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The Wild World Of Batwoman
(a.k.a She Was a Hippie Vampire)
(1966)
 

Director: Jerry Warren          
Cast: Katherine Victor, George Andre, Steve Brodie


"Give her another happy pill."

WHAT THE F**K?!?!?! This movie was just as insane this second time around I watched it! It's hysterical, and there's never been anything like it before or since.

Yes, I laughed long and hard at this movie. But not in the way producer/director Warren intended. It's intended as a comedy, but the material and production is funny for reasons that Warren never intended! There's a saying that there's nothing good about a comedy that doesn't work - well, I think they should take a look at this beauty.

I'm not sure when this movie was made. My reference books list it as 1965 or 1966. If it was the latter, then it could very well have been what I think is a strong possibility - a lampoon of the Batman TV show which started in January of that year. Yes, a lampoon of a lampoon! Reminds me of the time that Cracked magazine did a parody of the second Naked Gun movie, though that wasn't very funny (has Cracked ever been?)

DC Comics wasn't very amused by this movie, and sued Warren for copyright infringement. So he changed the title to She Was a Hippy Vampire and added a new scene before the credits, showing an initiation ceremony with the participants having to drink glasses of blood. But don't worry - one of the girls explains the blood is actually, "mint, cherry, and strawberry yogurt."

After the credits, we witness a nighttime mugging, with the victim getting shot. A few feet away two "Batgirls" are hiding behind some garbage cans - How did they get there? How come they are not seen? - and report the incident on their wrist bracelet radios to Batwoman. Not really bad so far, except for the fact that this incident is never resolved or referred to again in the rest of the movie!!!

Cut to a nightclub, where we watch several minutes of go-go dancing. Two shifty men named Bruno and Tiger slip an early prototype date-rape drug into an attractive woman's drink, and they both casually pick her up and walk out of the club in front of everyone after she goes unconscious several seconds later. When she wakes up in their car, they tell her that they know she is one of the Batgirls, and plan to use her to force a deal with her leader, Batwoman.

So who is this Batwoman? We soon see her listening to the threesome's conversation on her radio set via the girl's radio wrist. Quite an unconventional heroine; a black bat tattooed above her bosom, wearing what appears to be a black teddy, dark pantyhose, black party mask, black peacock feathers on her head, and black gloves. Oh yes, and a ring with a diamond about the size of a ping-pong ball.

Batwoman eventually meets with the kidnappers at their hideout. The kidnappers work under a Dr. Neon, a very mad scientist with a wavering German accent, and his hunchback assistant Heathcliff. The kidnapped woman has been forced to take "happy pills" which make her go-go dance non-stop. Dr. Neon tries to slip Batwoman a pill in her drink, but Batwoman pulls her own switch on the doctor when they are having a teleconference with Dr. Neon's masked boss Ratfink. In a hysterical scene which can't be properly described (you'll have to see it for yourself), the doctor begins go-go dancing all over the lab, prompting Batwoman to start a fire and riot, making cover for their escape.

The bad guys desire a hearing aid that, when combined with cobalt, will create an atomic bomb, so Batwoman arranges with the hearing aid owners (after her organ recital and bikini meeting) the safekeeping of the hearing aid at her secret hideout. But Dr. Neon and his goons slap on some hilariously bogus beards and serve some happy-pilled soup for Batwoman and the girls. While everyone is go-go dancing, the bad guys....the scene ends here.

It's a big blow for Batwoman (if we assume the hearing-aid was stolen), so she holds a sťance with the owners of the aid to call the spirits for help. They manage to call a slow-talking voice who promises to help. When they ask the spirit where the villains are hiding, we suddenly hear "CHING CHONG GOLIGODO CHANG CHUNG WHOHHHHH...." Oops! The spirit lines were crossed. Batwoman tries to clear the lines, but she keeps hearing the Chinese spirit utter more incredibly bogus Chinese-sounding noises. "Would you please leave the channel free?" she asks. But it's too late, and the connection is cut. What was the point of this scene - to include some cheap racial humor? It's the one sour scene in the movie.

Batwoman and the Batgirls hit the beach to search for the villains' secret lair and for some more go-go dancing and surf instrumentals. Along the way, Ratfink manages to capture some of the girls (with almost no struggle), a secret underground city infested with monsters is revealed (which seems to be footage stolen from 1956's The Mole People), leading to a heart-pounding climatic battle/riot with Dr. Neon, the goons, Ratfink, and Ratfink's clones. As a special treat, this climax also features some of the worst editing you'll ever seen. Everything ends happily, with Dr. Neon, Heathcliff, and a reformed goon invited to the crimefighters'  poolside party.

There's nothing else I can say about a movie like this. You either buy into it, or you turn up your head and watch a Canadian art movie concerning sexual perversion. Though since you came to this page, I doubt very much that you're in the latter. At 70 minutes, this trim number delivers a lot more laughs than many legitimate comedies. And since Warden managed to do the impossible task of delivering an amusing lampoon of a lampoon, maybe we shouldn't be so quick to mock his direction skills.

Naaah!

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Also: Mistress Of The World, Sinbad Of The Seven Seas, The Apple

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