Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)

Genre: Crime Drama Running Time: 1 hr. 23 min.

Release Date: August 6th, 1965 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Russ Meyer Actors: Tura Satana, Haji, Lori Williams, Ray Barlow, Susan Bernard, Mickey Foxx, Dennis Busch, Stuart Lancaster

 


 

“W

elcome to Violence,” begins the peculiarly titled “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” as it both warns and entices audiences about the coming footage. Three dancers in a go-go club strut their stuff to howling onlookers before hitting the road in speedy little cars and stopping at a lake. When blonde Billie (Lori Williams) goes for a swim, menacing ringleader Varla (Tura Satana) orders raven-haired Rosie (Haji) to drag her back onto the beach, where they proceed to have a tussle in the sand. This is just before they decide to play a game of chicken on the strip of flat land nearby.

Soon, Tommy (Ray Barlow) and Linda (Susan Bernard), a young couple in an equally fast vehicle, drive up to the threesome to start racing. Tommy claims he has nothing to prove, but nonetheless engages in reckless careening around the desert track to fend off Varla’s taunting. Even though he spins out of control in defeat, Varla begins bullying Linda until Tommy attempts to come to her rescue – only to be viciously assaulted and murdered right there in the dirt. The girls proceed to kidnap Linda and continue on down the road until, at a gas station, they hear of a rich, reclusive cripple (Stuart Lancaster), watched over by a hulking vegetable (Dennis Busch), who might provide them with further demoniac, anarchic entertainment.

The soundtrack is louder than anything else in the film, blaring ceaselessly over the dialogue to an annoying degree. Jack Moran’s screenplay tries to instill the hard-edged repartee of film noir, but none of it is convincingly delivered or appropriately utilized. And most of it is simply recited (or shouted), losing the appeal of cynical wordplay. The sound effects must also compete, with all three elements alternately losing out to one another. Regardless of the momentary winner, this constant struggle only distracts from the imagery. And there’s really not much of a story to balance things out, so the purpose becomes merely the tease of engorged breasts and bared midriffs, as the curvaceous women steadily turn more and more disorderly.

This is the kind of low-budget production in which the girls sit inside a clearly motionless vehicle and frantically twist the wheel back and forth to drive in a straight line. Low camera angles stare up at cantilevering bosoms or gaze from the rear as shapely bottoms jiggle. And Varla and Billie take an opportunity to gratuitously bathe – though they reveal little. Plenty of anticipation builds as the three deadly women frequent the lecherous old man’s property and eventually join him and his two sons for a midday feast. But the payoff is moderate at best, despite the fact that every character is entirely deserving of an untimely, frenzied demise.

The personas are all inexplicably strange. Varla frequently laughs like a maniac, clearly relishing in her abusive, hostile demeanor. She also yells all of her dialogue; not just some of it, but every single word. One of the only interesting ideas arrives when the hysterical Linda temporarily escapes her captives, only to run straight into the arms of brother Kirk (Paul Trinka), who takes her back to his father’s ranch. It’s a moderately scary concept that would be used exponentially more efficiently in “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” years later. “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” is a bizarrely campy film that could (and would) serve as inspiration for other filmmakers (most notably Quentin Tarantino) more than it can succeed as entertainment by itself. As an exploitation cult classic, it includes sex, violence, and fast cars, but it’s unforgivably devoid of actual nudity, bloodshed, and impressive wreckage (though a vehicular manslaughter is relatively thrilling), like “Death Race 2000” would demonstrate to a better, more polished degree a decade after.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10