The film about the legendary Japanese film star will feature interviews with the director and other enthusiasts
A Kickstarter has been launched to fund a documentary about actress and cult icon Tura Satana. The film, entitled Tura!, will be directed and produced by Cody Jarrett, who said of Tura, “any kick-ass leading lady you see in movies today? Tura was there first. She blazed the trail for them and deserves recognition for that”.
John Waters, Dita Von Teese, Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon, and others are set to feature in the doc, with Satana’s friend and manager Siouxzan Perry co-producing, and narration by actress and comedienne Margaret Cho. A clip of an interview with Waters that features in the trailer highlights how the cult director in particular is a huge fan of both Satana and iconic filmmaker Russ Meyer, who made Valley of the Dolls and the film that launched Satana into stratospheric icon status, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. Waters isn't the only one though; Satana’s massive influence premeates far-reaching corners of pop culture, even though many haven’t even heard of her or her legacy. This doc hopes to change that.
The film, with a Kickstarter goal of $50,000, will feature several interviews and take an indepth look at Satana’s career and life. She was probably best known for playing Varla, the leader of a gang of deadly go-go dancers, in softcore king Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, for which she performed her own stunts.
The documentary will also look at her life outside of films, which is arguably far more interesting. The Japanese-born Satana moved to the US with her family in 1942, where she spent two and a half years in an internment camp. Even after her family reunited and relocated to Chicago, Satana felt the stigma of her Japanese heritage and was heavily bullied. One day, just before she turned ten, she was gang-raped by a group of men and left for dead down an alley. They were never prosecuted, and Satana muses in her unpublished autobiography that, “everyone blames you for being raped, not the rapist”, a chilling sentiment that is as relevant today as it was then. Following the attack Satana’s father taught her martial arts, and over the next 15 years she exacted her own unspecified revenge on her rapists, saying, "I made a vow to myself that I would someday, somehow, get even with all of them. They never knew who I was until I told them."
Satana overcame repeated, unimaginable hardship and never let herself be a victim. Her legacy is near-mythological; she reportedly dated Elvis and Frank Sinatra, formed a gang, was a burlesque dancer whose acts combined martial arts with nipple tassles. The Kickstarter page states that, as well as the obvious, the reasons for making this documentary are that, “Tura’s accomplishments and vast influence remain largely unrecognised”.
Tura fought long and hard for gains that others have since reaped the benefits from. It’s time to set the story straight! Tura didn’t just ‘open the door’ for modern Hollywood’s dominant leading ladies, she literally kicked that hole through the wall, blazing the path for others to follow”. You can watch the advance trailer for Tura! above.