- Gareth Crook
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) …and more!
Updated: Jul 31, 2019
The film reviews may have seemed to have dried up, that's because I've been immersed in a mini Russ Meyers season. Brought on mainly by this film, Faster Pussycat... Kill! Kill! It's every bit the cult classic, from the opening monologue over the jazz soundtrack, the graphic waveforms on screen building and breaking into fast cut black and white shots of girls dancing to 60s psychedelic rock n roll to the drag race across the salt flats, this is... cool! It's dangerous and genuinely unnerving, the three girls scared of nothing and capable of anything. Shot in the desert, I've learnt this is a common theme of Meyers films, probably because it's free! This one just about hits the right level of cheese and is almost Lynchian in places. It's every bit the cult classic, with the sort of shots that really look iconic. It would work brilliantly as a back drop projection at an art house venue, but to do that would miss half its charm. The music is superb, as is the hip 60s dialogue. It's still all sex, but where the later films become trashy, this remains on the side of tasteful. Russ Meyers, tasteful! Ha!
I've watched 4 Russ Meyer films this week and FPKK is the pick of the bunch. It's not saying a great deal as the other 3 were utter crap!
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls certainly is different, although it has a little more cohesion. Maybe because of Roger Ebert's involvement (which was the reason for watching this). A tale of what happens when the party's over, the 60s swinging to the dark side. It follows an all girl rock band and music is a big part of the film. Songs are played over long sequences which kinda makes it fun (the songs are good), although it quickly gets dull. Where FPKK is sparse, this film has had money spent on the locations. Production values are raised, sadly the plot isn't. It goes beyond that's for sure! It feels a bit like a sterile, straight to TV, watered down version of something that could've been cooler. Where FPKK has teeth, this one's had it's filed down. Now that said it's fun, with several moments that although now dated, work wonderfully as classic film kitsch, but Ebert what were you thinking?!?
Vixen starts a little bit like a Carry On film. Shot and directed by Meyer it certainly has the daft smut, but not the humour. It's softcore crap, notable more for it's out an out racism. Mercifully it's only an hour long.
Lastly Supervixens is just as dodgy, but goes further down the sexplotation road with some scenes of genuine peril, despite the shockingly bad acting. Meyers wrote, produced, shot, directed and cut this... I assume because no one wanted any part of it. Where Vixen seems nothing more than soft porn with a scrap of a story, possibly in a vain attempt to get it a full theatrical release, Supervixens does ease off the sex slightly and more onto the plot... not enough though.
So what have I learnt about Meyers? Well on the strength of these films, he made one good film in the mid 60s then carried on making a load of crap. I was also intrigued to watch Motorpsycho and Mudhoney (the 2 films made just before FPKK), but I don't think I'll bother.