TOP ’60S STARLET MOVIES: FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)
Starlets: Tura Satana, Lori Williams, Haji, Sue Bernard
Continuing with my Top 10 Starlet Movies of the Sixties is Russ Meyer’s cult classic and in my opinion one of the best films of the decade, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Another movie about three girls’ adventures, but this is no Come Fly with Me or The Pleasure Seekers. These three go-go dancing sex kittens scratch as they go on a wild drag racing, cat-fighting, killing spree while trying to find hidden loot deep in the desert. The movie was ahead of its time and possibly made audiences especially men squirm in their seats as the buxom trio physically and verbally abused the males in the movie.
Gloriously filmed in black-and-white, Faster, Pussycat opens with voice-over narration describing “a new breed of superwomen emerging out of the ruthlessness of our times” and then quickly dissolves to dancers Varla (Tura Satana), Rosie (Haji), and Billie (Lori Williams) shaking their scantily clad bodies to the Bostweeds’ title song at a seedy go-go club. The intense male customers grotesquely yell encouragement, “Go baby, go! Faster! Harder!” Varla, clad all in black with her ample cleavage on display, is the tough-talking, man-hating leader, Haji her fiery Latin lover, and Billie a blonde bombshell with an independent streak and a tart tongue. The girls then hit the highway in their revved up hot rods and drive to the desert. During the course of the movie they catfight amongst themselves; race their hot rods; watch as Varla breaks the neck of a teenage drag racer and takes his terrified girlfriend (Sue Bernard) hostage; discover from a gas station attendant that a dim-witted muscleman’s (Dennis Busch) cripple daddy (Stuart Lancaster) is hiding a fortune on his rundown ranch; and hatch a plan to rob him unaware of a second seemingly normal son. As the film rolls to a rollicking end, the body count piles up.
“Here Rosie baby, I got it all nice and wet for ya.” –Billie trying to entice Rosie to join her for a swim
“Alright, you wash… now I’m gonna spin-a-dry you!” –Rosie’s threat to the bathing Billie
“Can’t be my agent—he couldn’t afford the gas! My desert fan club! They went thataway partner…” –Billie while eyeing a strange car approaching them
“Just your job, squirrel—fill it up!” –Varla to gas station attendant, who asks what he can do for her
“You won’t find it down there,Columbus!” –Varla to same gas station attendant leering at her cleavage while talking about seeingAmerica
“Oh, you’re cute… like a velvet glove cast in iron. And like the gas chamber—a real fun gal!” –Billie to Varla
“Those two make the Mafia look like Brownies.” –Billie to Linda about Varla and Rosie
“Look, me, Jane—you, Tarzan. Now why don’t you drop that tree you’re holding and let’s grab a vine and swing a little?” –Billie trying to seduce weight-lifting Vegetable
Recalling the shoot, Lori Williams comments in my book Drive-in Dream Girls:
“I, in the meantime, had no clue who Russ Meyer was. I just thought this was an interview for a regular movie. I didn’t know he made films like Lorna and Mudhoney before this. Even though this film had no swearing, no nudity—I have a backless scene but my front is completely covered—it was still considered really exploitative. I thought, ‘Oh God, what type of picture is this?’ I was also taken aback regarding the violence in the film. But little did I know it was going to be the best thing for me.”
“I was scared to death of Tura who is a phenomenal woman and had an amazing life. But she really was a tough chick. She argued with Meyer constantly. When I saw Russ—who is hard to take on—back down a few times from her I thought, ‘Whoa, this lady is not to be tangled with.’ At one point, she didn’t want to do a scene a certain way. She slammed her hand against some railroad equipment and broke her hand. This was enough to frighten anybody. Off camera, I kind of hid a lot with Sue Bernard. I felt I was out of my realm around Tura and if I made her mad she’d whip me. But she was very nice to me and I never had any problem with her I think because I kept my distance.”
“Haji was sweet and very quiet. She just wanted to be exotic all the time and would always say she was from another galaxy. She was almost esoteric. Sue Bernard was nice but she had a stage mother from hell with her. Stuart Lancaster was a doll and he would work with me to try to teach me things about acting. He was a phenomenal man. Dennis Busch was sweet and kind, but you couldn’t have more than a two-sentence conversation with him.”