Meyer's old 'Faster' is moronic

March 31, 1995|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic

I'm told that audiences at the Charles break into hysterical laughter when treated to the two minutes of previews for Russ Meyer's 1965 "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!"

Well, the movie's now here and the laughter's about to die. Why? Eighty-one more minutes of "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" -- that's why!

Generically, the film belongs in that subchamber of the dank and scummy dungeon of the male pornographic imagination know as the Strong Woman Fantasy Room. Abandon hope all ye who enter. It's about three strong gals -- go-go dancers, that font of guy imagination circa 1965 -- who, helling around with their sports cars in the desert, come across a crippled male family, and set about destroying it to get at secret money. Why? Because, as the narrator helpfully explains, "violent women are everywhere. One could be your secretary, your next door neighbor."

The film, one big, moronic tease, is primarily for those sick puppies who yearn to feel the point of stiletto heel grinding into their larynx and look up tremulously into the almond-shaped, makeup-encrusted eyes of a big stripper with an attitude problem.

There's no erotic tension in the film, and as a turn-on it's a complete failure. It doesn't even deliver, if you know what I mean and I think you do. The central image is the cat fight as the three go-go dancers, lorded over by a dominatrix named Varla (she's the one with the eyebrows by Dutch Boy), are continually rolling around in the dirt, pulling each other's hair and blouses loose. Sooner or later they turn on men, and Varla beats several guys to pulp.

Underneath, there's the unrealized outline of a lurid film noir, with a group of squalid, unpleasant, even freakish, people struggling sexually and violently for dominance and a hidden treasure. The severe black-and-white photography (Meyer is an excellent cinematographer) gives it a stylish look that's interesting for at least three, possibly even four, minutes.

But the movie is so oafish and overbearing it's unwatchable. I had to laugh first of all at Meyer's ludicrous ideas about "sports cars." He thinks these gals are really riding on the edge of destruction, but two of the cars are a baby Triumph and what looks like a 20-year-old Austin Healy. Wow, they could probably do at least 45 on the straight-away. (Varla drives a Porsche; she must get close to 50!).

Then there's the music: It's jazz as blunt instrument, loud, stupid, overbearing and grinding. I walked out wanting to punch Louis Armstrong. Terrible feeling.

But worst of all -- and Meyer's signal failure as a director -- is the monotonous tone. When a movie about murder, rape, kidnapping, sexuality and women with really big breasts is as boring as Hillary Clinton's philosophy of sharing, it's time to start over.

"Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!"

Starring Tura Satana and Haji

Directed by Russ Meyer

Released by Eve Films

Unrated (violence, sexual innuendo)

No stars

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