Monday, September 7, 2015

The Wild World of Batwoman

What do you get when you combine go-go-girls, seances, "happy" pills, hearing aids, bare midriffs, lecherous middle-aged men, "Oriental languages," chocolate milk, the Watusi, mad scientists, pool parties and government surveillance?
The Wild World of Batwoman, that's what!
Another flick that operates on an Ed Wood-level of competence, The Wild World of Batwoman is an odd hodgepodge of leftover plot points and cheap sets. It makes the 60s Batman television series look like Game of Thrones..
There's an odd opener of two blondes (one of whom looks a lot like Amy Schumer) and a brunette in baby doll nighties blathering about strawberry yogurt and vampires--apparently this bit was tacked on when the producers were sued for copyright infringement (Who knows why they wouldn't want their intellectual property associated with such a fine work of art as this?) and the movie had to be retitled She Was a Hippy Vampire, although this is all we will hear of vampires. Picking up scraps is part of the the aesthetic of The Wild World of Batwoman--the monster shots are cut in from another movie, there's also street footage of what might be Sweden.
Batwoman is played by une femme d'un certain age with a cockade of Siouxsie Sioux hair, a bustier and a Batman symbol drawn on her cleavage--with eyebrow pencil, I'm guessing. The Batgirls seem to be a random assortment of go-go dancers and cocktail waitresses who recite a lot of Girl Scout-like oaths and "fight evil with all sincerity." We see a guy get mugged, a Batgirl get roofied and kidnapped--the Batgirls' crime-fighting skills seem to be limited to the Frug, the Pony and calling for help. Compared to them, Yvonne Craig's Batgirl is Imperator Furiosa.
So, one of the Batgirls is kidnapped by a couple of motley henchmen and an inept mad scientist with the standard creepy deformed assistant. It turns out they are in the service of Batwoman's arch-enemy, Rat Fink--no idea if he's related to Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's Rat Fink or the Rat Pfink of Rat Pfink a Boo-Boo. Apparently he is trying to get hold of some magical hearing aid that can eavesdrop on anyone, anywhere. And it's also an atomic bomb. Or something.
You know the Ajax company that occasionally pops up in the Disney universe, employers of incompetent ghost exterminators and spluttering ducks? They are too high-end for The Wild World of Batwoman, hence they use the knockoff, factory seconds version...
So, there's much rushing back and forth and escaping and getting kidnapped. The mad scientist keeps dispensing happy pills to everyone, because somehow there's not enough footage of Batgirls (and the occasional hunchbacked assistant) endlessly go-go dancing in midriff tops. That's what the happy pills make you do: Gyrate like it's inpatient talent night on American Bandstand.
Then our plot takes another bizarre turn as suddenly Batwoman needs to contact the spirit world (by holding hands around a table, these folks being too cheap to spring for a Ouija board) to tell her where the bad guys' lair is. Which is odd, because Batwoman has already been to said lair, but "it was dark" and she just can't find it now. Huh? Is it in one of those subdivisions where all the streets are named for types of cacti and all of the houses look alike? Which is actually entirely possible--like the "torture chamber" of Olga's Girls was obviously someone's basement full of random stuff, the "lab" in The Wild World of Batwoman is clearly a garage down to the shelves of cardboard boxes and side door entrance.

The Wild World of Batwoman is dopey and illogical but amusing nonetheless. It's girl power at its goofiest--actually, Amy Schumer's next movie should be a low-budget piece of superchick schlock with Neil Sedaka's "Bad Blood" as a theme song. All the girls will be non-supermodels--Melissa McCarthy, Margaret Cho, Kristen Schaal, Niecy Nash, Jinkx Monsoon, Fran Liebowitz, holographic LaWanda Page. They can let Jennifer Lawrence be their Lena Dunham, maybe bring John Waters out of retirement...

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