What It’s About: Three Go-Go dancers, Varla (Tura Santana), Rosie (Haji), and Billie (Lori Williams) head out to the desert for kicks, playing chicken in their sweet sports cars. When square Tommy (Ray Barlow) and Linda (Sue Bernard) show up to do time trials, Varla challenges Tommy to race, then karates him to death. The trio takes Linda hostage, but need gas to get out of the desert. The attendant tells them he’s out-but that they might get some from an old man (Stuart Lancaster) who lives nearby with his two sons, Kirk (Paul Trinka), who wants out, and The Vegetable (Dennis Busch), blessed with a strong body but, as his name suggests, little upstairs. When the girls get an idea that the Old Man is loaded, they hatch a plot to find out where the money is and take it; but then he (and his sons) have plans of their own…
Why Watch it Today?: Russ Meyer, who directed, co-wrote and co-produced, and edited today’s film, was born on today’s date in 1922. Meyer more or less invented the so-called “Nudie Cutie”, an advance that moved pornography from Nudist films (which got away with existing by claiming to merely document what goes on in Nudist colonies) to a form you can still see in soft-core: relatively harmless nudity paired with terrible, stale jokes. Meyer later moved into turgid melodrama’s that combined some action/violence with the nudity, and, with today’s film, he made a bid to make a picture that, while still selling sex and violence, didn’t include any actual nudity. Meyer briefly enjoyed cred in the art house scene, as his films can be seen as delightfully campy and over-the-top commentary on the state of gender relations and the battle of the sexes, but sometime between here and his films made in the 1970s it became apparent that he wasn’t entirely in on the joke (it probably didn’t help that the he also seemed to be a one trick pony, and, on the pornography side of things, he was rapidly displaced by hardcore pornography, which went much farther than his films would or could). In any case, Faster, Pussycat, Kill! Kill! remains Meyer’s biggest hit and most treasured cult film, with its Go-Go dancing “Superwomen” squaring off against old school masculinity in a brutal battle to the finish.
The absolutely amazing trailer:
One of the great American films. Second only to Beyond the Valley of the Dolls among Meyer’s masterpieces.
I think I actually am starting to like this MORE than Beyond, I think because it’s a bit shorter and more focused (even if Beyond is filled with delights).