A shot of a crocheted Tura Satana finger puppet (in the image of Tura’s character from the 1968 film ‘The Astro-Zombies’ playing behind her on the television) by Galen Djuna Green.
So I have some good news and some bad news about the strange, crocheted little finger puppets in this post made by artist Galen Djuna Green. The good news is that as recently as last year Green was offering her topless finger puppets for sale on her Etsy page Galendjuna Knitty Titties. So what’s the bad news? Well, there aren’t any up for sale currently on the page. Which is really sad as Green’s naughty knitted bad girls are rather covetable.
I will say this—since the Knitty Titties page is still active that *may* indicate that Green is still taking orders for past designs or new custom requests. Which I really hope is the case as some of her past finger puppets include Siouxsie Sioux, Wendy O. Williams, Kembra Pfahler (The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black), a few fantastic drag queens and an uncanny likeness of Tura Satana based on her “Satana” character from the 1968 film The Astro-Zombies (pictured at the top of this post). Tiny Tura’s little pink top even comes off! I’ve posted a number of images below of Green’s puppets which while small, clearly have big attitudes. They are also very NSWF much like the ladies they are based on themselves.
A German movie poster for the 1965 film ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to violence, the word and the act. While violence cloaks itself in a plethora of disguises, its favorite mantle still remains… sex. Violence devours all it touches, its voracious appetite rarely fulfilled. Yet violence doesn’t only destroy, it creates and molds as well. Let’s examine closely then this dangerously evil creation, this new breed encased and contained within the supple skin of woman. The softness is there, the unmistakable smell of female, the surface shiny and silken, the body yielding yet wanton. But a word of caution: handle with care and don’t drop your guard. This rapacious new breed prowls both alone and in packs, operating at any level, any time, anywhere, and with anybody. Who are they? One might be your secretary, your doctor’s receptionist… or a dancer in a go-go club!
Russ Meyer’s 1965 Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! features a rogue gang of go-go dancers who decide to set off into the desert in search of mayhem, money and men to mercilessly mess with… and as the title suggests kill. While the best thing about this movie is clearly its karate chopping star Tura Satana, a close runner up would be the German movie posters and lobby cards for the film. The German marketing materials are about as far-out as the film itself.
When I ran the words “Die Satansweiber von Tittfield” through Google Translate it didn’t exactly make sense. And sadly the strange but appropriate sounding word “Tittfield” seems to be there solely for our amusement, like “Boobsville” or something. I love seeing powerful women beating the crap out any man who gets in the way of them having a good time, don’t you? It’s a sentiment echoed by Meyer himself in an interview from 1998. The then 76-year-old director was touring around the world in support of a re-release of FPKK when he was asked for his opinion regarding the film’s remarkable ability to keep attracting audiences 30-plus years after its initial release:
It’s a little puzzling. Most of my films have women who have large breasts. It’s not that the girls are completely lacking in accouterments there, but… I suppose they like the idea of the women kicking the shit out of the men. More than anything else, I think that’s the reason it’s done very, very well.
It might also have something to do with the snappy and highly quotable dialogue. With lines like “Easy baby! You’re almost a fire hazard!” or “I never try anything, I just do it” or “Women! They let ‘em vote, smoke and drive - even put ‘em in pants! And what happens? A Democrat for president!” how can you go wrong?
Much like the film itself (and everything else in Meyer’s long shapely body of work) some of the images in this post are NSFW. I’ve also included a few U.S. lobby cards for the film that contained images from the movie that were too great not to share.
A German lobby card for the 1965 film ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’
More ‘Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!’ after the jump…
Bad girl rule-breaker Tura Satana’s name is pretty much synonymous with the film that propelled her to fame as the ass-kicking, man eating “Varla,” Russ Meyer’s 1965 Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. And if you know anything about Satana’s background you already know that she lived up to one of her famous lines (which I’m riffing on here) in the flick by never trying anything. She just did it.
Born Tura Luna Pascual Yamaguchi in Hokkaido, Japan in 1938 (or 1935 according to some sources) both of Satana’s parents were performers. Her father (who was part Japanese and part Filipino) was an actor who appeared in silent films. Satana’s mother performed in circuses as a contortionist and was of a mix of Native American and Scottish descent which further contributed to Satana’s exotic and unique look.
After moving to the U.S. in 1942 when Tura was only four, she and her father were sent to an internment camp in California for Japanese-Americans where they lived for two years until they reunited with her mother in Chicago. As the feelings of resentment toward the Japanese were still high following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 Tura (as well as other U.S. residents of Japanese descent) was the object of harassment and routinely subjected to bullying at school. At the age of ten Tura was brutally gang-raped by a group of teenagers. Despite her age and the horrific magnitude of the crime the five assailants were never prosecuted for the despicable assault. As a response to help protect his child, Tura’s father apparently tutored her in various martial arts such as Aikido and Karate so that she would always be able to protect herself. According to Satana herself for her portrayal of Varla she drew from the internalized rage from her rape which would further immortalize her face-smashing character in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!.
Tura Satana as ‘Varla’ in Russ Meyer’s ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’
At thirteen, her parents entered her into an “arranged” marriage with a family friend John Satana that would end only nine months later while Tura was starting her career as an exotic dancer. Not long after her marriage ended Satana found her way to the city of broken dreams, Los Angeles and was quickly discovered while performing her special blend of burlesque dancing mixed with martial arts moves. She got her first acting role in the 1959 ABC television series Hawaiian Eye. This led to many other acting roles one of which was with one of Satana’s rumored love interests, director Billy Wilder in 1963’s Irma La Douce and a role that same year opposite Dean Martin (where she played a stripper) in Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed. And if super-groupie Pamela Des Barres is to be believed (detailed in her 2008 book Let’s Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies), it was Tura herself who taught The King, Elvis Presley (another of Satana’s boy toys) his signature dance moves.
Satana ditched her dance routines when California changed the laws governing exotic dancing which allowed clubs to require dancers appear topless and instead turned to straight jobs such as nursing, and in her later years even working as security detail for a Hilton casino in Reno, Nevada under the name “Tura Jurman” after marrying former police officer Endel Jurman in 1981. I’ve posted a variety of incredible photos of Satana from when she was known as “Miss Japan Beautiful” (a nickname that would follow her throughout her career) that were taken during her days as a burlesque dancer for you to oogle below. I’ve also included footage from Tura showing off her dance moves in the 1973 film The Doll Squad. Naturally since this is Tura Satana we are talking about, please assume that many of the images that follow are NSFW. Much like the woman herself.
Tura Satana in ‘Burlesque Magazine’ when she was only nineteen, 1957.
There is something so delightfully decadent and downright pagan about Hollywood in the 1920’s. Maybe it was the heat and the transformation of desert wasteland to an arena of dreams and star making machines or perhaps the country’s overall shedding of prudish Victoriana morals and decor. Social and creative mores were pushed, at times, in the most delicious and evocative of ways. (As anyone who has studied pre-Hays Code films can probably assure you!) Sitting in the Hollywood Hills, like some pastiche Abbey of Thelema meets Silver Screen ambiance was the “Crazy House.”
“Crazy House” belonged to silent film writer/director Jack McDermott. McDermott was born in 1893 and originally from Green River, Wyoming, a mining town known for being one of the first in the country to ban door-to-door solicitation. When his family moved to Los Angeles in the protean days of filmmaking, it was kismet for an unrestrained soul like McDermott’s. Settling in the desert landscape like a holy burning bush as witnessed by a tribe of mescaline-dosed fops, McDermott’s reputation would soon grow legion. With directing credits dating back to at least 1916 and the last credited film of his being released in 1926, intriguingly titled The Love Thief, McDermott’s legacy in Hollywood mythos has become less solidified in silver nitrate and more in surreal antics and architectural wonderment.
Stories about McDermott the Hollywood Imp would soon circulate by the 1920’s. Gags such as giving guests a ride in his Model T in some of the rockier parts of the landscape, only to pull the steering wheel completely off and throw it out whenever his company started getting nervous, were just the tip of the iceberg. (McDermott’s car had foot controls installed that helped prevent certain auto-crash doom.) Driving shenanigans aside, it would ultimately be, as described in a 1927 issue of Picture-Play magazine as “The Strangest House in Hollywood,” that would make him a whispered name decades past his expiration date on this mortal plane.
Described by McDermott himself as his “crazy house,” what the structure lacked in modern cohesive design, it more than made up for with slackful ingenuity and a mega-ton of studio sets and props. Not just a few odds and ends here and there, but that the house itself was largely composed of set-pieces and what would now be viewed as Hollywood artifacts and relics.
The “Crazy House” featured rugs, furniture and walls straight off the sets of films like the 1924 Raoul Walsh actioner The Thief of Baghdad, a roof constructed from Lon Chaney Sr.‘s classic Phantom of the Opera, fencing from one of Rudolph Valentino’s last films, 1925’s The Eagle, among many others. McDermott even reportedly utilized the tombstones used in the 1923 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame to form part of a stone wall on the property.
More on Jack McDermott’s crazy house, after the jump…
Dangerous Minds’ Paul Gallagher has already done a fitting tribute to Tura Satana, but I thought I’d share this interview that Tura gave for Kevin Sean Michaels’ 2008 documentary The Wild World Of Ted V. Mikels. Tura starred in Mikel’s The Astro-Zombies and The Doll Squad. In the interview she discusses working with Mikels and Russ Meyer.
Tura Satana does a striptease in “The Doll Squad” and is interviewed by Sandra Bernhard after the jump…
Tura Satana died yesterday of heart failure, in Reno, Nevada. Satana had a brief but iconic career during which she was an exotic dancer, starred in the ground-breaking cult film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, dated Elvis Presley and became a cinematic icon.
Satana began her career as a dancer at 14, and was a victim of the brutality and sexism endemic at the time, as she explained in 2008:
“At the age of 15 I became an exotic dancer in the clubs of Calumet City, Illinois, because I had left home due to a bad situation stemming from when I was raped. Instead of the guys who raped me going to jail, I was sent to reform school because they paid the judge one thousand dollars to get off. So I went instead, supposedly because I enticed them to rape me.”
Satana went onto appear in numerous TV shows and films, including The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Billy Wilder’s Irma La Douce, but it be for iconic role in Russ Meyer’s classic 1965 film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! for which she will always be remembered. In the film, Satana played Varla, a sexy, voluptuous anti-hero, who proved:
“A woman, like my character, was able to show the male species that we’re not helpless and not entirely dependent on them. People picked up on the fact that women could be gorgeous and sexy and still kick ass.”
Satana also said:
“There are a great many similarities between Varla and myself. Varla was an outlet for some of the anger I felt growing up. She was also a statement to women all over the world that you can be a take-charge person and still be sexy. She also showed the women world-wide that women don’t have to be weak, simpering females. They just go after what they want and usually get it.”
John Waters once described Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! as:
”The best movie ever made, and possibly better than any movie that will ever be made.”
Born in Japan in either 1935 or 1938 (dates vary), Satana worked her way though a variety of minor TV roles, including appearing with Dean Martin in Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?, before being chosen by Meyer for Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. Filmed in the desert outside Los Angeles, in temperatures often over hundred degrees, Meyer claimed that “She and I made the movie…” and that Satana was “very capable”:
“She knew how to handle herself. Don’t fuck with her! And if you fuck with her, do it well! She might turn on you!”
Satana went on to make The Astro Zombies (1969) and Ted V. Mikels’ The Doll Squad (1973), after which she was shot by a former lover. Satana then worked as a nurse, until her cult celebrity led to her return to acting this century with Sugar Boxx, Rob Zombie’s animation The Haunted World of El Superbeasto and Astro Zombies: M3 Cloned.
My dear, dear friend, you have no idea how much you will be missed…
In 2008, Satana talked to Zuri Zone about her cult status:
“I’m thrilled with the status Faster Pussycat has received when it was first released and at all the additional releases. I think the popularity that it has is because we gave them something that they really wanted to see. I also hope that it is because it shows that women don’t have to be weak and helpless to be sexy. We can be in control and still be feminine. I think that I remain a cult figure even after 40 years because the public like what they see on the screen. At least on the film, I will be forever ageless.”
Bonus clip from ‘Faster, Pussycat!’ after the jump…