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Faster, Pussycat!

Kill! Kill!

a/k/a The Man-Killers

a/k/a The Leather Girls

     "I never try anything. I just do it. Wanna try me?"

-- Varla     




Gonzoid Cinema




Whoa! Which Gidget

movie is this?


Watch it!



Sights &
Kill! Kill!

Bigger is
More Legs.
More Hips.
More Breasts.
More Meyer.

The Immoral Mr. Teas



Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Motor Psycho




Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens

When our film begins and the screen goes all Outer Limits on us to a spaz-jazz beat, the narrator chimes in and says, "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to violence...", we, as a viewer, already know we're in for something truly special.

As the narrator continues to talk about violence, focusing on its newest manifestation hidden under the soft curves and contours of the female body, we're introduced to three of those heavenly boobies -- BODIES!: Varla (Turu Santana), Rosie (Hadji) and Billie (Lori Williams), go-go dancing for several lecherous customers at some dive along the strip. When this trio isn't performing on stage, however, they're out on the back highways of the desert, hot-rodding around in their little sport coupes. Varla is clearly the leader of this bunch -- and clearly off her nut, but the others aren't really all that stable either; evidenced when Billie veers off course and jumps into a convenient body of water. Varla sends Rosie in after her, and, in quick short order, we have our first no-holds barred cat-fight -- first in the water, and then on the beach -- in less than five minutes.

Moving on to the flats, Varla challenges a displaced beachnik (Ray Barlow) to a drag-race. And while Rosie, Billie, and Tommy's bikinied and bubble-headed girlfriend, Linda (Susan Bernard), watch, the race commences. But the only way Varla can win is to cheat, and cheat she does, nearly getting Tommy killed. Things turn ugly, Varla and Tommy fight, but Varla proves more than a match for him with her karate skills. (HI-keeba!) As the fight escalates, Varla loses her temper and winds up breaking Tommy's back, killing him.

Obviously, the beach-bunny kinda freaks out about this development, but she's quickly subdued. Truth told, Billie and Rosie aren't too thrilled with this either, especially when Varla reminds them they're both stuck as accessories to murder. Keeping Linda doped up, they head further into the desert, unsure of what to do. After stopping for gas, the treacherous trio spot a huge piece of "butt-steak" carrying an old invalid around. And thanks to a plot-specific gas station attendant, they find out the old man is a crazed hermit who's hoarding a small fortune with his two sons, keeping it hidden away on a secluded ranch nearby...

At long last 3B Theater turns its beer-goggles on the wild and wacky world of sexploitation pioneer Russ Meyer. Of course, when any cinephile talks about Meyer, the conversation almost always veers toward the director’s obsession with a certain female character trait -- both of them, and to Meyer, the bigger those [*ahem*] character traits [plural] were, the better. Anyhoo...

Meyer honed his craft on two fronts, first as a combat cameraman who waded on shore with the 29th Infantry on D-Day, and second, as a centerfold photographer for Playboy magazine. And when you distill his films down to there very essence, that’s what you wind up with: full frontal nudity and protracted violence -- usually intertwined in a bizarre but always equally entertaining fashion. A quadruple threat, Meyer served as writer, director, producer and distributor for his naughty opuses to well-rounded hips, ample cleavage, and big breasted women who could kick the living crap out of you, with the titles usually summing them up rather succinctly: Vixen, Super-Vixens and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens -- I’m sensing a pattern here.

A genius to some, a dirty old man to others, Meyer’s work has to be seen to be truly believed and appreciated -- or disavowed. And that used to be the problem: actually seeing the man’s films was next to impossible until his recent death in 2004. The one notable exception was one of the few movies he made for a big studio, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, scripted by none other than uber-critic Roger Ebert, who also penned Up! and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens for Meyer under the pseudonym, R. Hyde. Beyond that, Meyer controlled his catalogue, so if you wanted a copy of Mud-Honey or Mondo-Topless, you had to get it through him -- and shell out a lot of scratch if you wanted to see them. Now, most of his oeuvre is finally out on DVD via the -- what else -- Bosomania Collection, but still carry a hefty price tag of around $35 a pop. Groundbreaking and risqué when they were first released in the 1960s, they all have been tempered a lot by what has followed in their wake and could almost be considered camp.

So are they worth it? Well, I can definitely say that Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is. Probably Meyer’s best known film -- if by title only -- and oddly enough, his cleanest, the film can be interpreted in a lot of ways: a caper movie with a feminine twist, or perhaps an ode to the violence that’s inherent in all of us; but I personally like to think of it as a Beach Party movie gone horribly, horribly wrong as our fugitive trio tail the old man's pick-up back to that secluded homestead.

Once there, they plot to get the money so they can skip off to Mexico and escape the murder rap -- leaving Linda to die somewhere in the desert along the way. And after Varla quickly concocts a story to explain away why Linda is tied up, saying the girl is a runaway that they're being paid to bring back quietly, she sets to work to find that money anyway she can.

The women try to seduce it out of them first, but the old man (Stuart Lancaster) is wheel-chair bound and seems pretty bitter about it -- and he's about as far off his nut as Varla. The butt-steak is named Vegetable (Dennis Busch) and is about as bright as that name would imply. The second son, Kirk (Paul Trinka), is -- well, he's the sensitive one, I guess. And while the girls try to divide and conquer, the viewer is then subjugated to more go-go dancing, viscous vamping, less than subtle seductions, and treachery on all fronts with in-fighting, out-fighting, and dialogue that was written by -- I swear to freakin' god -- a Martian or an escaped mental patient ... Between the old man's political rants, his views on women's lib, and his lecherous attitude toward Linda -- who manages to escape several times only to be recaptured -- Varla quickly concludes that the vamping isn't going to work. And as both sides conspire to kill each other, both sides also suffer defections. Seems Kirk believes that the terrified Linda is telling the real truth and promises to help her get away for good, while Billie tries to wash her hands of the whole thing, which gets her knifed in the back by Varla. This sets off the climax as the brutish Vegetable, who had a thing for Billie, kills Rosie, who secretly had a thing for Varla, and then goes after Varla in retaliation for Billie.

One step ahead of him, Varla makes it to her car, runs the old man over first -- revealing the money had been hidden in his wheelchair, and then pins Vegetable against a building. Amazingly, Vegetable holds the car at bay for awhile, but Varla keeps on gunning the engine until the vehicle crushes him. Gathering up the money, Varla heads off into the desert to track Kirk and Linda down, who are fleeing on foot, to finish eliminating all the witnesses. Will the ineffectual Kirk be able to stop Varla? I doubt it. Or will Linda finally grow a pair and defend herself? Now that'd be interesting.

All those answers can be found in the slam-bang conclusion of this truly gonzorific movie.

The End (Sort of).

Merry @#*%ing Christmas. Hope yours was good. Mine sucked. Had to work the whole damn weekend, so I spent it alone with just me, Ebenezer Screwed, a large bottle of schnapps, and a beat up copy of It's A Wonderful Life. Well, got about a half hour into that, and about a third of the way through the bottle, when I said "Screw this" and watched Strip Nude for Your Killer and Faster, Pussycat! instead, finishing off the bottle during the process. So all apologies to George Bailey -- I just wasn't in the mood, but I digress...

Wow! What a fantastic, weird, sexy and oddball movie.

And you wanna know the strangest thing I got from this movie? The vibes were there when the women first track down the old hermit to his ranch, which is nothing but a bunch of dilapidated old buildings and littered with several husks of rusted out cars, that we were veering into Texas Chainsaw Massacre territory, here. This whole thing is confirmed later during a bizarre dinner sequence that looks and feels eerily familiar.

The correlations are there. Linda isn't all that far off from Sally, and Vegetable to Leatherface isn't that far of a stretch. We're definitely talking the same genus and species here, and were just a couple of evolutionary steps back (-- or forward?) from the Sawyers. Here, though, it's completely sexual: the hermit and his brood are only interested in raping and killing the women, while the later film's family is more of a culinary enterprise. Has anyone else noticed this? Or am I completely off my nut?

The whole thing could almost be considered satire, but all of that is secondary to Meyer’s true purpose -- showing off his leading ladies attributes, and he shows them off quite beautifully. Teaming up with cinematographer Walter Schenk, once you get past the subject matter, their set-ups and frame composition is quite striking, and, dare I say, empowering and complimentary to Meyer's starlets who weren’t necessarily hired for their acting ability. (I mean, What the hell was the deal with Hadji's accent?)

His women aren't necessarily traditional beauties, but are stunning in their appearance -- strong and tough, with every feature that makes them a woman -- breasts, hips, waists and legs -- amped upped to the Nth degree. Lori Williams' hips are the true inspiration of the female lead in that piece 'o crap novel I've been trying to write for almost three years now, but I still haven't been able to capture the true essence of them in the written word, so I won't try here, either.

I’d personally wanted to see Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! since I read about it in Danny Peary’s Cult Movies: Volume 3 back when I was about fourteen years old. Now -- almost twenty years later -- that dream has finally been fulfilled. I’ve always said expectations be a harsh mistress seldom satisfied, but this movie delivered the goods on so many levels that it achieves to something far greater than it’s schlocky trappings. And in the end, almost everybody dies, concluding what could quite possibly be the greatest movie ever made.

I’m serious.

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) Eve Productions / P: Russ Meyer, Eve Meyer / AP: George Costello, Fred Owens / D: Russ Meyer / W: Jack Moran, Russ Meyer / C: Walter Schenk / E: Russ Meyer / M: Igo Kantor / S: Tura Satana, Haji, Lori Williams, Susan Bernard, Stuart Lancaster, Paul Trinka, Dennis Busch

Originally Posted: 12/25/05 :: Rehashed: 04/20/09

Knuckled-out by Chad Plambeck: misspeller of words, butcher of all things grammatical, and king of the run on sentence. Copy and paste at your own legal risk. Questions? Comments? Shoot us an e-mail.
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