“The Sweetest Kittens Have the Sharpest Claws!” and “Go-Go For a Wild Ride With the Action Girls!” These 1966 movie theater teasers heralded the release of the bizarrely-titled Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, a black-and-white, independent picture which proved to be the greatest sexploitation B-Film in history, largely due to the memorable character of Varla, the trash classic’s reckless lady of sexual abandonment played balls-out by famous exotic stripper Tura Satana!

Varla’s pale Oriental face radiates like a revved-up engine, steaming up the scorching California desert that is the backdrop for her uncontrolled antics. An awesome combination of voluptuous boobs and hardbody sinews encased in tight black jeans, a tight black, open top, black boots, and black racing gloves; the psychotic murderess' all-consuming passions embroil her in a win-or-nothing struggle with life. She doesn’t take crap from anyone...she’s the baddest bitch of all time! As her fellow cronie Lori Williams playfully asks her in Pussycat’s beginning, “What’cha got for sin, Varla?”

The Varla who chews up men for breakfast is not that far removed from the Amazonian actress who portrayed her. Tura, her name derived from the Indian word meaning “white flower”, was born a unique child of Japanese, Filipino, American-Indian and Scots-Irish blood, the second child in a family of one son and four daughters. Growing up in 1940's Chicago, she learned how to deal with bullies in frequent school skirmishes.

Young Tura's father taught her martial arts techniques such as karate and aikido. Athletic activities such as track running became natural for her and she easily left jaws hanging with her effortless double-bends, splits and backflips.

Developing rapidly due to her multi-ethnic body makeup, Tura was already fitting a 34C when only nine years old. As Tura herself has admitted, she was “built like a brick shithouse” by the time she turned 14. She found herself stripping illegally (leaving a few clothes on) at the Tropicana in Hollywood -- incognito jailbait in California, where the legal age of consent for entering a nightclub was 21. It wasn’t long before she segued from the Dance of the Seven Veils in California to doing a novelty act (“Galatea, the Statue That Came to Life”) at a Calumet City, Illinois joint.

At 15 she obtained a boyfriend several years her senior, a married New Orleans gent named Tiger Dupree. It was in Calumet City that the new ingenue performed under the truly evil name of Devilon Satana, which, when combined with her slinky black and red costumes, would frighten the customers into sprouting “horns." Tura subsequently reverted back to her own name for the stage, and over the next decade, stripped in many cities across the USA, entertaining a wide variety of audiences, from Europeans at the Follies Bergere in Paris to Texans at Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club in Dallas (yes, the Ruby who offed Oswald!). Headliner Tura’s typical routine lasted 20-35 minutes and consisted of a series of strenuous acrobatics and backflips.

The limber lassie would tempt her perspiring public with a wide assortment of elaborate and expensive costumes. Heavily beaded kimono head dresses crowned a radiant lotus queen gilted with beaded g-strings and garters. And then there was the coup de grace, the twirling tassels! The sultry siren shook her flesh to the beat of her accompanying drummer, one tasseled tit twirling and whirling to the jazz music’s bump and grind as another pastie-attached tassel frenziedly moved in the opposite direction, her amazing muscle control mesmerized the frothing onlookers.

On several occasions Satana has “cleaned the clocks” of jealous fellow dancers. In one instance, a Cherokee star by the name of Princess Domay scratched Satana’s right boob--in return, an enraged Tura busted several vital bones of Domay’s fragile skeleton!

Perhaps the most upsetting situation the resilient dancer ever had to cope with was when an anonymous guy watched her do her act for two months in Danville, Illinois, and then, out of nowhere proposed marriage. After receiving a polite refusal from the flattered Asian, the strange man helped end her next show with a resounding bang...he blew his brains out in the parking lot with a Kurt Cobain Special. Luckily, the stunned Tura was shielded from police inquiries thanks to her celebrity fiance of the time: Elvis Presley.

The well-rounded, exotic beauty was bound to attract the attentions of Hollywood, and in 1958 she was a guest on the television series Hawaiian Eye. She moved on to feature films in 1963, playing beehived Parisian streetwalker Suzette Wong in Irma la Douce. Store film work followed, including Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed? with Dean Martin and Our Man Flint, plus a few TV episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and its spin-off The Girl from U.N.C.L.E..

In 1965, director Russ Meyer was busy becoming the Orson Welles of sexploitation movies, having pioneered the “nudie-cutie” of the 50s. But the turbulent 60s demanded wilder fare for the horny masses, so Russ mastered the “roughie” with the more dramatic Lorna and Mudhoney. The supervixen breast fixations of Meyers, however, was always his outstanding hallmark, and the ultra-healthy Tura Satana was an E-cup natural to enter the ranks of Russ’ “massive mammary” honeys. Exotic co-star Haji, who would be the snarling Rosie in Pussycat, discovered buxom Tura for Meyers. The well-endowed Haji had stripdanced with Satana to songs like The Girl from Impanema in a plush supper club called The Losers. Together, with the impossibly-stacked blonde Lori Williams playing the supersexed character of Billie, the three bosomy she-cats formed the imposing girl gang triumvirate of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Pussycat opens with a leering male audience at a Vegas nightclub drooling over the violently gyrating go-go dancers (Varla, Rosie and Billie), swiftly moves out of this enclosed environment into the open nightmare world of the vast Mojave desert. The trio literally break loose, their uncompromising quest for vengeance against a male-dominated society fueling a hunger for control over men. Varla is the bigger-than-life leader that sets aflame the groovy chicks’ burning path of destruction. It begins with the hot hellion’s deadly karate chops breaking the arms and back of poor swinger Ray Barlow, after he loses an impromptu sportscar race to the unstoppable Varla, having killed Barlow “just for kicks.” The outrageous Bad Girls proceed to kidnap Ray’s whiny girlfriend, Susan Bernard, whereupon they encounter widowed-old-eccentric-coot-in-wheelchair Stuart Lancaster and his two virile sons out on the old man’s ranch. It seems that insane Stuart is hiding a large cash of money somewhere on the premises, spurring Varla to provide the film’s thin plot by scheming to find and steal the loopy cripple’s loot!

The hyper-real campy romp provides many choice scenes. The horrible SN-NAP! of Barlow’s back breaking, for instance--it’s the point of no return in this psychedelic experience, the point when you sickeningly realize that anything can happen! Varla is a berserk hell-raiser of death, her mammoth triple-D globes perfectly aligned even as she dishes out the dirt--gassing her Porsche over two unlucky men mercilessly, grinding a muscle man into pate' with said vehicle, ultimately taking her shapely comrades-in-crime down with her to a self-immolating end. It’s probably the first non-porno film to obviously imply a lesbian relationship, in this case between Varla and Rosie. Varla’s frightening gig is a control trip in loving both men and women, but it softens only when it comes to Latin spitfire Rosie.

Satana would go on to play similar take-charge femme fatales in a couple of cheap Ted V. Mikels flicks. She was a soulless foreign agent in 1968’s ultra-bad The Astro-Zombies, a cold Oriental unfeelingly smoking cigarettes and grinding them out on men’s faces! Mikels, a goateed man presently living with 10 women, later directed Tura as an elite female assassin in 1973’s amusing The Doll Squad, a video favorite that has been said to be the inspiration for the 70s fluff tv series Charlie’s Angels.

As the topless craze of the 60's chanced forever the naughty but nice burlesque-style shows on the theater circuit, Tura hung up her tasseled bras and left show business in the early 70's. Today she is still a beautiful woman, doesn’t regret her past, and is very proud of the cult following Pussycat has gathered over the years; a following that includes deranged Hairspray director John Waters, who has hailed the film as a psychotronic masterpiece. Modern day rockers The Cramps and White Zombie have also paid homage to Tura in their acid-laced music. The enduring adulation is a testament to Tura Satana, who, in real life is every bit as gutsy as the strong and feminine Varla. That’s for sure, and we know she won't hesitate to stomp your ass if you disagree!

Look for a more penetrating peephole view on Russ Meyer’s absurd genius in a future issue.

Back to Main Page : Send us your comments

Copyright © 1996 by X Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
This site was designed by Scot Phelps.