BlokeBusting The Essentials #100: The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
Your deep dive into the top 100 Superhero films of all time!
#100: The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
Don’t Be A Menace To South Gotham While Taking Your Pills On The Beach
So, here we are. We’re starting our (re)reviews of every film on the 100 Essential Superhero Movies – Ranked (up to 2017) with number 100. And that is The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman, otherwise billed as She Was A Hippy Vampire. There are a few things wrong with all that, but we’ll get to them. Firstly, let’s cover my overall impression of the “film”:
This film is weird. Really weird. I’ve seen many strange films in my life, especially given that part of my Film Studies degree involved watching French Avant-Garde cinema, yet this is probably in my top 3. I knew nothing about the making of the film before watching it (or even that it existed before agreeing to review it), and even after reading up on it I am still no closer to understanding it. It seemed to be about Batwoman, though the character in question is both NOTHING like the Batwoman from the comics and surprisingly absent from large parts of the film. In fact, if I had to pick a leading lady from the film, it would be the “Batgirl” who gets kidnapped and put in a cage. She’s in a large number of scenes (though usually dancing around silently) AND she does more to influence the ending than Batwoman. And speaking of the plot….
I have no idea what happened in this film. It’s been a day since I watched it and the events of the film as I recall them are:
• 3 women are vampires, but aren’t vampires, because they drank a drink and they work for Batwoman. (Seriously, don’t even worry about it. It doesn’t ever really come up and is utterly useless information.)
• Batwoman answers a phonecall.
• Somebody wants a hearing aid.
• A scientist has been turned into Igor.
• A Batgirl gets kidnapped.
• Said Batgirl effectively seduces a henchman.
• Batwoman eventually saves the kidnapped women (because suddenly more than one has been caught) with a hairdryer-esque gun.
There is one thing I can promise you though. That run-through of the plot makes more sense than actually watching the film. The characters are terrible. There’s no depth to anyone, the costumes are ridiculous (Batwoman is effectively a burlesque dancer who doesn’t dance) and the script is INSTANTLY forgettable. I had more than one moment where a scene finished and I realised that I couldn’t remember anything that the characters had said. The sad part is that despite this I was still able to understand the story. So to summarise: this film is paper thin, has an awful script and is very confusing. Effectively the same thing that those who aren’t fans of comic-book films say about all comic-book films. I finally understand what they mean!
Before Paul reaches the end of his review, Bubbawheat is here and I thought I’d also take the time to revisit this film and share a bit more of why I decided to add it to this list. It’s been a while since I watched this film, and even though I didn’t remember very much of this film I decided to watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version. I did this mainly because it was the most readily available format to watch, and considering the quality of the film I didn’t think I would miss much. Even so, It was difficult for me to want to pay too much attention to what was going on within the movie. It still felt like a 60’s era campy mockbuster along the lines of the more recent Sharknado series. At the time, the most relevant superhero property was Adam West’s Batman which was a comedy through and through, and as a result, this movie felt like a parody of a parody in a similar fashion of the worst of the Scary Movie successors. There’s very little substance to the film, instead it’s just an excuse for gag after gag, and much of it doesn’t hold up fifty years later.
As far as its history, it was made by producer and director Jerry Warren as one of his last fully original films. He made a name for himself at the time by taking foreign films, adding a small handful of new scenes with American actors, re-editing them and releasing them in the US. It was much cheaper at the time than producing an entirely new feature from scratch. Even with this film, he managed to use alternative footage for a few scenes pulled from other foreign films. One of the most interesting bits of trivia was that DC Comics filed a lawsuit against Warren due to the obvious similarities to Batman albeit in name only. While the timeline is difficult to determine, there was a completely superfluous scene in the beginning of the movie that described the Batwomen as “synthetic vampires” who drank yogurt instead of blood which may have been added in response to the lawsuit. The film was also retitled at one point, either due to the lawsuit, or for a re-release years later after the popularity of Batman had died down as “She Was a Hippie Vampire”. Regardless of when those changes happened, Warren actually won the lawsuit and his Batwoman was ruled to not have stepped on Batman’s intellectual property’s toes. But enough from me, let’s find out what Paul has left to say about this film.
And now it’s time for the big questions, ones that I’ll be asking in every review on this blog. They are as follows:
1) Would I recommend this film to others?
2) Does it deserve to be on this list?
This is an interesting one, because my answer to these might surprise you. I’ll go in order, because that’s what you do with a list of only 2.
1) Yes, with a caveat. I would only recommend this film to those who I feel could sit through it. I know many people who would have trouble watching this for one reason or another, and so I would probably tell them to skip it. However, those who want to see what is one of the first fan-fiction films (Screw you Twilight, you’re not even original in a conceptual fashion!) made on the cheap, those who love seeing the schlock-horror acting and set design or those who want to see some good, ol’ fashioned Go-Go dancing, this is for you!
2) Yes. See, I told you you’d be surprised. This film isn’t good, but that’s not the only thing you need to know. This is a film that came about because the writer/director loved the Batman series so much that he felt he had to create something using a character that he enjoyed. It truly is one of the first fan-made films and it shows. But even so, it’s earned a place in the history of Superhero films. I would never put this film higher up the list, but it would be a mistake not to include it.
There you go folks! I hope you enjoyed reading this at least twice as much as I enjoyed writing it. Until next time, make sure to keep an eye out for that Bat-Signal (Oh yeah, that isn’t in this either) and keep watching the skis…. oh, um, skies!!