Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Hot chicks! Fast cars! Ultraviolence! But enough about my Amazon wish list, on with the review.

As well as being one of the greatest titles in movie history, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is a wildly seductive and provocative picture from 1965. It follows a trio of go-go dancers (Tura Satana, Haji and Lori Williams) who drive out to the California desert to blow off some steam and wind up in what can only be described as The Texas Chain Saw Mascara.

Like all the best exploitation flicks, this film feels progressive as well as transgressive. An ethnically diverse group of women are cornered by the patriarchy and must claw their way out, which they’re more than capable of doing. A little too capable in the case of Varla (Satana), who’s like few women seen on film before or since.

Stylishly photographed in cool black and white, Russ Meyer shoots every scene like a brawl. Everything from having sex to eating lunch is a power struggle for these women, and every sequence becomes a game of (as Aretha Franklin once asked) who’s zoomin’ who? The dialogue is all hip quotability and souped-up innuendo, and the protagonists spit every line like a revving engine.

With its pulpy lawlessness, crazy characters and groovy music (covered by The Cramps and borrowed by Madlib), Faster, Pussycat is like Mad Max before Mad Max. 50 years on it’s still more surprising to see women as instigators or equal (or in this case tougher) participants in violence than as its victims, and that might be the most shocking thing of all.

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