Sexy star of “Faster Pussy Cat Kill Kill” Tura Satana

I recently watched “Grindhouse”, a film by Quentin Tarrantino and Robert Rodriguez, with a friend of mine who bought it on blu-ray. The film is a salute to the low-budget B-movies of the 60’s and 70’s. It has all the grainy video, bad edits, video lines running through, and poor dialogue that made these cheaply made films worth watching. There is a comic faction built into them for those of us with a twisted sense humor. One wonders why we were watching it on blu-ray and not VHS tape.

One of the actress in the film, Rose McGowan, becomes this strong female character, who does not like to be pushed around. She is the tough chick (a real bad ass). This is a character we have seen played before. One of my favorite no-nonsense female characters is in the Russ Meyer’s 1965 film “Faster Pusscat, Kill, Kill.” The film features gratuitous violence, sexuality, provocative gender roles, and campy dialogue. It is not a film for everyone, but is worth watching for the acting of actress, Tura Satana, who plays the leader of a gang of thrill-seeking go-go dancers.

The Japanese born Tura Satana took her Final Taxi this week at the age of 72 in Reno Nevada.

In “Faster Pusscat, Kill, Kill” Tura played “Varla” a very aggressive and sexual female character, like something out of a comic book. In the film she did all of her own stunts and fight scenes. She asked the director to do this because of all the martial art training she had taken as a child. She learned aikido and karate, after being sexually attacked. In an interview in with Psychotronic Video Magazine, she said that she later tracked and exacted vengeance on each of her attackers.

After being “discovered” by silent screen comic Harold Lloyd, she first worked in the movies with Jack Lemmon and Shirley Maclaine in 1963’s “Irma La Douce”. In the musical she played one of the Parisian prostitutes friend of the main character. That same year she played a dancer in “Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?” with Dean Martin and Elizabeth Montgomery. Other films include the James Bond parody “Our Man Flint” (1966) with James Coburn, “The Astro-Zombies” (1968), “The Doll Squad” (1974) and “Mark of the Astro-Zombies” (2002).

In TV Tura appeared in “Burke’s Law”, “The Greatest Show On Earth”, “Hawaiian Eye”, and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”.

In her personal life Tura Satana at one time dated “the King of Rock and Roll'” Elvis Presley, but turned down his marriage proposal but she kept the ring. She also had a relationship with Frank Sinatra.

Tura Satana’s exotic looks, buxom frame and no-nonsense attitude paved the way for other actresses and can be seen in pop-cultural artifacts ranging from “Xena, Warrior Princess” to Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”

Forbidden Sex, Violence, Gore, Nudity, And Monsters: Cult Film Director Bruno Mattei

Posters from films of Bruno Mattei

During the 80’s I was a manager for a video store. It was very interesting to see some of the films that were offered to the rental shops and never made it. I would wait before buying many of these B-movies as I knew they would come out at a cheaper price after a month or two.

I had an audience for them. Most were males looking for the possible nude or sex scene or the fan-boys who wanted to see the low budget blood and guts film.

I could count on a few names, all were Italian. One of those names was that of Italian director Bruno Mattei who took his Final Taxi this week after checking into a hospital complaining of a stomach pain. He died after falling into a coma.

Mattei, 75, has toiled in just about every genre quickie Italian cinema has to offer. His films are marked by big laughs and by budgets that are so small, he sometimes shoots movies back to back with the same crew and in one case even shot a film during the day while his frequent collaborator, Claudio Fragasso, shot one at night with the same equipment.

Mattei rose from editing the films of Joe D’Amato and Jess Franco to helming his own low budget, gore-drenched efforts. Though B-movie lovers can argue his importance in the realm of film until the world ends, few will deny that his films rarely fail to entertain on terms of sleaze and gratuitous violence alone — if that’s your kind of thing. He was one of the kings of exploitation films.

Exploitation films feature forbidden sex, wanton violence, drug use, nudity, freaks, gore, monsters, destruction, rebellion and mayhem. Such films have existed since the earliest days of moviemaking, but they were popularized in the 1960s with the general relaxing of cinematic taboos in the U.S. and Europe.

Bruno Mattei’s directorial debut was with the 1970 drama Armida, Il Drama di una Sposa before he helmed the film that many consider to be his finest cinematic effort, 1976’s Women’s Camp 119. A downbeat exploitation effort concerning a prisoner forced to witness numerous atrocities and medical experiments against her will, the film proved Mattei’s calling card to the world of exploitation and the same year’s SS Girls found him churning out more of the same.

Mattei’s 1981 effort Virus (aka Hell of the Living Dead) managed to churn stomachs worldwide while it continued the tradition of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, and he continued throughout the decade with such films as Porno Holocaust (also 1981), Rats (1984), Robowar (1988), and Terminator II (1989 — no, not that Terminator II!). Though his output would slow somewhat in the 1990s, Mattei continued working on with such efforts as the gruesome thriller Eyes Without a Face (1994) and the blatant Jaws rip-off Cruel Jaws. He also filmed several erotic movies, including a number of Emmanuelle films starring Laura Gemser. At the time of his death, Mattei was working on the sequel Island Of The Living Dead 2.

I loved the box cover artwork on many of these films. Walking around the video stores today you can still see many of these movies.

The recent Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez film “Grindhouse “ pays tribute to many of these films.

The Naked Truth About Nudist: Is It Dying Out?

As the weather is heating up you always hear someone say that they wish it was cooler since they can always put on more clothes but you can only take so much off.

I guess that would not be the case if you were at a nudist club.

A nudist community (or naturist community) is a group of nudists who choose to live together on a permanent basis for the purpose of eschewing clothing. The term nudist colony was once a common term for nudist communities, especially among non-nudists but is eschewed by most nudist/naturists due to negative connotations that became associated with the term. Modern naturist resorts, camps, clubs, and parks often cater vacationers and/or day visitors and thus may not have a community of nudist who live on site on a permanent basis. Such places that cater to families often include the word family in their name.

I went to one a few years ago and was surprised at number of people who were older than me, and I am in my 40s.

The problem is now popping up that many of the regular nudist are dying off and taken their Final Taxi. Many of the clubs are now near closing with membership at an all time low.

The Kissimee, Fla.-based American Association for Nude Recreation, which
represents about 270 clubs and resorts in North America, estimates that more
than 90 percent of its 50,000 members are older than 35.

The median age is 55 at Solair, a nudist camp in northeast Connecticut, where a yearly membership is $500 for people older than 40, $300 for people younger than 40 and $150 for college students.

“We don’t want the place to turn into a gated assisted living facility,”
said Gordon Adams, membership director at Solair Recreation League. No one is quite sure why getting in the buff, at least the organized version promoted by the AANR and similar groups, is such a tough sell for younger people.

With some of the images I have seen on MySpace, Facebook or LiveJournal it seems they wouldn’t mind getting naked in a public place. Many of the underwear parties or nude parties from colleges are just about the same.

“I think people think that we’re all hippies,” said Laura Groezinger, 22, of Billerica, Mass., who grew up visiting Solair with her family. “Other people, I don’t know the right way to say this, but they think it’s more sexual, kind of. They don’t understand just the being free with your body and being comfortable.”

Money is also an issue. As nudist resorts become increasingly upscale, catering to baby boomers and retirees with plenty of disposable income, they’re less affordable for college students and young families on budgets. Attendance at nude beaches has remained steady since many do not have a membership and are public beaches. One of the most famous is Blacks Beach near San Diego, Ca.

To draw 20- and 30-somethings, nudist groups and camps are trying everything from deep discounts to a young ambassador program that encourages college and graduate students to talk to their peers about having fun in the buff. In fact, Solair recently invited students from dozens of New England schools to a college day in hopes of piquing their interest. Only a handful of students of different sex attended the event, held on an overcast 60-degree day that prompted many to bundle up in sweaters rather than shed their clothes.

So what will happen to these places after the membership has died out?