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Bitch Slap a ‘loving homage’

In 1965, avant-garde softcore filmmaker Russ Meyer unleashed what was to be his magnum opus

In 1965, avant-garde softcore filmmaker Russ Meyer unleashed what was to be his magnum opus; a scrappy, sex-soaked melodrama shot in gritty black and white and featuring a crew of vicious, two-fisted women who were as bloodthirsty as they were man-hungry, as brutal as they were busty.

The picture was the now immortal Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!, a movie that put the late Meyer on the map and has since become a major work in cult cinema history.

Madley careening out of the ashes of Meyer’s memory is director Rick Jacobson’s new hotter-than-Georgia-asphalt chicksploitation epic Bitch Slap — a wild, untamed action-comedy featuring three no-nonsense, desert-bound beauties (played by America Olivo, Erin Cummings and Julia Voth) who race cars, kick butt and have few issues revealing their, um, assets to whomever cares to look.

“Bitch Slap is definitely like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” says recent Playboy playmate Olivo of the post-modern “B” flick.

“It’s a loving homage to Faster Pussycat but it’s also cutting-edge genre filmmaking with state of the art effects. I’ve imagined that this is the film that Meyer would have done today if he had the technology.”

Bitch Slap (which also stars TV action heroes Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless; Hercules and Xena, respectively) is hitting TIFF’s celebrated Midnight Madness program on Monday after riding high on a stream of steady buzz.

It premiered at Cannes earlier this year and screeched into San Diego’s Comic Con in July, earning (mostly teen male) fans and garnering an impressive critical response.

But although kung-fu fighting girls with screen-filling cleavage is Bitch Slap’s major selling point, co-star Voth says the characters aren’t caricatures.

“Sure we wear tight shirts, dresses and jeans,” says the actress, “but we all balanced our sexuality with real characters and motivations. Being sexy and desirable is empowering, but there’s a great story to tell here too.”

When pressed to cite the cinematic action queens that inspired the girls tough but still feminine personas, Cummings opts for the baddest of them all.

“Without question, my favourite is Sigourney Weaver in the Alien films,” she says. “I mean, she shaves her head, she picks up the gun, she kills the monsters and she’s still hot ... she’s the one for me.”

• For more on the Midnight Madness offerings at TIFF, vist www.tiff.net.

 
 
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