Friday, October 17, 2008

Nerd Girl of Note #6

Who is it? Tura Satana
Why do nerds love her? Varla in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, a Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode, and The Doll Squad.
Nerd, or just loved by nerds? She is an honest to goodness badass.
Websites: Official Website

Tura Satana's life has been a roller coaster. It should be a movie in itself. Born in Japan and moved to the United States, Tura Satana found herself in an internment camp with her family during World War II. They later moved to Chicago where she was raped by five men at the age of nine. She spent the next fifteen years learning akido and karate, the tracking the rapists down and exacting revenge. She then moved to Los Angeles and modeled for Harold Lloyd, but contracted makeup poisoning, and returned to Chicago. Lloyd had told her she should be in movies, and this later came true.

Satana's best known role is as "Varla" in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965). Varla was probably film's first real tough chick, mostly because Satana was tough and a trained fighter. In the DVD commentary for Foxy Brown (1974, Pam Grier) writer/director Jack Hill discusses how hard it was to get realistic fight scenes with women because at the time women were less athletic, save for some stunt women who may not have had the looks for the leading roles. Satana was the exception ten years earlier.

Probably the better role for Satana was as "Satana" in The Astro-Zombies (1968). This was not the action-packed role Varla was, but had far more nuance and showed off her acting better. The Astro-Zombies was the beginning of Satana's career with writer/director Ted V. Mikels who later cast her as "Lavella Sumara" in The Doll Squad (1973).

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