Bat Pussy

| November 28, 2017

Something Weird Video has been a hugely important force in the preservation and distribution of cult and exploitation film history ever since founder Mike Vraney launched the label in 1990. Since its inception, Something Weird has championed paracinema legends such as Andy Milligan, Doris Wishman, Joe Sarno, Michael and Roberta Findlay, Zoltan G. Spencer, and countless others whose work would have otherwise disappeared into obscurity. In addition to classic exploitation films and a dizzying array of trailers and short subjects (including industrial, driver’s education, and “Christian scare” films), Something Weird has also released hundreds of adult feature films that would never have seen the light of day after their theatrical run. Many of these films were saved only by the preservation of a single remaining print, and of their entire catalog Bat Pussy is unquestionably one of the strangest, most mysterious, and most outrageously entertaining.

Buddy and Sam are a married couple hanging out naked in the bedroom of their apartment. It’s clearly a set, and from the echoing sound it appears the set was built in a gymnasium. Buddy is reading the latest issue of Screw magazine and he gets some ideas, so he and Sam (who spends literally the entire movie on the bed, mostly just sort of laying around) start to get frisky. But their relationship is complicated, so instead of just having sex, they start bickering and sniping at each other. In fact, they never stop berating each other except for when their mouths are otherwise occupied. Meanwhile, Dora Dildo–also known as the sexual superhero Bat Pussy–senses that someone in Gothum City is making a porno movie without her. She awkwardly strips out of her nightgown and slowly puts on her Bat Pussy costume, then takes to her hippity hop and bounces over to Buddy and Sam’s place to join in their distinctly unsexy antics.

Bat Pussy is a spectacularly un-erotic bit of sex film history. Presumably filmed sometime in the very early 1970s, the film was discovered by Mike McCarthy on a reel of 16mm film among hundreds of similar reels in an old porno theater. McCarthy contacted Vraney, who bought the whole lot of films from the theater owner and used that haul to launch Something Weird’s “Dragon Art Theatre” line of hardcore VHS/DVD releases. Like many of those films, Bat Pussy has no opening title card or end credits. Very little is known about the film’s production, including where it was shot and who any of the people are who appear in it. It’s not even entirely certain that the title of the film is correct–again, like many of these films, Vraney gave it a title in order to sell it in the Something Weird catalog. This was also done with Robot Love Slaves, the other film that is included on AGFA/SWV’s new Bat Pussy Blu-ray.

Originally titled Too Much Loving, Robot Love Slaves is the story of nerdy scientist Clark and his attempts to build a perfect female sex robot in his creepy basement. Clark is viciously henpecked by his wife Marge, who is pretending to be paralyzed from the waist down as part of a scheme with her lover Dr. Dix to defraud Clark of his $5 million inheritance. But Clark has his own plans, and he sends two of his sex robots out on test runs that are clearly unrelated sex scenes probably shot for other movies or standalone loops. When the action returns to Clark’s house, he brings his lawyer friend George over to witness Marge get up and walk so he can safely leave her. She refuses, naturally, but Clark has one more trick up his sleeve that will insure his freedom. This film includes a few familiar faces for 70s adult and exploitation fans like Sandy Carey, Sandy Dempsey, and Candy Samples, but what it lacks in accidental body horror it more than makes up for with a generally creepy vibe. It also looks like the sex in this film was real, but all of the most explicit shots have been removed in the existing print so Robot Love Slaves exists in the same sort of limbo between hardcore and softcore as Bat Pussy.

This new Blu-ray from Something Weird and the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) presents both films in 2K transfers from the only known existing prints. Both prints were clearly screened quite a bit, but Robot Love Slaves is considerably more worn with constant emulsion scratches and lots of rough splices. The actual color and image quality of both films is a massive improvement over the previous VHS and DVD releases, though, and keeping the imperfections is part of AGFA/SWV’s mission with these films. In addition to the two features, there is a commentary track on Bat Pussy with Lisa Petrucci and Tim Lewis of Something Weird, Joseph Ziemba and Annie Choi of Bleeding Skull, and Sebastian del Castillo of the American Genre Film Archive. They frequently get (understandably!) distracted by the film, but their commentary is lively, fun, and informative as they discuss the history of the film and Something Weird. Petrucci also contributes liner notes to the booklet included with the disc, which also includes a piece by Mike McCarthy telling the story of how he found Bat Pussy. This is a fantastic, loving edition of one of the most bizarre artifacts ever dug up by Something Weird, a film that has become a classic among fans of the wildest, most remote corners of exploitation film history. Any such fan will find Bat Pussy a must-have for their home video library.

AGFA/Something Weird Video released Bat Pussy on Blu-ray 21 November 2017. Other special features include eight “crime-smut trailers” from the SWV vault, and a pair of educational/public service short films on dating and shoplifting (both presented in beautiful new transfers as well).

About the Author:

Jason Coffman is a film writer living in Chicago. He is author of "The Unrepentant Cinephile," and a regular contributor to Daily Grindhouse and Film Monthly as well as a member of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle. He is co-director of the Chicago Cinema Society and proud owner of 35mm prints of Andy Milligan's "Guru, the Mad Monk." Follow his long-form film writing on Medium: www.medium.com/@rabbitroom
Filed in: Film, Video and DVD

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