Russ Meyer:"Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" (1966)

"Welcome to violence!" The sinister voice-over that begins Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! warns its presumably all-male audience that a new breed of woman exists, feral females that hide deceit and murder under their soft seductive skins, and apparently, these women are everywhere. This bit of misogyny leads directly into an equal-opportunity tale of mayhem where the ladies are indeed fully in charge. Some modern-day revisionists like to refashion this film into some sort of proto-feminist fable, but the only real twist is allowing the ladies to be villains as amoral and violent as any classic moustache-twirler. The male leads (particularly Stuart Lancaster's odious wheelchair-bound millionaire) are either hateful of women or exist to offer knight-in-shining-armor assistance when necessary, so don't look to Faster, Pussycat! for any feminist theory. Nevertheless, this is still the crowning achievement of Russ Meyer's stunning catalogue. The arch, stylized dialogue is packed with spicy slang and poetic asides, and the action is briskly paced. Tura Satana steals the show as the lead bad girl, alternately yelling and purring her way through a role that rips up scenery and co-stars in equal measures. Every inch of the film entertains, from the wild desert drag racing sequences to the sexually charged fried chicken lunch that the characters stop fighting each other long enough to share. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! has a deliciously ruthless rhythm that few films of such modest aspirations ever achieve -- it could very well be the most finely crafted exploitation film ever made.


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