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The Bootleg Files: Bat Pussy

BOOTLEG FILES 613: “Bat Pussy” (early 1970s porn flick).

LAST SEEN: At this year’s Fantastic Fest.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On VHS and DVD.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A rather inane violation of copyright protection.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Actually, there is a newly restored Blu-ray edition.

During the 1960s, DC Comics began to flex its litigation muscles when it discovered creative artists were borrowing its beloved Batman character without clearing permission. The company forced Andy Warhol to withdraw his “Batman Dracula” film, which was only being presented in art exhibitions and not theaters, while director/producer Jerry Warren fended off DC Comics’ lawyers after he put forth “The Wild World of Batwoman.” The threat of lawsuits also helped to keep several Philippines-based productions with their own unauthorized Batman characters from being imported across the Pacific, including the now-lost 1967 “Batman Fights Dracula.”

Existing far under the radar of the DC Comics’ legal team was another production that took liberty with the company’s intellectual property. However, referring to “Bat Pussy” in the same sentence as “intellectual property” is not an easy thing to accomplih. “Bat Pussy” may not be the worst film of all time, but it is certainly a frontrunner for being among the stupidest and dreariest things to find its way through a movie projector. And not unlike many painfully bad films, its back story is more intriguing than anything that occurs on screen.

“Bat Pussy” begins abruptly, with no opening credits. The action takes place in a bedroom, but the flat lighting and obvious set decoration gives the impression that filming was done in a department store’s furniture display. A middle-aged couple are in the midst of bickering about sex. Buddy, with his slicked-back hair and strange little tattoos dotting his body, is drooling over a couple of Screw Magazine and complaining to his companion that she should follow the carnal examples of the women in the publication. Sam, the lady enjoying Buddy’s company, is rather large woman with freckled skin and a hairdo that looks like a capybara is curled up on her skull. After much cajoling by Buddy, she agrees to give him a blow job. But either Sam needs to work on her Linda Lovelace act or Buddy’s little buddy lost its zing, because Buddy never (pardon the too-obvious) rises to the occasion.

Throughout their coupling, Buddy and Sam engage in a running conversation that is peppered with non-sequiturs, obscure threats, and surreal observations. Buddy claims that Sam is an incompetent prostitute, compares her vagina to a “washtub” and later proclaims, “I’m gonna fuck my secretary right in the ass and then come home and make you suck my dick.” For her part, Sam bitterly laments, “My horoscope said to get another man.” The couple speak in thick Dixie accents, and neither seems concerned that a boom microphone is dangling above their love- and hate-making.

After 10 minutes of this tomfoolery, the film abruptly switches to the secret world of Bat Pussy, also known as Dora Dildo. The rather haggard looking Ms. Dildo operates out what appears to be a small office in a warehouse, with the handwritten sign “Bat Pussy Headquarters” taped to the wall. This crime fighter has an even thicker Dixie accent than the other two characters, and she starts to complain that something foul is happening whenever her “twat begins to twitch.” Realizing that a crime is being committed in her “holy Gotham City,” she quickly gets into her Bat Pussy uniform – a terrible handmade imitation of Adam West’s Batman costume – and she emerges into the daylight via an outhouse door. Bat Pussy then gets on a big red Space Hopper and begins bouncing along to root out the sexual miscreants.

While on her odyssey to stop the crime, Bat Pussy stops to relieve herself under a tree and then uses her Space Hopper to fend off a ruffian attacking a woman. However, the camera is positioned about 500 feet away from the action, and incongruous surfer music blares while these barely visible actions occur. Bat Pussy is then seen bouncing her way along a highway and arrives at the entrance of an apartment complex, where she rushes in on Buddy and Sam.

But rather than apprehend the tiresome couple, Bat Pussy disrobes her costume and joins them in a trio. Buddy keeps babbling about how happy he is that “Bat Woman” joined them, and his enthusiasm is so great that he pushes the naked superhero out of the bed, where she lands on her head. Despite this threesome coupling, there is no sexual intercourse – just a lot of rolling around, surface contact and gabbing. The non-stop conversation abruptly hits a pause, which enables an off-screen male voice to instruct the performers on how to continue. After a few minutes of decidedly non-erotic passion, the film abruptly stops.

The most obvious question related to this film is: Who is responsible for this mess? To date, no one has been able to produce an answer. “Bat Pussy” appears to have been made sometime in late 1970, as the Screw Magazine held up by Buddy has been identified as being published on September 14 of that year. The Southern accents are also difficult to pinpoint, with various sources guessing that the film was shot in either Alabama, Arkansas or Texas. And with a 50-minute running time, “Bat Pussy” was clearly intended as a top-of-the-bill attraction for the fast-growing adult cinema industry that blossomed in the early 1970s.

However, the production made no impact upon its initial release – no advertisement or adult media coverage of the film was published during that era. “Bat Pussy” would have escaped into oblivion had it not been for musician and filmmaker Mike McCarthy, who found the only known 16mm print among 200 boxes of discarded porno films in a back room of a one-time adult cinema in Memphis, Tennessee. McCarthy sold this discovery to Mike Vraney, founder of exploitation distribution company Something Weird Video, who released “Bat Pussy” on VHS video and later on DVD.

In 2015, “Bat Pussy” became the second Something Weird title to undergo a 2K digital transfer (“The Zodiac Killer” was the first). The newly restored print debuted at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, in September and was released in a Blu-ray edition last month.

But what about DC Comics? Well, apparently “Bat Pussy” has generated so little notoriety that the company has yet to aim its lawyers at preventing the flaccid film’s release. Of course, dragging “Bat Pussy” into court would be providing it with a level of credibility that it clearly does not deserve. And if the film’s puerile contents are any evidence, the filmmakers and their chatterbox cast wouldn’t know a copyright if they fell over one.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: While this weekly column acknowledges the presence of rare film and television productions through the so-called collector-to-collector market, this should not be seen as encouraging or condoning the unauthorized duplication and distribution of copyright-protected material, either through DVDs or Blu-ray discs or through postings on Internet video sites.

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  • Saw it on VHS in the early 90s, out of curiosity. Ick. Not funny, either intentionally or unintentionally, and anti-erotic to boot. Shocked to see this crap revived today as camp. Still, I love McCarthy and Vraney’s work, and I’m happy it’s preserved to torment millennials.