Vintage Pulp Oct 2 2023
SAND AND SEX
Russ Meyer and Co. do it in the desert.


Above is a Japanese poster made for Cherry, Harry & Raquel, on which the local distributors splash that magical English word “Sex.” Twice we've discussed this practice and shared examples, here and here. The movie is one of numerous exploitation efforts from Russ Meyer, who graced American grindhouse cinemas with such dubious classics as Wild Gals of the Naked West, Motorpsycho!, Mondo Topless, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Cherry, Harry & Raquel deals with a bordertown sheriff and his sidekick who smuggle marijuana, and are instructed by their drug boss to kill a former partner who's gone into business on his own. The hunt-and-kill operation goes wrong, as the prey quickly becomes the predator. In Meyer's hands the film is something of a desertified hallucinogenic short, intercut with random scenes of nudity and seduction to stretch it to feature length. The sexual content is mostly played for laughs, and none of it is erotic. At least as far as we were concerned.

It was the poster and Meyer's name that drew us, and we were also a bit curious to check out b-movie legend Charles Napier in one of his earliest roles, but none of what we saw impressed us. When Meyer was on his game his movies could be entertaining. Faster Pussycat and Valley of the Dolls are both worth a watch just for their self-conscious silliness. But unless you're a Meyer completist, we recommend skipping Cherry, Harry & Raquel. It opened in the U.S. in 1969, and eventually reached Japan today in 1976.
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Femmes Fatales Dec 22 2021
TURA DE FRANCE
Just another marvelous sight in the City of Light.


This cool and colorful photo shows actress and dancer Tura Satana as the character Suzette Wong—mile-high wig, tassels on the boobs, and all—one of many colorful Parisian prostitutes from the hit comedy Irma la Douce. Satana was born as Tura Yamaguchi in Hokkaidō, Japan in 1938, but moved to the U.S. after World War II and became famous in b-movies like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and The Astro-Zombies. Irma la Douce was her debut film, coming in 1963. There's much about her life worth discussing but we can't get into it today. Maybe somewhere down the line. Actually, there should probably be a movie about her. Has anyone done that? Well, get to it. 

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Modern Pulp Aug 6 2016
BAD KITTY
Russ Meyer's tale of killer cats from Southern California is absurd but entertaining.


Though the text is in English, this promo for Russ Meyer's Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! was made for a 1994 re-release in Japan. You can see that the flipside at right is partially in Japanese. Faster Pussycat is one of those movies—everyone has heard of it, but fewer than you'd suspect have actually seen it.
 
So what's the deal? Tura Satana, Haji, and Lori Williams drag race, wisecrack, and roughhouse their way around Southern California. But because they're bad tempered and sociopathic, they eventually kill a guy, which then requires abducting the only witness, and in turn leads to a scheme to cheat a wheelchair bound old man out of his disablement stash. It's an uneasy alliance between these three kittens, destined for implosion, an inevitability helped along by Satana's unending torrents of shouty abuse.
 
You really have to hand it to Meyer—what he did, he did really well. Faster Pussycat is a completely overdone tale of reckless youth and the lawless west, but ripping around the Mojave Desert with these girls is consistently fun. The type of moral decay and geographical desolation showcased here is one of American film's time-honored motifs. Meyer's entry in the genre holds up pretty well. The movie originally premiered today in 1965.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 13
1971—First of the Pentagon Papers Are Published
The New York Times begins publication of the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret U.S. Department of Defense history of the country's political-military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. The papers reveal that the U.S. had deliberately expanded its war with carpet bombing of Cambodia and Laos, coastal raids on North Vietnam, and Marine Corps attacks, and that four presidential administrations, from Truman to Johnson, had deliberately misled the public regarding their intentions toward Vietnam.
June 12
1978—Son of Sam Goes to Prison
David Berkowitz, the New York City serial killer known as Son of Sam, is sentenced to 365 years in prison for six killings. Berkowitz had acquired his nickname from letters addressed to the NYPD and columnist Jimmy Breslin. He is eventually caught when a chain of events beginning with a parking ticket leads to his car being searched and police discovering ammunition and maps of crime scenes.
June 11
1963—Buddhist Monk Immolates Himself
In South Vietnam, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burns himself to death by dousing himself with gasoline and lighting a match. He does it to protest the persecution of Buddhists by Ngô Đình Diệm administration, choosing a busy Saigon intersection for his protest. An image of the monk being consumed by flames as he sits crosslegged on the pavement, shot by Malcolm Browne, wins a Pulitzer Prize and becomes one of the most shocking and recognizable photos ever published.
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