• Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

    Released by: RM Films
    Released on: 2015.
    Director: Russ Meyer
    Cast: Tura Satana, Lori Williams, Haji, Stuart Lancaster, Paul Trinka
    Year: 1965

    The Movie:

    Let the record stand that I wrestled more than a man should have to wrestle with himself in regards to buying this disc, let alone reviewing it – but here at R!S!P!... sometimes we need to provide a public service, and this is one of those times.

    The people at RM Films seem determined to squeeze every last dime out of the late, great Russ Meyer’s estate with no regard as to preserving the man’s legacy or doing right by his fans (I got to experience this first hand back in the AV Maniacs days when they threatened me with legal action over a thread on that messageboard discussing their tactics). As such, it’s tough to want to cover one of their releases, let alone promote it. But here we are, and lil’ old weak willed me? I did it. I bought it. And I’m thirty dollars poorer. While Arrow, over in the UK, have done the right thing and given Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls a proper high definition special edition release, the schmucks at RM Films make their inaugural dip into high definition with Russ’ classic 1965 ode to violence in women, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

    For those who haven’t seen it? From the opening voice over to the first scene of three curvaceous go-go dancers shakin' it fast and furious like, you know what you're getting into with this rough and tumble low budget classic. It’s a picture that proves once and for all that the cutest kittens have the sharpest claws. Meyers’ black and white shocker starts off with the three tough chicks - Varla (Tura Satana of The Astro Zombies), Rosi (Haji of Supervixens and Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls), and Billie (Lori Williams) - splitting from their gig at the go-go club. with their shifts finished, this trios heads on out into the outside world where they plan to kill some time racing their roadsters in the desert.

    When two squares come along, a Frankie and Annette like couple named Linda (Sue Bernard of The Witchmaker) and Tommy (Ray Barlow), who are running some time trials things heat up. Why? Because Varla, never one to back away from a challenge, gets into it with Tommy. It starts off as not so friendly competition but before you know it, she’s killed him in cold blood.

    From there, our three oh-so-buxom but oh-so-evil peelers take poor Linda hostage and soon the four of them come across a creepy old man (Stuart Lancaster) living out in the middle of the desert with his two sons. They figure he's gotta have quite the stash o' cash hidden somewhere in his compound or he wouldn't be such a reclusive old weirdo. And Varla? Well, she the gals set about trying to scheme the three guys out of that dough. This won’t end nicely for anybody.


    Things, of course, get more complicated from there and the cast of characters starts turning on one another towards the end of the film, but we’re not going to ruin the ending in case you haven't seen the film (and if you haven’t, well, get hip). Really though, to be blunt Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill! is classic trash filmmaking personified. Meyers’ camera looms over every curve on these girls' bodies and while this film lacks all the gratuitous nudity of many of his other more explicit films, it doesn't leave a whole lot to your imagination either. The attire is, shall we say, form-fitting and these girls have got all the right curves in all the right places to tighten as many pants as eyes they shall blacken!

    This movie is trashy, violent, and all set to a killer soundtrack with an instantly recognizable opening theme song performed by The Bostweeds (and later covered damn near perfectly by The Cramps), everyone interested in exploitation films should not only see this film, but commit it to memory. The tough talking dialogue comes at you a mile a minute from the get go to the get gone and there are so many quotable lines in the film it's no wonder it was sampled by the likes of Rob Zombie (blah!) and others in their music. It really doesn't matter a whole lot that there are multiple continuity goofs (pay attention to the license plate on Varla's Porsche roadster or watch Billie's hair when she goes swimming in the lake to see examples of that) or that there's a camera man visible in one or two spots. It doesn't matter that the film was made fast and cheap for under fifty-grand way back in 1965. Russ Meyer infuses the film with such mean spirited passion that it doesn't take long for the three lovely lead ladies to cast you under their spell. And once they have? Forget about it, you’re done.

    Tura Satana steals the show as the tough talking 'take no shit' Varla but you've got to love Haji and Lori Williams in their roles too. Tura gets the best lines in the movie but both of them are equally sexy and just as dangerous as her character, just maybe a little more subtle about it all. Sue Bernard is about as cute as a girl can get as the innocent and naive little Linda, and when the four girls make their way to the secluded desert ranch and the dirty old man makes his moves on her? You really do want him to get what he deserves. Lancaster, as that dirty old man, is just rock solid in his part and it’s no wonder that Meyer would use him over and over again in film’s like Mudhoney, Good Morning… And Goodbye!, The Seven Minutes, Supervixens and, of course, Beneath the Valley Of The Ultra-Vixens. He’s got the right sort of feel for a Meyer movie, and Russ takes advantage of everything he can bring to the table.

    In the end, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! delivers exactly what you expect it to. Is it a profound exercise in examining male and female relationships from an atypical point of view? No. Is it somehow some sort of transgressive feminist statement? Maybe, maybe not, even if it has been adapted as such by some (and hey, why not, these chicks are obviously way tougher, smarter and powerful than any of the men in the film). At its core this is a movie about hot chicks in fast cars who beat people up and fight with each other in tight fitting outfits that emphasize their giant breasts. Read more into it than that if you want, but for some of us, that’s enough. Russ Meyer himself would tell you that there's nothing wrong with that, and it would be hard to disagree with the man.


    Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is presented on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.66.1 widescreen. As to the quality of the image? It’s surprisingly good. The elements used for the transfer were clearly in very nice shape as there’s very little in the way of print damage to discuss. Detail is quite a bit strong than past presentations on DVD and obviously VHS, while the contrast levels look to be properly set ensuring that the black and white picture looks properly set in that regard. There’s a decent amount of texture and depth to the picture and the image is free of compression artifacts. I hate to say it, but RM Films have done a nice job here.

    The Dolby Digital Mono English language track is fine, even if it clearly doesn’t take full advantage of the format. You're likely to pick up on a little bit of hiss here and there but it's very slight, there's nothing too serious that will take away from the film. The soundtrack comes through nice and clear and the dialogue is never once difficult to understand. There are no alternate language dubs or subtitle options available on the Blu-ray and there’s no discernible upgrade in audio quality when comparing this release to the older DVD. So there’s that.

    Extras? No, not a single goddamn one. So hold onto your Arrow DVD release, you know, the one that had the commentary with Russ, the second commentary with the three actresses, the great featurettes and the trailer collection? Yeah, none of that made it over to the official RM Films Blu-ray release of this movie, proving once again they don’t care about the fans or the films, but only your heard earned money. There’s really no excuse for this – the director’s commentary originated on the RM Films laserdisc release so not porting it over here was nothing but sheer fucking laziness on their part.

    The Final Word:

    Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is a goddamned masterpiece and while it hurts to type this, it really does look quite good on this initial Blu-ray offering from RM Films. Of course, the release is half assed in that it uses lossy audio and doesn’t even bother to give you a menu screen, let alone the pre-existing supplements that are out there, but the transfer… it’s good. If, like your humble narrator, you can’t resist the lure of owning this film in high definition, do the right thing and get it NOT directly from RM Films but from the good people at Diabolik DVD. They’re good people, RM Films are not.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I'm glad that you posted the review, but yeah....can't do it. Can't support RM films. And it's funny, because they talked about people not buying their films in blu-ray, that there was no market...and here's me, not buying it. Great caps, though.
    1. Scott MacDonald's Avatar
      Scott MacDonald -
      I'm also not buying it, because of RM Films. I do have the mega-box set from Arrow Video with most of his films on DVD, but would love this one on Blu. It just feels personally wrong to give those people money.
    1. Mark C.'s Avatar
      Mark C. -
      I know it's RM films, and blah blah blah, the blu-ray is a nice release and out of all of the Meyer films I'm glad I own it on blu-ray finally.
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