Color, 197?, 49 mins. 57 secs.
American Genre Film Archive / Something Weird (Blu-ray) (US R0 HD), Something Weird (DVD-R)

The Bat Pussydecades-long evolution of the catalog Bat Pussyof Something Weird Video is packed with unlikely cult classics among the more brave connoisseurs of bizarre cinema, but perhaps the most implausible of all these rediscovered sleaze gems is an anonymous storefront adult quickie now known for the ages as Bat Pussy. Rescued from extinction in a batch of 16mm film prints stashed away in an adult theater, the film has since become a hilarious rite of passage for many viewers entranced by its title character, a super-heroine who bounces to the rescue on a big Hoppity Hop ball complete with loud sound effects.

The skimpy excuse for a plot begins with a squabbling Southern couple deciding to try out the wonders of oral sex after Buddy gets his interest piqued while reading an issue of Screw and gets eager to experiment with his unpleasant wife, Sam. Meanwhile somewhere else in town, Dora Dildo senses a crime being committed (someone's filming a dirty movie!) and suits up as her crime-fighting alter ego, Bat Pussy, and hops to the rescue of a woman being assaulted in a park. From there she deduces that a porno film is being made in her squeaky-clean city, so she busts in on Buddy and Sam just as they're about to try out some sexy photography. Despite the fact that Buddy clearly isn't up to the task of performing much of anything, Bat Pussy ends up Robot Love Slavesjoining the couple for a lengthy three-way that ends in more frustration for all involved. Bat Pussy

Technically a hardcore film in the loosest, least satisfying possible sense, Bat Pussy is far more enjoyable as an example of baffling cinema that by all rights shouldn't exist anywhere on the planet. Its very strong Southern accents and complete refusal to operate by any of the standard rules of adult (or parody) filmmaking combine to create something that feels like a feature-length sex seizure, so inept in every way it makes the not dissimilar hardcore superhero parody Waltz of the Bat look like Orson Welles by comparison. In other words, it's just the thing to pop out at a party for jaded friends who think they've seen it all.

Bat Pussy first emerged on VHS from Something Weird as a double feature with Baby Bubbles as part of the "Bucky Beaver's Dragon Art Theatre" line and soon became a word-of-mouth favorite among avid customers and intrepid members of more discerning video stores. In what might be the single most perverse decision yet in the history of the Blu-ray format, American Genre Film Archive and Something Weird teamed up to bring a new 2K HD scan of the film to the world as one of their earliest collaborations, and the results are as galvanizing as you might expect. This being the only film source around, it's littered with scuffs and scratches that have wisely been left preserved to retain the original storefront Robot Love Slavesflavor, while the DTS-HD MA English 2.0 mono track is a sonic wonder that test your home theater system's range with its heavy drawls, pops, and whirring camera sounds. In a nice touch, the original Dragon Art Theatre intro (1m14s) has also been ported over here -- gloriously transfered in HD! Robot Love Slaves

The film can also be played with a new audio commentary featuring Something Weird's Lisa Petrucci and Tim Lewis along with AGFA's Joe Ziemba and Sebastian del Castillo and Bleeding Skull's Annie Choi. Since they only have 47 minutes to fill there isn't a second of dead space as they chat about the film's discovery by filmmaker and underground comic artist Mike McCarthy, the nature of storefront adult films, the bizarre cult following, and rampant wonder at the sights unfolding on the screen. Don't miss. On the video extras side, the 1949 educational short "Dating Do's and Don'ts" (12m28s) is a charming little guide to teen dating behavior as young Woody learns how to treat a girl as he gets ready for the upcoming Central High Hi-Teen Carnival. Next up, "The Shoplifter" (19m33s) is a guide for store employees to learn how and why people get sticky fingers and how they always come up with new, crafty ways to rob stores of valuable profits. From grocery stores to department stores, no one is safe as even the most unassuming housewife could be jamming steaks in her coat and purse (years before Divine tried the same thing). "A Trip to the Storefront Theater" (1m54s) is a deeply disorienting thing with a couple going to a peep show only to see a guy getting serviced in a werewolf mask, while a reel of "Crime-Smut Trailers" features The Black Alley Cats (which has got to come out on Blu-ray in the Robot Love Slavesnear future), Dr. Carstairs' 1869 Love-Root Elixir, Street of a Thousand Pleasures, Carny Girl, Bunny and Clod, Whip's Women, The Twisted Sex, and Frigid Wife.

However, the biggest extra is an entire second feature, a slice of softcore craziness called Robot Love Slaves (53m59s). Formerly paired up Robot Love Slaveswith as a Something Weird "Bucky Beaver's Double Softies" title with The Good Fairy, it's another skeevy tale as gangly-looking scientist Clark is too distracted by his latest project to pay sufficient attention to his nagging wife, who wants him to give her warm baths because she likes to pretend she can't walk (or something). As it turns out, hubby's spending all his time in the basement turning young women (maybe from corpses; it's a little unclear) into automated robot servants apparently designed to give pleasure to anyone in sight. Various other couplings in the neighborhood ultimately culminate when wifey, hubby, and her lover all end up in the basement with some of the robot concubines, complete with a sort-of twist ending. Apparently intended to be softcore in nature (though a scene with regular early '70s performer Billy Lane is clearly unsimulated based on a few camera slip ups), this film is also listed in sources as Too Much Loving and peppers its cast with a few familiar faces like Candy Samples (enthusiastic but very unflatteringly filmed), Sandy Carey, and Sandy Dempsey, while the existing print is so splicey it makes the already patchwork construction even more baffling to follow. The disc also comes with a liner notes booklet (of course it does) with a Mike McCarthy essay about how "I Saved Bat Pussy" and a further appreciation by Petrucci, who's doing heroic work keeping the Something Weird legacy alive and dedicates the disc to the late, much-missed Mike Vraney.

Reviewed on November 18, 2017.