BAT PUSSY (?) Blu-ray
Director: ?
American Genre Film Archive/Something Weird Video/MVD Visual

The WTF?! experience that is Something Weird Video's BATPUSSY is now even more of an assault on the senses with AGFA's Blu-ray.

When Dora Dildo's twat twitches, she knows that some criminal is defiling her "Gotham City" and sets out to root out the perpetrators as her alter ego Batpussy. This time around, it is diversion-seeking Buddy – whose pinky ring and multiple tattoos suggest that he is not the office executive he portrays himself as – and Sam who have committed the crime of making a fuck film without Batpussy… I guess. Although her warehouse lair is disguised on the outside as an outhouse, Batpussy makes a detour bouncing across the landscape on her red Hippity Hop to relieve herself. Meanwhile, things are not exactly heating up between Buddy and Sam whose bickering makes one wonder just which of the two codependents is the masochist in this relationship.

A storefront theater film that has baffled even the most respected exploitation experts with its unknown provenance, BATPUSSY seems to have been made in 1970 going by the Screw magazine cover on view in the first scene, and is as such regarded as the first porn parody. Despite the nauseating amount of oral-genital contact, this can't exactly be called a hardcore film as possibly drunk or high Buddy cannot get it up while he may just suffocate himself in his extremely impairment state diving into to Sam's nether regions. Not only is the film a train wreck for the eyes, it also recreates that feeling of being paralyzed by awkwardness in the company of a couple airing their dirty laundry (and everything in this film is dirty) in front of you with such retorts as "You wouldn't know how to eat someone if you were doing your grandmother!" and Buddy comparing Sam's vagina to a washtub. This cannot have been what the uncredited director intended, and one gets the impression that he might have scrapped the film if he had been required to do any post-production sound work on the film apart from the score and muting the live sound whenever Buddy turns over to respond to direction relayed from behind the camera. The boom microphone occasionally dips into the frame and the camera rarely moves (when it does, it moves right in on the action), the only penetration is performed by Buddy upon herself and Batpussy with a dildo, and our protagonist eventually just says "Fuck this!" and walks out on the scene. BAT PUSSY may very well ruin sex for life for its viewers (this reviewer has subsequently found the sight of beehive hairdos triggering).

Transferred from the only known 16mm print in existence and restored in 2K by the American Genre Film Archive, BAT PUSSY's 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.33:1 pillarboxed fullscreen Blu-ray boasts a softish but colorful image beneath a litany of lime green scratches, stains, and splotches, with the enhanced resolution offering more opportunities to notice details that may prove revelatory about where and when the film was shot. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtrack is clear enough for the "improvised" dialogue to come through clearer than ever before, but it is unfortunate that this is the first of the AGFA Blu-rays not to include English SDH subtitles to help the viewer in committing the highly quotable dialogue to memory.

The film is accompanied by a rowdy audio commentary track by Something Weird's Lisa Petrucci and Tim Lewis, along with AGFA's Joe Ziemba and Sebastian del Castillo, and Bleeding Skull's Annie Choi. Even with the 2K restoration they can offer little more factoids about the film's making other than pointing out that the Razorbacks tattoo on Buddy's buttock suggests the film was shot in Arkansas rather than Texas as was speculated before, and that Buddy and Sam may indeed be a real-life couple as one can see that both wear wedding bands. There is also some interesting speculation that the film might have been an attempt by a storefront theater owner to make his own product only for everything to go wrong (there's a speculative fiction movie in there somewhere) while also puzzling over just how this film go so much projection to be in its current state. Petrucci and Lewis discuss the Dragon Art Theater collection (which cribbed a filmed intro from Kentucky-based producer/theater manager Donn Davidson's storefront shows) on which BAT PUSSY made its VHS debut, the 1997 catalogue Blue Book supplement and its various essay contributors, and Vraney's acquisition of the 16mm film lot (excavated by punk musician Mike McCarthy) from an Ohio theater in which the film was found.

In the tradition of Something Weird/Image Entertainment DVDs, the film is supplemented with the 1949 Coronet Instructional “Dating Do's and Don'ts” short subject (12:28), the short “The Shoplifter” (19:33), “A Trip to the Storefront Theater” (1:54) – which seems to compile footage from different sources to simulate the titular journey (complete with an intermission screen telling viewers to put it back in their pants in time for intermission), and "Crime-Smut Trailers" from the Something Weird Vault like THE BLACK ALLEY CATS, 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. Here, we also get a bonus feature in ROBOT LOVE SLAVES (53:59) with a more recognizable cast (at least some of them).

Frustrated by his wife Marge who blames him for the accident that made her an invalid, Clark has been working on creating a robot woman in his basement. After his first success, he creates a couple more and tests them first himself and then sends one (Sandy Dempsey, PANAMA RED) to his friend (Billy Lane, OH! YOU BEAUTIFUL "DOLL") for a blind date and one (Sandy Carey, DEEP JAWS) to entertaining an investor (Adam Ward, SWINING SORORITY) and his swinging wife (Candy Samples, FLESH GORDON) before patenting what he believes will be a highly successful invention. Little does Clark know that Marge has been faking her injury and has been plotting with her doctor to relieve him of his five-million dollar inheritance. Although there is no title on the print – and IMDb specifies an alternate title as TOO MUCH LOVING – ROBOT LOVE SLAVE proves to be the more "conventional" of the storefront films on the set. The film is softcore but there is definitely some hardcore sex going on (at least in the case of the Dempsey/Lane scene). The budget is just as limited but the performances, coverage, and editing call less attention to themselves however stilted; yet, one would be hard-pressed to actually call this the better of the two films. The 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.33:1 shows less, or at least different kinds of, wear than BAT PUSSY but Something Weird and Dragon Art viewers will know what to expect (and not to expect that anything better will turn up). Also included in the case is a booklet featuring an essay by Mike McCarthy about his discovering of the film titled "I Saved Bat Pussy" as well as an appreciation by Lisa Petrucci. (Eric Cotenas)