For Valentine’s Day, the Dryden Theater at the George Eastman House is showing Russ Meyer’s violent fantasy, “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” Starting at 8 p.m., “Pussycat” is a rare classic that is hard to find and even harder to find on the big-screen. The opening shots of this movie tell you that you’re in for something special, or at least different. Three sports cars? Three women? A catfight in the water with a dominatrix looking on? Hot damn! Somehow it’s not sexual though, and not just because of the obvious. It’s so – camp, but before there was camp. This stuff is meant seriously. The lesbianism is overwhelming in the way it’s left not just unfulfilled, but teased. To complement this , the only thing as big as the women’s over-the-top lines are their hips and breasts. This movie also has so many shots of clenched ass. They’re made even better by the fantastic ’60s thermin-laced soundtrack.My favorite scene by far is when our protagonist – or the closest thing to one we’re given – is locked in a life-or-death battle with Linda, our evil antagonist. She’s trying to drive her Porsche 356 into a wall with him in between. The camera flashes between him struggling, her enraged expression and the rear wheels trying to push the car. It’s beautifully handled to avoid showing the entire scene at once, which would’ve been a feat to stage on this budget. I understand why this movie is so revered. It is the best college film of all time. Unfortunately, it is still worse than the worst of studio films. It’s the three archetypes of women that men lust after – the sexual one, the stupid one and the evil one. Thankfully, most men marry the other types.”Pussycat” masks its true moral in a presumed story. It goes on about society corrupting people and the best people are the most childlike – so inexplicably lame that it’s amazing any movie uses it. Almost as lame as having your escape foiled by a curb. But that’s a different part of the story. See PUSSYCAT, Page 12
The film comes off as – but at the same time it’s a bit too tongue-in-cheek to be – a morality play about how “bad” women aren’t the sort you want to know,. I choose to look at “Pussycat” as a send-up of these the same vain as “Evil Dead” but far subtler – yes, I really did say subtle. This movie is stylized to the point that all men in this movie are incompetent. Even the one who comes across as sympathetic ends up being just as nasty as the rest and the “vegetable” is the only good character. Surprisingly, however, the men are the only supply of interesting dialogue or depth. The women are restricted to witticisms that James Bond would’ve passed on, as well as quick plot advancement.It’s made up for the fact that if you took all of their personalities and mixed them together you get a very deep character – and I mean that in all seriousness. This movie gave birth to an entire genre and that’s largely what gives this move its importance.I can’t say I can come up with a more interesting or unique Valentine’s Day than to go see “Faster, Pussycat, Kill Kill.” It’s not easy to find and you won’t have many chances to see it on the big screen. Screw the romantic comedies this year and do something different. I give this film it’s four-star rating simply because it’s wonderfully awful. And any movie bad enough to inspire the likes of Ed Wood and John Waters deserves all the stars it can get.Paris can be reached at email@example.com.