress to forever stay remembered in the world of cinema. Such was the case with Tura Luna Yamaguchi, aka Tura Satana, who performed as a never before seen female gang leader, Varla, in the cult independent  "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill", the only good film by director Russ Meyer - that was even proclaimed as "the best film ever made" by J. Waters. Always giving the leading female role to an actress with large breasts, Meyer cast her in the film, but unlike other weak-passive beauties in his filmography, Satana didn't just add a strong cleavage to the story, but also a very strong, deliciously feisty persona and humor, a seal of authenticity and uniqueness, outgrowing the director's thin outline of the plot and practically advancing into a super-woman, which is why at times the film almost seems like 'sophisticated-trash' at moments.

It is a pity that she is a villain, but she is strong and almost indestructible, a woman who beats up men (unlike some Meyer films where vice-verca is the case) and can only be stopped in the finale by another woman (!), giving it enough food for a discussion that it is a rare forerunner to feminist cinema. Some of her comical lines are truly hilarious - when Rosie nervously waves her lighter in front of her face to ignite her cigarette, Varla says: "Easy baby, you're almost a fire hazard!"; after an argument (without any reason) with Tommy, where she slaps his fist, he says: "You got a weird sense of humor!", upon which she replies without losing a beat with: "Try again, I get even funnier!"; when Linda runs away from the old man, Varla is pissed. The old man says: "What did I do? I am just an old man bound to this wheelchair", and Varla gives a typically cynical line: "You ought to be nailed to it!" - which gives these characters charm even when their actions and motivations do not make any sense. The ending is stupid (everybody surely secretly rooted for Varla to swim at the top) yet the movie simply got so much out of Satana than many more famous A-list actresses in far better conceived films. One of the best examples of 'guilty pleasure'.


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