I just heard the sad news that Tura Satana — “Varla” in Russ Meyer’s unbelievably awesome Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) has died.
Faster, Pussycat was one of those movies that — at the time I learned of it — was almost impossible to see, without buying it on VHS from Russ Meyer himself. John Waters had famously said about it (and I’m paraphrasing here, probably) “Not only is it the greatest movie ever made, it’s the greatest movie that ever will be made.” Thanks to a buddy of mine who worked at a video store in Kentucky, I got my hands on the flick and went completely insane. Faster, Pussycat is a life-altering movie in the way the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Mario Bava’s Danger Diabolik are — once you’ve seen them, something inside you is different.
Tura also appeared in The Astro-Zombies (1968), The Doll Squad (1973), Irma La Douce (1963) and several other movies and TV shows, but it’s safe to say Faster, Pussycat is the one she’ll be remembered for the most. In recent years Tura had been making the rounds on the convention circuit and I met her at the San Diego Comic-Con a couple years ago. She was very sweet but threatened to beat me up (jokingly — I think), which made my whole week.
Thanks for the great entertainment, Tura. You’ll be missed.
UPDATE: I had to dig out this photo and include it: