Friday, November 13, 2009

Rare Flix: Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Russ Meyer is not a household name, but he is well-known to film buffs. He was known for two things: boobs. The major focus of his films were always very skinny women with very large boobs, plain and simple. He once quoted as saying that his personal favorite actress to work with would have been Dolly Parton. Another fun fact about him is that he allegedly would hire women in their first trimester of pregnancy due to the effect that it had on them in one particular region. I give you all of this setup to one of his most famous films. Oddly, it does not have a major Region 1 DVD release. It is a bizarre film that I only managed to catch one Sunday night on TCM- yes, that TCM. This is...
There is almost no actual plot to this movie, so bear with me once again. Basically, a bunch of 'bad girls' are out in the desert doing some drag racing. This goes on for a while, complete with lingering shots of the woman's asses and cleavage, until a young couple shows up to join the fun. The man does very well, which does not make the women happy. The one who is especially unhappy is their leader, who looks like Elvira's cousin. She has her cleavage practically squeezed up to her chin and some super-tight pants. I could also wonder why she dresses in all-black in the desert, but that would be putting too much sense into a Russ Meyer film. To show her displeasure, she gets in a fight with the man and kills him! This shocks her friends, but not enough to really do anything about it. Since they are guilty of murder, they do the only logical thing: add to their charges by committing kidnapping as well! Of course! Even in black & white, the movie is full of sharp imagery. The visual of the young woman riding in a drag racer tied up and wearing a bikini top is a true Russ Meyer one.
After a bit of a drive, the women come across a tiny house and a water pump. They proceed to use the latter without considering whether or not someone is in the former. The house actually is occupied by a small family consisting of a devious old man, a buff young one and a weird one. Right away, we can tell that they are keeping a secret. They take the arrival of buxom young women in a racing car pretty well, despite the fact that one of them acts like a kidnapping victim the whole time. Subtlety is not the mark of Russ Meyer. Our women plan to get whatever valuables that the men are hiding, while the men plan to blackmail the women when they find out what crime they have committed. Ah, a movie full of bad, unlikable characters- lovely. Our poor kidnap victim pretty much just pouts and looks sad. Evidently, she went to the Night of the Living Dead School of Female Acting. 'No, don't show any emotion! That's right- just freeze up. Perfect!' Both of our groups scheme, and they even scheme against each other! Elvira's cousin has to deal with one of her henchwomen that wants to be in charge. You know what that means- cat fight!
Unfortunately, Russ was not all that good at ending a movie. The film pretty much just limps to its ending, which is surprisingly up-beat given how everyone save for one girl is pretty much deceitful, creepy or dead. Mind you, I was watching the film at about 3am, so my memories may not be 100% perfect. Given how rare prints of this movie are, there is not much I can do about that. Ah well, much cleavage was bared and intentionally-stilted dialogue was delivered. All in a day's work for Russ Meyer. The End.
The movie is not terrible, but it is definitely not for everyone. The characters are almost all unlikable, the acting is either wooden or over-done and the story is about as thin as the stars' waistlines. Now, all that said, getting your hands on a copy of this is still worth it. Russ Meyer films are always interesting, even if they are not good in most senses of the word. The film simply has a feel that is all its own. Take that for what you will. I will defer to Quentin Tarantino on this one. The story goes that while collaborating with Robert Rodriguez on a project, he mentioned this film and Robert looked at him confused. This prompted him to pop out his 16mm copy of the movie (of course, he has one) and play it for him on his projector. If I ever get my own, I would do the same thing.
Next up, the film that a certain man named 'Carl' is too afraid to see. Don't worry- I bit the bullet for you...and boy is it stinky. Stay tuned...


  1. This is one of my favorite films. And Russ Meyer isn't unknown at all, except in his home country. Ironically. In Germany FPKK is regularly shown in "oldie cinemas". Do they have them in America? I never saw anything like that when I lived in America. Nevertheless, in "Dawson's Creek" Russ Meyer's name is mentioned occasionally. Maybe because Dawson is a film buff. Oh, and a friend of mine from Hong Kong told me that a cinema there recently had a "Russ Meyer season". Cool. And to top it all off: an article in Empire Magazine (England's best film magazine) called FPKK one of the most important films ever made. It was the impetus for the decades of films that followed it portraying strong women.

  2. Meyer is not unknown. I would never say that.

    He is, however, a name that not EVERYONE knows. Many may know the name or one film, but not know a lot about the man himself.

    His fame, in general, is among select circuits- i.e. the ones you mentioned.

    As for 'oldie cinemas,' we have some drive-ins (a couple) and some theaters that show older films. There's one near my house that plays stuff like 'Young Frankenstein' or 'Vertigo' on the weekends.