While we are at Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino (Planet Terror and Death Proof), here’s movie that influenced them greatly. This 1965 flick is filled with sex, violence and cheesy story twists. John Waters called it: beyond a doubt, the best movie ever made, with many other accolades following. However, the beginning was bumpy, with both critics and viewers hating the movie for its simplistic and highly sexual premise. This is an exploitation movie, actually a sexploitation movie to be more precise. This means that the movie is looking to “exploit” current and past trends to make money. Whether this is the fascination with Nazi Germany, sex, women, prisons, death or any other concept that can be manipulated and monetized, the choice is solely in the hands of the director. Russ Meyer, director of this movie is somewhat of a cult figure with his military style of filming and a lot of movies under his belt. He remained active for three decades, shooting his last movie Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens in 1979. Of course, he’s best known movie is Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
You might wonder why movies like this featuring extremely simplistic stories, bad acting and controversial topics like sex, nudity, rape and murder, became popular. Of course, the answer is obvious, these were not soft-core porn movies nor there were fully fledged movies, but something in between. This enabled them to fill the niche that was almost non-existent. The whole thing started back in the twenties, but the hippie revolution of the sixties along with availability of filming equipment and general acceptance of movies as both form of exploration and entertainment. These movies featured unrealistic visions of reality, warped in a way that allows the creators to use whatever topic they selected, whether it would be a killer motorcycle gang or lustful wives. This experimentation with the “official system of values” resonated well with newer generations and these movies gained cult status. You have to remember the times these people lived in, finally able to express themselves after two world wars and strong governmental hand. But, I digress, lets get back to the movie at hand.
Billie, Rosie, and Varla are three go-go dancers living their life to the fullest. They decided to do a bit of drag racing and after an unfortunate incident that left her boyfriend dead, they decide to kidnap his girlfriend Linda. Soon, they meet an elderly, disabled gentleman and his muscular but dumb son. Seeing easy money and cock, they approach them, much to the enjoyment of this dynamic duo…
In today’s age of fake tits, lips, asses and all the other body parts, this movie is such a refreshment. I have to admit that these raw and highly sensual shots of nudity are much more titillating and exhilarating than today’s porno or similar movies. Same as Coffy, an example of blaxploitation cinema. However, this is where things are starting to take a turn towards the unknown and soon enough you will be lost in a sea of symbolism. Defined by Sigmund Freud, some forty years earlier, the psychoanalysis is now in full swing and is being used by politician and corporations for money and power. Freud uncovered hidden parts of human psyche, hidden only by the ruling class, perhaps not of ignorance, but of fear and ease to control the masses. If you use Freud’s methods to unravel what the fuck is going on in this movie, strange things start to happen. Even Roger Ebert, famous film critic, who actually worked with Russ on a couple of movies takes note of this: “Meyer’s extraordinary women are of course fascinating to those with breast fetishes, but look a little longer and you will notice that the breasts are not always presented as centers of desire. Instead, they’re weapons used to intimidate men. Tura Satana, who plays the lead in “Faster, Pussycat,” is extraordinary in appearance: Her makeup, with its slashes of Kabuki-style eyebrows, looks terrifying. Her black costume seems suited to a motorcycle gang. She never smiles. And her abundant cleavage seems as firmly locked in place as a Ninja Turtle’s breastplate. One cannot think of her as fondleable.”
If you add male power, death and sexual drives to the whole thing, what appears before your mind is something truly original. A documentary of human behavior and desires, unfettered by external forces. At the end, a friendly warning, do not fast forward the movie to see another cool scene, it’s much more fun to use the idling for deep reflection and psychoanalysis.
Director: Russ Meyer
Cast: Tura Satana, Haji, Lori Williams, Sue Bernard, Stuart Lancaster, Paul Trinka
Fun Facts: In 1992, the heavy metal band White Zombie memorialized this film with the song “Thunder Kiss ’65.”