Monday, March 21, 2011

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Meyer. 1965)

"Women! They let 'em vote, smoke and drive - even put 'em in pants! And what happens? A Democrat for president!"

Some filmmakers are famous for making movies that transcend generations. Others, like Russ Meyer, simply make films that are entertaining. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is not one of the better films I have seen from the 1077 Films to See Before You Die, but it is without a doubt one of the most memorable. As one of the first sexploitation films ever made, Meyer created a feminist classic that still remains a staple in the 1960's cult-film library.

As a stand alone film, Faster, Pussycat! Kill Kill! is not very good. It follows the story of three female strippers who use their large breasts and sassy attitudes to dominate and intimidate men. After one particularly rough encounter with a teenage couple the three vixens find themselves on the lam for murder.

This leads to all sorts of sexually promiscuous, violent and fast paced activity that drives the real ethos of Meyer's vision. He was not out to create three sexy females to gawk at...he created three sexy females that should terrify you. In the 1960's the sexual revolution was in full swing, and Meyer knew that a film like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! had the power to turn everyone's pre-conceived ideas upside down. These are not your everyday female sex symbols.

Rather than lusting after the three vixens, you find yourself being revolted by their sexuality. You see them use their looks to get what they want as they discard men like we usually see men do with women. It is an intimidating concept for a man to try and comprehend. Their gigantic boobs are not seen as objects of desire, but rather as weapons that should be avoided.

I highly doubt that Meyer was trying to make a film that would be remembered as a leading example of feminism, but that is exactly what he accomplished. His frantic, violent and sexual storytelling influenced a wide range of people from John Waters to Madonna, and his ambitious view of promiscuity is still a hot-button issue in film history.

It is actually rather difficult to know what Meyer was trying to do with Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. There is not a genre with wide enough boundaries to hold a film like it. I have to admit that the film is not great. It is the message presented by the characters that makes it memorable. In 1965, Meyer was able to shout out for women everywhere that they were just as sexual, strong and forceful as any man. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is strong enough for a man, but made for a woman. I really hope you check this one out.

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!: C

My next film....Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (Christensen. 1922)

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