POSTED: September 3, 2009 15:53 | By: Carol Borden
We were six sick chiquitas, deadliest of the species–feminist film fans hell-bent on entertainment at any price and Faster, Pussycat, Kill! Kill! was just right. It was lighting up Toronto’s Bloor Cinema, former home of Midnight Madness. We’d watched the other films in the Russ Meyer festival, was our favorite, is still my favorite, Russ Meyer movie.Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens, the various other Vixens and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. But Faster, Pussycat was our favorite, is still my favorite, Russ Meyer movie.
The audience was pretty sparse, almost entirely guys spacing themselves singly apart in the dark, not even contending for the acoustic sweet spot. We sat in a pack in the theater’s center and there was a little shuffling in the audience around us. And I had my first inkling that we were making those lone guys uncomfortable.
We had a different agenda sitting in the flickering light. We laughed a lot more at the boobs and at Linda, the shrieking girl held hostage by Varla (Tura Satana), her lover Rosie (Haji) and Billie (Lori Williams). But there was dead silence around us when we cheered Varla snapping the spine of Linda’s nebbish boyfriend, Tommy (Ray Barlow), and then, later, breaking the back of ersatz nice guy, Kirk (Paul Trinka). If the choice is between Linda and Varla, we’ll choose Varla every time.
As the lights came up, our friend Afshan did a dead-on impression of Linda’s shrieking. The guys shuffling out wouldn’t look at us. I think maybe they watched the film differently because of us. I think maybe Varla was a little more vicious, a little more frightening. And maybe the movie’s overheated narrator is right:
Let’s examine closely then this dangerously evil creation, this new breed encased and contained within the supple skin of woman. The softness is there, the unmistakable smell of female, the surface shiny and silken, the body yielding yet wanton. But a word of caution: handle with care and don’t drop your guard. This rapacious new breed prowls both alone and in packs, operating at any level, any time, anywhere, and with anybody. Who are they? One might be your secretary, your doctor’s receptionist… or a dancer in a go-go club!
Or a pack of women (and one transguy) at the movies on a weekend night. I hope to see more of that breed.
(This post originally appeared on the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness Program blog leading up to the premiere of Bitch Slap).