“Tura Thursday” is a regular series celebrating the legacy of the late, great Tura Satana, best known as Varla in the 1965 Russ Meyer cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. This series is curated by Tura’s longtime manager, friend, confidant and CEO of Tura Satana Productions, Siouxzan Perry.

Any Tura Satana fan who saw last year’s comeback of the fabulous Paul Reubens in the Netflix film Pee-wee’s Big Holiday will have been thrilled to see the unexpected, hilarious turn of events when Pee-wee is hijacked by Varla, Rosie and Billie look-a-likes, who have just robbed a bank. The “pussycats” Pepper, Freckles and Bella then tear off in Pee-wee’s car leaving him high and dry. The Faster Pussycat Kill Kill allusion continues to appear throughout the film.
Reubens elaborates on his wacky use of FPKK in his film in an interview with LA Weekly’s Simon Abrams and reveals his great love for Russ Meyer artistry.

Abrams: One of the most surprising references in Big Holiday is the three-woman girl gang, an homage to Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! That seems out of place in what often feels like your version of ’50s-era suburbia. Were you a Russ Meyer fan?

Reubens: I think Faster, Pussycat! is one of the most underrated American films ever made. Almost every single shot of that movie is framed on the same level as the European filmmakers who were getting such incredible attention. There are many not-so-incredible Russ Meyer movies, but Faster, Pussycat! is a classic by any standard. I would be very excited if young people watching my movie were turned on to Meyer’s film. It’s required viewing, in my opinion. I was almost in a remake. Russ Meyer had talked about remaking Faster, Pussycat! for many years. And he told me he wanted to cast me as the gas station attendant. He’s the guy that Tura Satana says something to like, “What are you looking at, squirrel!?”

The original pump attendant was played by Micky Foxx who is not only on the receiving end of two of Varla’s famous caustic comments which went down in cult movie history, but, is also the one who tells Varla that the wheelchair bound old man she has just seen has a load of money hidden somewhere around his run-down house in the desert.
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Gas Station Attendant: Yes ma’am, what can I do for you today?
Varla: Just your job, squirrel. Fill it up!
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Gas Station Attendant: [staring at Varla’s chest as he pumps gas] Just passing through, huh? Boy, that motor’s sure hot! You gals really must have been moving on these little machines. Yessir, the thrill of the open road. New places, new people, new sights of interest. Now that’s what I believe in, seeing America first!
Varla: You won’t find it down there, Columbus!
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The idea of a remake of Faster Pussycat Kill Kill has been in the air for years, perhaps Paul Reubens would play a good gas attendant….but, who would, who could play Varla? I think we all know the answer to THAT unanswerable question! Whatever, if you have never seen FPKK, take heed of Paul Reuben’s advice…it’s required viewing!
If you have any Tura Satana related stories, blogs or images you would like to share with us as part of the Tura Thursday blog please send them to [email protected] . We know there’s a whole secret stash out there!

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Tura Thursday