Tag Archives: Cars

‘Tura! The Tura Satana Documentary’ Kickstarter Campaign

31 Mar

The Kickstarter campaign for the long-awaited documentary on Russ Meyer star and B-Movie legend Tura Satana is finally underway! The film, the release of which was Satana’s deathbed wish, is being produced by longtime manager and friend Siouxzan Perry and produced and directed by Cody Jarrett, with support from the YOMYOMF Foundation. With eleven days to go, the duo still need to raise roughly over $30,000, but there are some fantastic rewards up for grabs if you choose to back! Plus the end result of the documentary itself!!

tura doc

I, for one, am very excited for this project! Tura stunned audiences when Meyer’s cult film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! was released in the 1960s and became a firm fan-favourite when the film became a midnight movie darling and cult favourite on the drive-in circuit. She left a lasting impression in cinema and pop culture with her dynamic depiction of Varla, the dominant, fast-driving, karate-chopping lesbian leader of a small girl gang, but unknown to some fans, also had a dynamic and turbulent life, including a childhood spent in a WWII Japanese relocation camp and a racially motivated rape that she would later avenge. It goes without saying that Tura was one hell of a woman, and her story deserves to be told.

There is some great involvement so far in this project, with contributions from Dita Von Teese, Ted V Mikels (who directed Tura in Astro Zombies and The Doll Squad), Margaret Cho (who will be providing the documentary’s narration), Shannon Lee, fellow Pussycat actors Lori Williams and Dennis Busch, and, of course, director John Waters, whose early championing of ‘Faster, Pussycat!’ in the 1970s helped elevate its cult status. As he so eloquently puts it; ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is beyond a doubt the best movie ever made. It is possibly better than any film that will be made in the future’. 

tura model

Covering Satana’s personal life, career and the impact she left on the worlds of film, art, fashion, music and pop culture, Tura! looks set to be a rollercoaster of fun, and an eye-opening look into one of cinema’s unforgettable women of power.

Please, please donate where you can and help support this project to get off the ground. Tura had and continues to have so many fans, and if we all chipped in $5 each we could get this made and her story out there. I know personally how hard Siouxzan and Cody (and Helen!) have worked to get to this point, and all the work they have done to date to keep Tura’s memory alive and maintain and restore her estate. This has been a long time coming, and I have absolutely no doubts that it’s going to be great. This project could not be in the hands of more capable people, and I really wish them all the best with this.

You can contribute to the Kickstarter campaign here, and keep up to date with news on the project by following Tura Satana Productions on Twitter and Facebook!

‘The Car’ (1977) review

1 Aug

car1

My review of 1977 cult classic The Car is now up over at Cigarette Burns! Go read!

MEYER MONTH – A Random Piece Of Memorabilia For Your Collection?

10 Mar

Most people who know me know that I collect film posters and am slowly building a nice little archive of Meyer related memorabilia which I hope to expand significantly over the years. When it comes to Meyer-related stuff, I’m usually pretty interested and keep watch on certain items until I’m able to buy them and love them. So imagine my intrigue this week when someone alerted me to a Craigslist listing of someone in LA selling one of Russ Meyer’s cars…

russ meyers car

Whilst the director wasn’t known for his cars, the 1990 Cadillac Allante Pininferina was kept by Meyer for many years. It’s still in good running condition with all of its original parts and is in an easily restorable state. The vehicle even comes with a binder containing all of its maintenance records, which contains the signature of the legend himself, listed at his known Californian home address. Also included is a warranty extension letter certified to the address of RM Films Inc and the original purchase can be traced back to well-known dealer Lou Ehlers Cadillac which was based on Wilshire Boulevard, LA (David Fincher used the place to shoot exteriors for one scene in Fight Club).

lou ehlers

Now I’ve never been one for flashy, modern cars and have always envisioned myself driving around in box-style car. Add the double bonus of previously being own by Meyer himself and this white car is an almost dream buy for me (the only thing holding me back being the price tag and not my lack of a driving license…). Pininferina only made 3,300 of these cars for Cadillac which also makes it a little extra special. Meyer friend and biographer David K. Frasier fondly remembers the car, having interviewed Russ in it on the way to a steakhouse in Needles, California once. So, if you’re reading this Mum and want to make a gal truly happy, this would make the perfect addiction to my Meyer archive, and would be a wonderful eyesore on our front drive…

‘Carnival Of Souls’ (1962) review

29 Aug

The delightful Dom O’Brien was willing to host another review of mine, this time for horror classic Carnival of Souls. Without a doubt, Carnival is one of my all-time favourite horror films and thoroughly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. An absolutely beautiful watch and one that will get right under your skin… Enjoy folks!

Sexiest scene of 2011? Baby you can ‘Drive’ my car.

6 May

Last year I declared that Gareth Edwards cinematic debut Monsters contained the sexiest scene of 2010 I had seen. Multiple viewings later and after much heated discussion amongst my peers, I still agree with my first impressions. Monsters contains one of the steamiest, most tension filled sex scenes I have seen so far in cinema – and it doesn’t even involve two people. Needless to say, the film absolutely stumped me in trying to find my sexiest scene of last year. 2011 had some great moments but a majority of the images I was remembering came from films I had watched that had been released in the 1960s and 70s. And then, out of nowhere, came two contenders.

Narrowly missing out on the top spot is a scene from series one of my current favourite television shows, The Walking Dead. Out in the woods and away from the rest of their camp, survivors of the zombie apocalypse Lori and Shane end up getting down and dirty in one of the most sexually charged romps I have seen in television. It’s not explicit, nor is there a copious amount of nudity, but the short clip is full of eroticism and a passion fuelled by haste that comes from the natural urges to reproduce and survive. This coupled with the potential danger that they are in, the feeling of being ‘alive’ and ‘in the moment’ and the animalistic  position that they are in (on all fours and from behind) all add up to visuals that arouse the primal instinct in the audience. Short, sweet and to the point. If this had been in a film, it would have been a clear winner for me.

Instead, the successful contestant is Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive. Now, I know a lot of you will be asking why but to me, it’s really obvious. The film has an undercurrent of sex and desire running throughout it’s entirety; a good-looking cast, an arousing soundtrack and camera and editing work that fetishises and beautifies everything on-screen. It’s ability to capture the feelings and moments that occur when you first meet someone and are attracted to them are more pronounced and honest than other cinematic examples. It’s distillation of dreamlike desire a pure one.

Unlike Monsters, there isn’t a single scene in Drive that epitomizes all of the feelings it produces. It’s more that the film itself is a collection of memories, ones that resonate with the audience, ones that we have all been through, that we all understand. The first time you set your eyes on that special someone, the first time you get to hang out with them, knowing that you are the reason behind the smile of their face, spending time in their company without having to say any words, the first time you touch, escaping the world in the hope you’ll see them, being so close to each other and yet so far, the constant occupation of your mind… And then there’s the kiss between the two leads, Irene and the Driver, in the lift. Forceful, passionate, tender, lingering. The one time when the existence of the rest of the world no longer matters. My sexiest scene of the year.


A romanticized outlook of the film? Of course, but valid none the less. The film is a perfect example of eroticism and emotion in film without exploitative or gratuitous sex scenes. Sometimes the desire for each other in those early moments outweighs any rush to the bedroom. It’s hard for me to put it exactly into words but for those who have seen the film, I hope you understand why I chose this film. For those that haven’t, I’ve included two videos that perfectly encompass what I’m trying to say. The perfect marriage of feeling, visuals and music.   

 

MEYER MONTH – Top Ten Meyer Homages

22 Mar

#10 – PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE  (1974)
So not a homage or direct reference but similarity and sort of brotherhood, Phantom of the Paradise and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls have two of the best film soundtracks of the 1970s, if  not the entire history of film. Brian De Palma’s 1974 release also features a scene in which a bevy of beautiful ladies (and one man) are are lying on top or around each other on a circular bed, draped in underwear just like the promotional shots for Meyer’s Beyond. Both also happen to have a singer taken under the wing of a big music producer…

#9 – AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON (1987)
Okay, so maybe not a reference so much as a cameo, but this top ten wouldn’t be complete without Meyer’s fifteen seconds in the 80s comedy anthology Amazon Women on the Moon in which he plays a video rental store owner trying to persuade a guy to rent a video date VHS. With a giant Supervixens poster visible in the background, one can only imagine some of the X-rated wonders Meyer would have had in his video store if he’d owned one. Well, we can wonder because we know there wouldn’t be any hardcore and everyone would have big boobs…


#8 – SPICE GIRLS – SAY YOU’LL BE THERE (MUSIC VIDEO)
As much as a lot of us probably don’t want to admit it, the Spice Girls music video for Say You’ll Be There has plenty of Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! lashings on its back. The desert, girls chasing boys, leather, fast cars, costume aesthetic, girl power. Whilst I admit that I learnt more about feminism from Meyer than this band of half wits, this has a more deserving place in a top ten than Lady Gaga’s Telephone which owes FAR more to the women in prison genre.

#7 – THE DOUBLE D AVENGER (2001)
If Russ Meyer were to do a superhero movie, it would probably have gone something like The Double D Avenger. The only film which has a ‘reunion’ of-sorts of Meyer stars Kitten Natividad, Raven De La Croix and Haji, the picture see’s an incredibly busty woman fight crime with her breasts. Laced with tonnes of exaggerated cleavage, incredibly bad lines and a scene involving giving a plant/banana a blow job, I have no doubt in my mind that had Meyer been asked to keep doing films in his later years, he would have churned out something like this. In an incredibly polite way, it isn’t worth checking out.

#6 – SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983)
At the end of the film we find out the killer has gender issues. No Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, no Sleepaway Camp.


#5 – SUPERVIXENS (1975)

It’s well known that Meyer liked to reference his own work and one of the instances of this is his reference in 1975’s Supervixens of the snake bite scene from earlier release Motorpsycho (1965). After being bitten by a rattlesnake out in the desert, the bitten men then shout at their female companions to ‘suck out’ the poison. With lots of emphasis on the ‘sucking’ part. Not that you’d expect anything less from the director of sleaze…

#4 – SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD (2010)
A small town band of three members find their way into a music scene run by a hot shot producer who drives a wedge between each member and crushes their dreams of stardom, the film’s soundtrack is music by the said fictional band, the band’s biggest fan starts out being their friend before being ostracised and returning for the final battle at the end of the picture, the lead girl gets led astray by the record producer, there are parties and gigs. Yep, its pretty much Beyond the Valley of the Dolls without the murderous ending. Although the producer does die at the end…

#3 – GRINDHOUSE (2007)
Both films in Grindhouse riff off Meyer’s masterpiece Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. Rodriguez’s opening to Planet Terror is an inverted copy of the go-go club opening of FPKK. Instead of hypersexual, gyrating women dancing to salivating, screaming men, Rose McGowan’s character pole dances to a barely packed room and cries tears of unhappiness at the end of her routine. Tarantino’s effort Death Proof is a more obvious love letter to the feature, taking the cars, the women and the attitude and putting them all back on the big screen to kick some sweet butt!


#2 – PERVERT! (2006)
A film which has a stupid amount of Meyer references, so much so that your stick will be snapping after ten minutes of shaking, Pervert! is a perfect example of how to take the grindhouse/sexploitation genre tone/feel and play it out right. Boobs, porn stars, fast cars, desert ranches, hypersexual women, familial bed swapping, dinners filled with innuendo, yes, it’s all there. If you like Meyer, chances are you’ll love this.


#1 – THE PIPETTES – PULL SHAPES (MUSIC VIDEO)
One of the best homages to Meyer’s work, the music video for The Pipettes single Pull Shapes riffs Z-Man’s party scene in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Introduced exactly like The Carrie Nations, the band have got all the points in the scene down to a T, starting off with a backing group that are wearing similar clothes to The Strawberry Alarm Clock in Meyer’s feature. All the major characters are there; The Pipettes playing The Carrie Nations role, the Harris-esque boyfriend/manager, a Z-Man type party host, the Emerson Thorne bartender, the attention seeking Ashleigh St. Ives. Even the minor characters and bit players are referenced such as the dancing hippy, Princess Livingston’s Matron, the Nazi bar man, Z-Man’s assistant Natalie (wearing what looks like a total knock off of the gold dress actually worn in the film), Porter Hall, the girl who’s dancing naked. Top it off with a 60s sound and some great dance moves and even Meyer would be proud. Well, maybe with a little more tit action…

Fast Cars and Kick Ass Girls; ‘Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’ (1965) & ‘Death Proof’ (2007)

17 Aug

Anyone who knows me personally or reads this blog will know one of two things; that I absolutely love Russ Meyer and that Death Proof is my favourite Tarantino film so far. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw that the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton were screening a Grindhouse double bill of Meyer’s Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Death Proof  as part of the Scala Forever Film Season.

It’s not surprising that Tarantino references and emulates Faster Pussycat! in Death Proof as it’s well-known that the director loves his films, especially B-movies and exploitation fare. What may interest some people is just how much he uses elements from Meyer’s 1965 masterpiece, from the obvious, a Faster Pussycat! t-shirt used in costume, to the slightly less obvious (depending on how big a fan you might be), such as plot and characterisation points.

The first thing that struck me when I saw Death Proof for the first time years ago was the fetish versus fetish angle. Everyone knows that Russ Meyer had a breast fetish which he practically and successfully based his entire career around. Although Tarantino hasn’t based his entire career so far around his fetish for feet, like Meyer he doesn’t exactly hide it in his films. So just as Faster Pussycat! has its female leads clad in tight tops, bikini’s and sees Tura Satana’s cleavage lovingly and impressively exposed to the world, Death Proof shows us that feet are damn sexy. Need a reminder? There’s the feet that get wet when they’re exposed to the rain, the close up of Butterfly’s feet as she walks across the bar, Stuntman Mike gently tickling Abernathy’s feet, Jungle Julia’s feet at the start of the film and Butterfly’s feet that perfectly place themselves in Stuntman Mike’s crotch during his lap dance.

So whilst I’m sure Meyer and Tarantino aren’t the only directors to show their fetishes so blatantly on-screen, Tarantino certainly owes his depiction of overt female sexuality in Death Proof to Meyer’s characterisation. Faster Pussycat! was one of the first films to portray strong sexually charged women with no apology, paving the way for women to be shown as more than the clichéd innocent and gentle virgin. Just as Varla seduces everyone and anyone she can, knowing full well when it will end on her part, Butterfly makes sure that she is the one with the upper hand when it comes to her relationship with Nate. Both films have the guys chasing after the girls with the girls being the ones in control. Just remember, we have a sexuality too! As Butterfly says, ‘No whining, no begging’.

It’s not just sexuality that Tarantino copied from Meyer but behavioural traits and plot similarities. Tura Satana’s Varla would probably have had a violent war of words with Sydney Poitier’s Julia or Tracie Thoms’ Kim, both of whom Tarantino uses to reference Varla’s bad ass attitude and speech. Satana’s infamous fights in Faster Pussycat! are all emulated in the final fight scene in Death Proof, where the three remaining girls, Kim, Zoe and Abernathy, all beat the crap out of Stuntman Mike. Note the further visual references to Varla in the costume of these three characters, where Zoe is wearing similar gloves and boots, Kim is in leather and Abernathy has lashings of eyeliner and a straight cut  fringe. In terms of Varla’s dominance within her group as the leader, Tarantino continues this with Poitier in his first group of girls and Thoms and Bell in his second bunch of chicks, all three being the ones that coerce their friends into acts and determine where they will be going.

The other female caricatures in Meyer’s picture are made up through the rest of Tarantino’s casting. Haji’s exotic beauty Rosie is channelled through Vanessa Ferlito’s Butterfly and Zoe Bell and the all-American good girl up for a bad time, Billie as portrayed by Lori Williams in Faster Pussycat!, is played well through Rosario Dawson’s Abernathy, the single mum who has boundaries but knows how to have fun. Even Susan Bernard’s irritating character of Linda gets a double in Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Lee. Both play the naive younger girl in the group left to fend for themselves against men whilst the other girls leave them (Abernathy leaves Lee just as Billie leaves Linda). That and the fact they are both sexually objectified in their costume; Bernard in the bikini and Winstead in the cheerleader outfit.

Lastly, and ridiculously obviously, lets not forget those beautiful babes that are the fast cars that make both these films. Tarantino harks back to the Grindhouse era of the 60s and 70s by featuring old American cars, such as Stuntman Mike’s 1970 Chevy Nova and 1969 Dodge Charger, whilst the girls get to drive a 1970 Dodge Challenger towards the end of the film. My personal favourite would have to be Kim’s Ford Mustang Mach I, the gorgeous car with the yellow and black paint job which I have lusted after ever since seeing Death Proof for the first time. Meyer’s girls can be seen drag racing a Porsche 356, an MG-A and a TR-3 Triumph across the Mojave Desert with power and style, whilst the unfortunate drag racer Tommy drives an MG-B. In both instances, it’s the girls who drive more fearlessly, crashing through any gender stereotypes about female drivers.

For those who went, I hope you all found the double bill enjoyable! I couldn’t have picked something more perfect myself, although I may have added Vanishing Point and made it a triple bill! There are another two Russ Meyer screenings as part of the Scala Forever Film Season which I will be attending and I look forward to seeing some of you there…