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USA 1966
Directed by
Russ Meyer
83 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Synopsis: A trio of bad-ass go-go dancers with tits like torpedoes go on a rampage through some dustbowl landscape laying waste to whoever tangles with them

Before Thelma & Louise, before Baise Moi, there was Russ Meyer's Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. His most famous (thanks to John Waters who touted it as a masterpiece and Meyer as "the Eisenstein of sex films") effort in a big-busted body of work, it is built around three characters, Varla (Tura Satana), a tough-talking black-clad dominatrix, Billy (Lori Williams), also tough but to Varla troublesomely independent and Rosie (Meyer regular, Haji) who has repressd lesbian desires for Varla and is therefore suitably compliant with the sociopathic impulses of her mistress.

As stated in the B-grade babble of its opening section, the film purports to be a portrait of the nexus between sex and violence, in particular as it is embodied in the seductive form of Woman. This thesis is expounded as scantily-clad female dancers gyrate frenetically to an audience of leering males in a sequence which would be well worthy of expressionist cinema. After this impressive opener, the film settles down to a more conventional narrative. Well sort of. First in a mood and character-setting sequence our top-heavy gals race their sports cars and Billy and Rosie have a wrestle on Varla's orders. Then when Mr Handsome and his girlfriend roll up the story proper starts. Varla picks a fight with him, kills him with her killer karate chops and they high-tail it with the girlfriend in tow. Before long they encounter an old cripple (Stu Lancaster) and his two sons and the story finds its resolution on their run-down property.

Whilst at times the plot development is little more than expedient, the film is surprisingly well made, with dynamic staging, dramatic editing and striking photography by Walter Schenck, giving some credence to Waters' claim. And as much as this film may be classified as sexploitational cinema along with the rest of Meyer's dubious oeuvre, there is very little of a salacious nature here, the women, with the exception of the supine girlfriend (played by Playboy bunny, Susan Bernard, being more threatening than titillating. And probably best of all, the screenplay by Jack Moran from Meyer's original story is also at times very funny. For instance when a gas station attendant checks out Varla's cleavage as he waxes on about the importance on seeing the world, she cuts him off with a savage, "You won't see much of it lookin' there, Columbus!" and when the gals roll up at the old man's farm he enquires "You girls a bunch of nudists or are you just short of clothes?"

A died-in-the-wool trash classic, the film has acquired iconic status with the title song, Faster Pussycat, by The Bostweeds, being covered by The Cramps.




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