515. The Wild Wild World of Batwoman

END!! ENNNNNNNNNNNNND!!!

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For the first time in all my attempts at viewing this episode, I didn’t fall asleep partway through. What a weird movie!

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Right there with ya.

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It did have a lot of riffs that mocked the film-making, filming, directing, production, etc. I do find those riffs particularly funny, so it’s got that going. But it’s also chock full of weird 60s gratuitous gyration scenes, and those movies are just plain bizarre.

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And all that ‘staring wide eyed at the voice off-camera’ stuff.

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I like how at the beginning of the movie, the girls say they’re vampires and that is never relevant to the movie in any way.

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There’s something about the first episode you encounter from a show that you eventually become a fan of. For instance, my first Doctor Who serial was “Revenge of the Cybermen”, for which I have a great fondness even though it’s widely regarded as mediocre at best. Similarly, the opinion on this episode is very much split, though not provoking the same levels of nerd rage as certain other episodes. But it was my first proper exposure to MST3K and will always have a special place in my heart.

Much of this has to do with the infamous Cheating short, where John Taylor’s entire life is ruined when he gets caught cheating on an algebra test. Mind you, his pal Mary did a terrible job of explaining to John how factoring equations works. And that brings up a theory I’ve concocted. I posit that Mary is filled with rage over John’s inability to comprehend what she regards as a blindingly obvious process. This is why she’s not exactly discrete when she allows John to copy her answers. Her fury is such that she’s willing to take a hit to her own grades so long as John goes down in flames. An uncut copy I came across on YouTube a while back that includes a scene where the narrator comments on how Mary is starting to resent the way John takes her help for granted bolsters this hypothesis.

As for the feature, it’s clearly intended to cash in on the popularity of the 1960s Batman television series, but with a lot more cheesecake. Truth be told, it’s a colossal mess littered with scenes that either go nowhere or have no connection to the narrative. Even the main plot is poorly thought out. Rat Fink’s scheme is needlessly complicated by bringing in Batwoman and her dingbat Batbabes. Had he not deliberately drawn her in, the caper could have been pulled off with far less effort. The only reason (and it’s plausible though stupid) for him to do so is a petty desire to show up Batwoman.

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‘Revenge of the Cybermen’ ROCKS!

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I’m surprised they didn’t slip in any riffs about Otto Preminger’s weird appearance as Mr Freeze in the Adam West Batman, given the title of the film.

This is one of those episodes that depends on my mood, the phase of the moon, what I had for dinner, or something. Sometimes I think it’s pretty good and others I think it’s a dreadful slog. Watching it recently I quite enjoyed it, but the ending still dragged on a bit. Possibly sometimes I’m more easily entertained by attractive women (out of work strippers, according to legend) goofing off in the background than others. Of course, if you’re into guys, you’re pretty much limited to… uh, Heathcliff?

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Tab Hunter was busy that week. :confused:

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Yesterday I was watching Duck Soup again. It suddenly occurred to me that poor Batwoman is really miscast in her own story. She doesn’t fit in with vibe of the movie: whatever that might really be. Her true destiny was to wear beautiful gowns and play the role of befuddled but good-hearted matron to the hilt. Just like the wonderful Margaret Dumont. A character like that can only be as good as her comic foils, and those are sorely lacking in quality here.

And now I can’t unsee a pre-code, 1920s Marx Brothers’ Wild, Wild World Of Batwoman. :woozy_face:

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Fire up the time machine, we’re going back to get that made!

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Harpo doing his thing in full Superman regalia! Being asked to fly up a tree to rescue Batwoman’s stranded kitten. He and Chico (as Robin) cut the tree down with a bandsaw and the kitten ends up on Harpo’s head. So his hat twitches and meows for at least three subsequent scenes. At least one of those involve him chasing all of Batwoman’s employees on the beach, but then he’s in turn chased by Mole Men.

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Yes. This was released at the height of the popularity of the 1966 Batman show. Rushed into production for the purpose.

DC Comics had created a Batwoman character several years earlier as a possible love interest for Bruce, but she wasn’t really popular and they’d allowed her to fade away without copyrighting her.

This film was of course in no way licensed, but they figured DC owned Batman but not Batwoman. DC sued.

DC also created Batgirl and introduced her to the comics and the new season of the Batman show simultaneously, as a direct response to the movie, and Barbara Gordon turned out to have enduring popularity. (HBO notwithstanding…)

Ultimately, DC won the lawsuit and the film lost the right to have “Batwoman” in the title. Of course, by then it had already finished its theater release and gotten as much as it was going to get at the box office… So, naturally, the producer gave it the new title “She Was A Hippie Vampire” and released it again, making just as much money at the drive-ins as the first time.

The women were never intended to be vampires at all. It’s an affectation. Batwoman plays the piano much the same way Dracula plays an organ, she has the bat crest vaguely like a vampire medallion, and the girls drink a ceremonial cup of red wine as an initiation into the group. Possibly this interpretation of the bat theme was intended to ward off the inevitable DC lawsuit.

Decades later, DC brought back the Kate Kane Batwoman as a lesbian character, which is the version seen in the short-lived CW TV series.

The funny thing is that, even though it was made to capitalize on the Adam West show, the whole thing is deliberately made in the style of the 1940s Batman serials. (Rifftrax fans may be familiar with those.)

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Having just rewatched this… I was wrong. It’s not wine that they use in place of blood for the initiation. It’s a strawberry cherry yogurt smoothie. My apologies.

But, man, this is a weird one.

Our hero: Renowned costumed crimefighter, Batwoman! She… Uhm… She sits around her modest suburban home and… Uh… Radios her field agents? Okay.

Her Bat Girls: They… Have no discernable skills whatsoever. They cannot fight. They cannot detect clues. They… watch a man get mugged and murdered, and… radio it in? They get drugged and/or captured a lot. Otherwise, they wear bikinis and dance around and stuff. And recite oaths. Oh, and when they’re sent out to find the evil lair where a very dangerous stolen device with terrible national security implications and a vulnerability that could cause it to explode has been secreted away (along with one of their comrades), they… Stop as a group to dance on the beach and make out with guys. Brilliant.

Lucky for them…

Our villain: Rat Fink! Notorious crime lord and Batwoman’s arch nemesis. For years, he and his gang have been pulling off brilliant crimes, only to be thwarted time and again by Batwoman, always escaping capture to try again. Or so we’re told. In actuality, he… Calls his henchmen and gives them orders, and that’s about it.

The henchmen: Dr. Neon has invented a drug that makes people dance for a few minutes. He also has a fondness for monsters from an older movie. His idiotic hunchback is actually his previous friend and financier, who reverts to a primitive state when hit on the head or is subjected to an untested drug that Dr. Neon was developing 14 years ago. Also, there are a few mooks who wish they had the intelligence and competence of the Three Stooges.

The plot: Yes, there is one. Rat Fink, in his civilian identity, has developed an “atomic hearing aid,” which allows the user to eavesdrop on any phone call anywhere. As mentioned, such a thing has grave national security implications. But… It’s actually the culmination of his years-long criminal career. Because… Eavesdropping on other people’s phone calls is his kink. So… He created a costumed criminal identity, complete with secret lair, henchmen, monsters, etc. so that he could… Steal the hearing aid from his own vault at his own company. The patent application was turned down and, for some reason, the device was legally ordered destroyed. So he could have just taken it out of the vault, told everyone it was destroyed, and been done with it. But instead he went the supervillain route. Which actually made things even harder because he told Batwoman his target while attempting to coerce her into stealing the thing for him. So he had to figure out how to steal the thing while it was under the guard of all her Bat Girls. Luckily for him, as mentioned, their main skill is being drugged.

Also, for some reason, Batwoman has a racist seance.

Anyway, Batwoman deliberately has her girls get captured (it’s what they do best) so she can track them to Rat Fink’s lair. Because this time she gave them all tracking devices. For security, Rat Fink’s lair can only be accessed if someone buzzes you in, but, unlike Batwoman’s house, there’s no CCTV to verify that the person on the other side of the door is the one you’re expecting. So they buzz Batwoman right in, just in time to stop Rat Fink from forcibly breeding all the Bat Girls with the Mole People from another film.

And then there’s some more attempted 60s comedy. It’s every bit as hilarious as the comic relief in Catalina Caper.

I just… It’s a Batman parody attempting to cash in on the Adam West show, which was already a Batman parody, but they decided to parody the 1940s Batman serials instead, and completely missed out on the part where it’s supposed to be funny.

And… Rat Fink’s entire plan makes zero sense. If all he wanted was to listen to ordinary phone conversations, he… sigh

But who am I kidding? 80% of this movie is scantily clad women dancing. The rest is just an excuse for that.

Oh, and the director’s girlfriend has a bat painted on her chest so you have an excuse to stare at that region.

Oh, look! The girls are lined up end to end to END!!!

(I still don’t understand how the prototype was legally ordered to be destroyed just because the patent was denied. That’s not how that works. Or why the government is not interested in a device that’s so powerful. Also, a patent application requires you to submit blueprints and a detailed description of what the device does and how it works. Which really seems like a bad idea, given Rat Fink’s plan. I guess maybe he sabotaged the patent application? Or lied about it?)

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I had forgotten how much Batwoman had a Siouxsie Sioux look.

And, are the Batgirls vampires? I…didn’t get that at all from a rewatch.

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They say they’re vampires at the very beginning when they initiate the new girl we never see again and that also never comes up again.

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They say they are, but are they really?

I can say I’m the pope, but that doesn’t mean that I am.

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Someone (I think on Reddit) suggested that the scene was shot after the rest of the film (hence none of the women being in the movie) in order to show that this wasn’t a Batman knock-off. Because Batman isn’t a vampire, you see.

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It’s their initiation into the group. The ritual. You become a Bat Girl by drinking from the chalice full of red liquid, proving your dedication by… Oh. We can tell you now. It’s a strawberry smoothie.

But, yes. They had to legally distance themselves from Batman. Which is also what let them re-release the film as “She Was A Hippie Vampire” after the DC lawsuit made them promise to remove “Batwoman” from the title.

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