As a rule, writing about film frequently involves digging under the surface. Anyone can write about what happens in a movie: the plot, the characters, and so forth. It’s the critic’s job to explore why films work the way they do. To analyze the cultural context, deconstruct the mise en scene, and pick apart the director’s pet obsessions. When done well, film writing becomes nearly as essential an aspect of the cinematic experience as watching itself.
All that said, sometimes theorizing is beside the point. Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is one of the coolest fucking movies ever made, and that’s all that needs to be said.
The plot — the glorious, glorious plot — follows a trio of tough-talking, casually homicidal go-go dancers who spend their free time in the California desert, practicing their kung fu and revving their muscle cars. When a young, square couple challenge them to a race, they do the only sensible thing: win, then beat the boyfriend to death and kidnap his girlfriend. Later, they stumble across the farm of a crazy old coot and his mute, musclebound son, and immediately hatch a scheme to find and steal their buried treasure.
Really, that should be enough to have you pre-ordering your tickets. I would be remiss, however, if I did not mention the script, which I’m fairly certain is printed on gold and emanates a chorus of angels. When the poor, well-meaning sap in the desert makes small talk about racing times, Varla (played by the statuesque, perfectly named Tura Satana, who, legend has it, hunted down and maimed the men who sexually abused her in real life) barks out, “I don’t beat clocks, just people! And I don’t try anything, I just do it! Wanna try me?” Later, after things go sour, the square asks her what her point is: “My point is of no return, and you’ve reached it!”
Every line in the movie is like that. Every. Single. Line.
John Waters has repeatedly called Pussycat the most perfect movie ever made. Roger Ebert hailed director Russ Meyer as an American auteur, and co-wrote the screenplay to Meyer’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (when asked about what drew Ebert to his films, Meyer deadpanned, “The man loves tits”). The Cramps regularly covered Faster Pussycat’s badass title theme, and Rob Zombie penned his breakout hit “Thunder Kiss ‘65” in its honor. Daniel Clowes named his first graphic novel after it, Quentin Tarantino has threatened to remake it (with Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian!), and Lady Gaga is obviously familiar. If you don’t see this movie, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself. As a critic, my only duty is to tell you to see it. Tonight.
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
dir. Russ Meyer
Part of the ongoing series: Reunion Weekend
you spelled the directors name wrong