Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
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|Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!|
|Directed by||Russ Meyer|
|Produced by||Russ Meyer|
|Written by||Jack Moran
|Music by||Paul Sawtell|
|Edited by||Russ Meyer|
|Distributed by||RM Films International|
|Box office||$36,122 (1995 US re-release only)|
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (also sometimes known by the alternate titles Pussycat, The Leather Girls, and The Mankillers) is a 1965 exploitation film directed by Russ Meyer, who wrote the script with Jack Moran. It stars Tura Satana, Haji, and Lori Williams.
The film features gratuitous violence, sexuality, provocative gender roles, and provocative dialogue. It is one of Meyer's more boldly titled and unflinchingly exploitative films; however, there is relatively little nudity.
The film was shot in the extreme western parts of the Mojave Desert. However, some of the scenes appear to have been filmed farther east, near Baker, California. The last scenes in the film were made west of California City. The rail line running between Mojave and Trona is clearly evident.
Three thrill-seeking go-go dancers—Billie (Lori Williams), Rosie (Haji), and their leader, Varla (Tura Satana)—encounter a young couple in the desert while racing their sports cars. After killing the boyfriend (Ray Barlow) with her bare hands, Varla drugs, binds, gags and kidnaps his girlfriend, Linda (Susan Bernard). On a desolate highway, the four stop at a gas station, where they see a wheelchair-bound old man (Stuart Lancaster) and his muscular, dimwitted son, whom everyone refers to as "The Vegetable" (Dennis Busch). The gas station attendant (Mickey Foxx) tells the women that the old man and his two sons live on a decrepit ranch with a hidden cache of money. Intrigued, Varla hatches a scheme to rob the lecherous old man.
- Tura Satana as Varla
- Haji as Rosie
- Lori Williams as Billie
- Susan Bernard as Linda
- Stuart Lancaster as The Old Man
- Paul Trinka as Kirk
- Dennis Busch as The Vegetable
- Ray Barlow as Tommy
- Mickey Foxx as Gas Station Attendant
- John Furlong as Narrator
Reception and influence
Faster, Pussycat! premiered in Los Angeles on 6 August 1965. It was generally dismissed as an exploitative "skin flick" and was a box office failure upon its initial release. John L. Wasserman of the San Francisco Chronicle reviewed a double bill of Faster Pussycat! and Mudhoney in April 1966, saying that "Pussycat has the worst script ever written, and Mudhoney is the worst movie ever made."
In the years since, it has been regarded more favorably, gaining in both commercial and critical stature. As of April 2015 it holds a "fresh" rating on film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, with 73% (nineteen of twenty-six) critic reviews positive. In his review of the 1995 re-release of the film, Pullitzer Prize-winning critic and sometime Meyer collaborator Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars. Noted feminist and lesbian film critic B. Ruby Rich says that when she first saw Faster, Pussycat! in the 1970s she "was absolutely outraged that [she'd] been forced to watch this misogynist film that objectified women and that was really just short of soft-core porn." Upon viewing it again in the early 1990s, however, she "just loved it" and wrote a piece in the Village Voice reappraising the film and discussing her change in opinion. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is now frequently mentioned on lists of the best B movies and cult movies of all time.
The movie has also been influential on other filmmakers. Writer-director John Waters stated in his book Shock Value that "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is, beyond a doubt, the best movie ever made. It is possibly better than any film that will be made in the future." He later said on its re-release that "it ages like fine wine." Music video director Keir McFarlane acknowledged that a scene in the video for the Janet Jackson song "You Want This" was a direct homage to Faster, Pussycat!, showing the Porsche-driving singer and her female companions driving circles around two men in the desert. It was reported in Variety in 2008 that filmmaker Quentin Tarantino was interested in remaking the movie.
In popular culture
- American glam metal band Faster Pussycat took their name from the film.
- Audio samples from the movie are featured in four songs by metal band White Zombie on their third album, La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1. The dialogue "You're all shook up, aren't you, baby?" and "I never try anything, I just do it. Wanna try me?" are used in the song "Thunder Kiss '65." "You're all shook up, aren't you, baby?" is also used in the song "Cosmic Monsters, Inc." and the line "Now let's move, but let's take the back door" in the song "Welcome to Planet Motherfucker/Psychoholic Slag." Another line, "I work on this baby the same way, trying to get maximum performance," is used in "Black Sunshine."
- The title of Daniel Clowes's graphic novel Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron is taken from a line in this movie (describing the character Varla).
- The film's title song, "Faster Pussycat!" has been covered several times, most notably by American punk band the Cramps on their 1983 live mini-album Smell of Female.
- The film's over-the-top title has become iconic and is frequently referenced or played upon in other popular culture:
- The 2008 song "Funplex" by The B-52's features the lyrics "Faster pussycat, thrill thrill," an allusion to the film's title.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Passion," Xander Harris encourages Buffy and the others to go after the vampire Angelus, saying "If Giles wants to go after the, uh, fiend that murdered his girlfriend, I say, 'Faster, pussycat, kill, kill.'"
- An Itchy and Scratchy short entitled "Foster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" is shown in the Simpsons episode "Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily."
- The title of the hit 2006 single Faster Kill Pussycat by Paul Oakenfold featuring Brittany Murphy is a play on the title of the film.
- Top Ten Low Budget Films Under $500,000. Daily Film Dose. Retrieved April 1, 2013
- Box Office Information for Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! The Numbers. Retrieved April 1, 2013
- "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!". Turner Classic Movies Database. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- Ebert, Roger. "Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- Willman, Chris (11 December 1994). "Return of the Ultrapussycats". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- DeFino, Dean (2014). Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. London: Wallflower Press. ISBN 9780231167390.
- Wasserman, John (19 April 1966). "Two Films with But One Thought". San Francisco Chronicle (41).
- Oliver, Myrna (22 September 2004). "Russ Meyer, 82; Iconic Sexploitation Filmmaker". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- Myers, Emma. "Profiles in Criticism: B. Ruby Rich". Criticwire. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- "The Top 50 Cult Movies of All Time". Entertainment Weekly (711) (Time. Inc.). 23 May 2003.
- Vorel, Jim. "The 100 Best "B Movies" of All Time". Paste. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- Crouse, Richard (2008). Son of The 100 Best Movies You've Never Seen. Toronto: ECW Press. ISBN 9781554903306.
- Grey, Carmen. "Top ten exploitation films". Dazed. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- Waters, John (2005). Shock Value: A Tasteful Book About Bad Taste. Philadelphia: Running Press. ISBN 978-1560256984.
- Smith, Liz (16 January 2008). "Tarantino wants to remake 'Faster Pussycat'". Variety. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- "Tarantino's Lost Projects". We Are Movie Geeks. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- "Faster Pussycat". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- "Sample Sources". Psychoholic World of White Zombie. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- DeFino, Dean (2014). Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. London: Wallflower Press. p. 38. ISBN 9780231167390.
- Shiner, Lewis. "The Role of Compassion in Daniel Clowes' Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron," Sitcom (1995). Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "One Side Wonders #11: The Bostweeds – Faster Pussycat! (1966)". Cosmic Mind at Play. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "Funples Lyrics". Metrolyrics. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- "Passion: Trivia, Quotes, Notes and Allusions". TV.com. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- DeFino, Dean (2014). Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. London: Wallflower Press. p. 89. ISBN 9780231167390.
- "Foster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!". Simpsons Wiki. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
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- Original trailer and video clips at Turner Classic Movies
- Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! at the Internet Movie Database
- Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! at AllMovie
- Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Fansite