Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #470
Number of Views: Two
Release Date: 6 August 1965
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 83 minutes
Director: Russ Meyer
Producers: Russ Meyer, Eve Meyer
Screenplay: Jack Moran, Russ Meyer
Cinematography: Walter Schenk
Score: Paul Sawtell, Bert Shefter
Editing: Russ Meyer
Studio: Eve Productions
Distributor: RM Films International, Eve Productions
Stars: Tura Satana, Haji, Lori Williams, Susan Bernard, Ray Barlow, Michael Finn, Dennis Busch, Stuart Lancaster, Paul Trinka, John Furlong (Narrator)
Suggested Audio Candy
 The Bostweeds “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!”
 The Cramps “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Remix)”
It’s hard to recall the precise moment when I discovered my penis. I mean, I knew I had one and pissed through it at least twice daily, but I hadn’t yet learned of my special purpose. Nowadays we know of this by the time we make our first profit from the tooth fairy but back then sexual ambiguity reined with an iron fist. As far as I can recall, my voyage of self discovery coincided with my first Russ Meyer movie. This is not that movie. The film in question was the majestic Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens and within hours I followed it up with Up! My Johnson thought it logical. Astonishingly, despite my adoration for Meyer’s many works, I still hadn’t watched the film which spearheaded his three-pronged cinematic attack in 1965, Faster Pussycat… Kill! Kill! until far too recently. Yes, I hang my head in shame.
Superwomen! Belted, buckled and booted!
I’ve actually got Quentin Tarantino to thank for helping me see the error in my ways. His Death Proof half of the Grindhouse double-bill paid homage to all manner of exploitation movies from the sixties and seventies and featured a gaggle of badassed hot mammas who knew their way around a carburetor. It got me to thinking. How can a film that Quentin loves more than warm milk and cookies not be the coolest thing ever? Moreover, how can a film that Quentin loves more than warm milk and cookies that bears the mantle Faster Pussycat… Kill! Kill! not be the coolest thing ever? Come to think of it, how can a film that Quentin loves more than warm milk and cookies that bears the mantle Faster Pussycat… Kill! Kill! and is directed by the great Meyer not be the coolest thing ever? I promptly slapped myself upside the head and pressed play fifty years tardy (although I can’t account for the first ten).
Straight from the offset, I had to readjust my bar of expectation. This is pre-seventies Meyer so that means no tits. That is not to say no titillation, there’s enough of that to have you one sock down no qualms. But they’re only allowed to jingle. It’s the ultimate downer, particular when watching a flick by the undisputed Fellini of the Sex Industry but it does possess badass chicks and big shiny automobiles with fenders just aching to get bent so there’s beauty in the breakdown. What’s more, one thing is never absent and that’s Meyer’s wonderful tongue. Words roll from this man’s licker like The Pointer Sisters greased with lard. Granted, it’s somebody else on narration duties but the lengthy monologues we have all grown to love so dearly pour forth from his wild imagination. Indeed, I often imagine he’s speaking them himself.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to violence, the word and the act. While violence cloaks itself in a plethora of disguises, its favorite mantle still remains… sex. Violence devours all it touches, its voracious appetite rarely fulfilled. Yet violence doesn’t only destroy, it creates and molds as well. Let’s examine closely then this dangerously evil creation, this new breed encased and contained within the supple skin of woman. The softness is there, the unmistakable smell of female, the surface shiny and silken, the body yielding yet wanton. But a word of caution: handle with care and don’t drop your guard. This rapacious new breed prowls both alone and in packs, operating at any level, any time, anywhere, and with anybody. Who are they? One might be your secretary, your doctor’s receptionist… or a dancer in a go-go club!
The plot could be written on a postage stamp and still have room for the credits. We begin with three bodaciously buxom bunnies, Varla (Tura Satana), Rosie (Haji), and Billie (Lori Williams); engaging in a little harmless girl-on-girl water wrestling after a hard morning on the salt flats. After running into Tommy (Ray Barlow) and his timid girlfriend Linda (Susan Bernard), and growing tired of him bleating on like a sore loser after beating him fair(ish) and square in a road challenge, they promptly snap his neck and take the frantic Linda hostage. No real reason, just bored.
With the party looking to lay low while the dust settles, they run into an old man (Stuart Lancaster) at a gas station and discover he’s sitting on something of a nest egg. Before you can say Faster Pussycat… Kill! Kill! they’re back at his ranch and scheming to rid this old codger of his settlement. He lives with his buff but dim-witted boy, hilariously only ever referred to as The Vegetable (Dennis Busch) and his elder son Kirk (Paul Trinka) who was passed over with the ripped abs but makes up for it with winning charm and a fine musty cologne.
“Breast or thigh, darlin’?”
The three vixens are an absolute joy to behold. These diesel-fueled go-go angels operate on varying levels of bitch with wheels and Varla is the undisputed queen of the procession. She leads from the front in the most masculine of the three roles, while the other two wrestle in their skimpies for shotgun. The cleavage has always been of particular interest to Meyer and his lens is practically expressing milk at every available opportunity. However, he backs this up with G-string sharp dialogue, while his roving camera is also consistently precise in its movement, as ever.
The feminists predictably screamed misogyny and Meyer had his knuckles rapped as was the case repeatedly throughout the seventies. But he had done what he set out to do and, while Tarantino was barely two-years-old at this point, one day after Meyer had left us for the big peep show in the sky, he would pick up the baton. I waited considerably longer for my first taste and will hold my hands up and admit that black and white movies generally take longer to “get around to”. But I’m thoroughly beside myself that I did as no longer is my head bowed with shame.
“I’m of legal age for whiskey, voting and loving. Now the next election is two years away, and my love life ain’t getting much better, so how about some of that one-hundred-percent!”
It’s not his best dialogue, that was yet to mature, and any shameless full frontal nudity or even a flash of areola is always going to be sorely missed. But it makes a statement and any flustered feminists should really have read between the lines. Thanks to Satana’s imperial turn (and her shapely minions of course), and a full tank of girl fuel, this is far as empowering than Glitter and I’d rather look at three foxy ladies than one Mariah Carey’s po-face any day of the calendar year. If you have never yet had the pleasure of enjoying a Russ Meyer production then I would suggest not buckling in here first and, instead, check out his late seventies output. But don’t leave it as long as I did before unearthing this rough diamond.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 8/10
For the Pelt-Nuzzlers: Embrace that inner voyeur and take your seat on Meyer’s lens. It is the proverbial big dipper, taking its sweet time climbing to its tipping point, before hurtling down the tracks through cleavage canyon. Considering he was beaten by his abusive wife, it is no small wonder that he had to let off steam somewhere. Here he is the master of his domain and nobody can ever say any different. Whatever the reason may be for his fixation with bosoms (and I would imagine he breast-fed until at least eighteen), I’m just glad he remembered that sharing is caring. God rest your sweet soul Russ.
Read Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair Appraisal
Read Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens Appraisal
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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