Monday, February 21, 2011

THE DREAMER HAS AWAKENED: Tura Satana (1938-2011)

Tura Satana (the former Tura Luna Pascual Yamaguchi) died of heart failure on February 4,  2011 at the age of 72.  Her tough,  yet feminine presence,  exotic multi-ethnic looks,  and ample figure  made her something of an icon to breast fetishists like director Russ Meyer and an influence on later movie amazons like those found in Quentin Tarantino's KILL BILL movies.  Like the heroine in those films,  it is rumored she was attacked by men at an early age and later exacted revenge on each of them after learning martial arts.  Prior to her film work,  she sought employment as a nude model,  exotic dancer,  and TV actress.  Ms. Satana found her breakthrough role as the quick tempered Varla in Meyer's FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! (1965),  a screen first in her portrayal of an aggressive,  no nonsense,  sexy,  and violent leader of a gang of like-minded females on the prowl for "kicks".  Women's Lib never seemed this threatening to men,  as Varla's sacastic wit,  her quick and brutal attacks on male stupidity,  and murderous ways made plain.  The film was originally titled LEATHER GIRLS,  but was changed as Tura became Varla,  whose sense of style and attitude brought both tension and energy to the production.  Other odes to female violence followed,  including  Ted V. Mikel's THE ASTRO ZOMBIES (1969)  and  THE DOLL SQUAD (1974).  She never became a star in the Hollywood sense,  but remained a powerful figure for lovers of cult cinema not only through her film roles ,  but through an extensive web presence (see

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