Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)
What starts out as satirical and bubbles down into a psycho-melodrama may just be the film that changed how women appear on screen forever. "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" is probably Russ Meyer's best known work, but certainly not his most controversial. Since he never shied away from being bold on the screen, "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" is actually one of his tamer movies in comparison.
The movie begins with a man's narration telling us that females are weird creatures that will kill a man any chance they get. They are unpredictable and not to be trusted...and they are everywhere. These crazy women could be secretaries, wives, or go-go dancers.
Thus begins the film.
We trail three go-go dancers as they wreck havoc across the American west. They drive fast cars, wear skimpy clothing, and find pleasure in killing men.
These three are led by a supreme macho female named Varla (Tura Satana), she easily fits into the typically male role as the ring leader of the crew of misfit girls.
Then there's Rosie (Haji), a girl who doesn't really have a point in the movie. She's Varla's right handed man (or woman). Then there's Billie (Lori Williams), the typical dumb blonde.
We are given no reason for why the three women are driving recklessly across the the country or why they seem to find sadistic pleasure in torturing other people...there are just doing it for the sake of doing it.
Their driving brings them to an open plain where Varla demands a game a chicken from the other two girls. She drives towards their two cars and they speed towards hers. Both of them pull away before a collision—cue Varla's maniacal laughter.
But then, a cute couple happens upon them and the two people try to make small conversation with the three stripper-killers. Varla does the talking, though perhaps she shouldn't because she seems to always provoke a confrontation or offend someone in some awful way.
She challenges the guy to a race around the track, one that she cheats at and wins. The girl of the couple, who is always seen screaming or crying, dressed only in a vulnerable bikini, gets her stopwatch taken from her by Varla. When her fiance comes to protect her, Varla kills him by karate chopping him to death...yet, it's really that simple.
Now on the run from the authorities who may never find the body of the man they just killed, the three take the screaming boyfriend-less dame in tow and head out for who knows where.
They make a pit-stop at a gas station and hear about an old chauvinistic cripple who happens to have a pile of money sitting around—the gossip is that this hefty sum is in cash. Naturally, this interests Varla and the foursome now head out to an old ranch where they hope to find the green.
On the ranch is a trio of weird—the crippled father who seems to be seeking revenge on all angelic, innocent women; a son whose muscles bulge from beneath his tight shirts, but is an abused and tormented soul with a mental handicap; and another son who seems to have his mind wrapped around things—he sees the world for what it is, not through a filter like his relatives.
This other son is the only sane character in the film, maybe with the exception of Rosie (but I just see her as an accessory and not her own character).
What is the film saying? Is it saying that men are women? Women are men? It is satire? Is it nothing?
There does seem to be a deeper meaning to "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!"; but I don't really care what it is. The movie is entertaining enough to stand on its feet without analysis.
From the insanity, to the odd spurts of violence, "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" is a memorable movies if only for the over-the-top performances and the swingin' music.
Score: 3 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones