“Pussycat she’s living reckless, pussycat she’s riding high. If you think that you can take her, well just you try”
Among the icons of cinema, there are few more ingrained in our minds without actually having seen them in action, than those of Russ Meyer, in particular, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. From a young age we know the title, we recognize Tura Satana in her black “Bettie Page” ‘do, yet have never seen the film. That is the power of imagery, the power of the perfect combination of elements. This is the film that had it all.
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! opens up in a strip club. Three girls, Varla (Tura Satana), Rosie ( Haji), and Billie (Lori Williams) work as Go-Go dancers and race hot-rods on their off hours. After one such post work race, they run across a goodie-two shoes and her steady, racing the clock in the desert. Unimpressed with the entire situation, Varla challenges him to a race an he accepts. Of course things don’t go as planed and a fight breaks out. Tough guy against dancer woman. No contest right? Not for Varla. She kills the guy, leaving his girlfriend a balling mess!
The dancers grab the girl and high tail it out, coming across a water pump where they decide to get a little wet! Sure, it happens all the time! Anyways, soon they run a foul of the pumps’ owner, a crotchety old man and his two sons, who may be sitting on a fortune. Varla makes up her mind they are gonna get that money and kill them all if they have to.
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is like no other film you’ve seen. There are many imitators, even in the day, but none of the match the power and style of this film. This film is solely about women in charge. They are running the show, killing men, and cooking up the dirty schemes. Not to say that this is the only Russ Meyer film to do that, but none of the others did it with such a perfect balance between the absurd and the real.
Tura Satana became an icon of genre films and car junkies for decades to come. People mimic her dress style, eyebrows, and attitude. She was the woman that everyone wanted. Well most everyone. I was a Billie kind of guy myself. She was sort of a harmless bad girl, more of two handfuls than anything truly dangerous. She was the contrast to Varla, who would kill and not blink twice. Then there was Haji. Almost as dangerous and certainly didn’t care anymore than Varla. The three of them could tear you apart, ask for seconds, and you would give it to them!
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! had everything you could want as a man. Hot cars, hotter woman, sexy talk, violence, action, fights, go-go dancing, hell, the list goes on! There will never be another like this one and that is both a comfort and a shame. This is a unique experience that should be watched again and again, preferably with a stiff drink or four. Woman will always possess fatle beauty…but never again will it run you off the road!