Saturday 29 April 2023

Movie Review: Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)

Genre: Exploitation Crime Thriller
Director: Russ Meyer
Starring: Tura Santana, Haji, Lori Williams, Susan Bernard, Stuart Lancaster
Running Time: 83 minutes

Synopsis: In the California desert, Varla (Tura Santana), Rosie (Haji), and Billie (Lori Williams) are go-go dancers, sports car enthusiasts, and thorny lovers. They tangle with car club racer Tommy and his girlfriend Linda (Susan Bernard), Varla unleashing her karate skills before kidnapping Linda. Acting on a tip from a gas station attendant, the dancers sneak into the ramshackle ranch of the wheelchair-bound lecherous Old Man (Stuart Lancaster) and his two grown sons. Varla will stop at nothing to steal the Old Man's hidden money, while Linda will seek any opportunity to escape.

What Works Well: The ultimate cult movie, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is as mad as its title. Working with a $45,000 budget, Russ Meyer delivers an unashamedly exploitive (cleavage obsessed but nudity-free) collision of sex and violence draped in feminism. A wickedly sharp script is laced with biting humour, nods to lesbianism and bisexuality, revving motors, and no shortage of single-minded evil intent and jarring violence. Tura Santana is a domineering presence, and is joined by Haji and Lori Williams to fashion an unforgettable trio. The desert setting provides a suitably nihilistic environment for malicious tendencies unleashed away from civilization. 

What Does Not Work As Well: Most of the acting barely rises above amateur levels.

Conclusion: This pussycat roars - and scratches.

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