This review is dedicated to the memory of Haji (born Barbarella Catton) who recently passed away August 9th 2013. She was born in my hometown, Québec City, and this film was chosen by me has our assignation for the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Club for August 22nd 2013. It was a coincidence but I'm glad that it turns out to highlight her career a little bit.
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Russ Meyer, 1965)
Camp, cult, sexy, violent, influential, and indescribable are some of the best adjectives that comes when watching director Russ Meyer’s film. It is also a cinephile’s delight with the campy dialogues, the bad girls and the over the top acting and the crossing of the line of filmic codes. It is also a great transgenre that marries Western, Horror, Thriller, and Film noir. Definitely and without a doubt a huge influence on Quentin Tarantino’s films, especially Death Proof, it also has an edge of Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the weird family of men, the strong retarded son and the crippled father.
In the Mojave Desert three exotic dancers Varla (Tura Satana), Rosie (Haji), and Billie (Lori Williams) drive their speed cars and are looking to make some trouble everywhere they go and with everyone they meet. First it is the perfect American couple that goes into the desert to speed against the clock. Varla kills the boyfriend (Ray Barlow) and they kidnap the girl (Susan Bernard) and learn about an old man who lives with his two sons on a ranch with a big stash of cash. They decide to rob the old man and use the girl in the meanwhile. From there everything gets fucked up and we assist to moments of delirious cinematic pleasures not only because of the big breasted three heroines, but also because of the unexpected ways things go.
This is definitely a moment of pure fun and cinematic bliss. It also clearly influenced many filmmakers as aforementioned and it is mostly because of its blend of genres but also the kind of freedom that Meyer took with his story and his directing. It might be one of the first times I ever saw a scene of fighting between a man and a woman that violent. It is also not afraid to stand a little on morality and kick the American values in the nuts here and there. The character of Varla is pure evil and even if she seems to be madwoman the audience kind of cares to see her plot succeed. This identification with the girls that aren’t weak but also not particularly good that makes it very twisted but also a lot of fun. Because of that, Meyer had to present the old man in a way that you never want to like him in any way.
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, by the way the best movie title ever, is on many lists of cult films and since twenty or so years has been on more serious critics’ lists like the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die or TSPDT’s 1000 Greatest Films of All Time. A superb piece of Cinema that deserves all his praises!