The Wild World of Batwoman (1966)

WWOBW

Written and Directed by Jerry Warren

Tagline: Her thrills rip forth in wide wild adventure!

Run Time: 102 min

“We’re vampires alright…but only in a synthetic sense.”
– Vampire girl


After the release of The Wild World of Batwoman (WWOBW from now on), director Jerry Warren was promptly sued by the owners of the "Batman" character. After a long and drawn out court battle, Warren won the suit, but added an extra scene to the beginning of the film in order to "distance" the picture from "Batman". The scene involves 3 sorority girls drinking fake blood in order to get into the "Batwomen" cabal, therefore, reasoned Warren, the "Bat" in "Batwoman" is really referring to vampires not "Batman". See? It was all an honest mistake! (He even retitled the film She Was A Hippy Vampire to further tie the film to ‘vampires’.)

It’s hard to figure out what this movie was meant to be. A parody? An action film? Both? Whatever the original intentions may have been, the film fails grandly. In a strange way, it has a Monster A-Go Go feel to it, in that the film is made up of several different films all spliced together in an effort to form a story. Events occur without warning or reason. Scenes are jarringly edited together. Good stuff here.

Well, the sooner we start this, the sooner we can get it over with.

WWOBWLike I mentioned above, the opening scene reveals 3 young women holding an initiation ceremony into…dum dum dum! The Batwomen!

"Under article 21 paragraph 2…we accept your allegiance as a Batgirl", begins the supposed leader of the trio. "You will obey all rules and all orders handed down through channels", she continues.

They then hand the new initiate a glass of fake blood. She takes a drink, grimaces, and then breaks out in a giggle. The other two girls join her in laughter as the leader remarks "We’re vampires allright…but only in a synthetic sense!" Hmmm.

As mentioned in the introduction, director Jerry Warren added the previous scene to the film after it was already released in response to a lawsuit by the owners of the "Batman" franchise. This lame, pointless scene was bolted onto the beginning in a half-hearted effort to show that the movie is inspired by ‘vampires’ not ‘Batman’.

By the way, don’t worry about those 3 girls. They are never seen nor referred to ever again.

Start credits.

The first scene begins completely out of focus. Thankfully, the cameraman eventually realizes his error and turns the focus ring on the camera, revealing a deserted alley. A lone man makes his way down the shadowy road when suddenly a voice calls out "Hey, gotta light?" As he digs out his lighter, another figure steps out from the shadows. (Strangely the dialog at this point is obviously added in post processing, and it would appear that the same actor is providing the voices for all three characters in this scene.)

OK, no names here, so let’s make some up. We have Lone Guy, Bad Guy 1, and Bad Guy 2. Lone Guy lights BG1’s cigarette, well, that’s not entirely correct. LG holds the lighter up to BG1’s smoke and an off-camera stage hand shines a flash light into the actor’s face in order to simulate the light from the flame. I’m telling the truth. Really.

WWOBWBG2 comes up from behind LG and sticks a pistol in the small of his back. "OK, you want [my wallet]", LG says as he slowly backs up, "you’ll just have to come and get it." BG2, being a Bad Guy shoots Lonely Guy. We of course don’t actually see the actual shooting. Instead we watch a couple women hiding behind a garbage can who themselves are watching the crime. (You know what I mean.)

After the shooting, BG2 looks at the gun in shock, as if he had expected a flag with the word "BANG!" to have come out of the barrel upon pulling the trigger. Tossing the gun to the ground, BG2 runs off while BG1 searches the dead body for a wallet.

Meanwhile, the Girl To The Left (Thanks again…no names) makes a call on her wrist radio, "Batgirl 14 to Batwoman…Batgirl 14 to Batwoman…" The crime is reported and the two Batgirls await further instructions.

Oh yeah. Don’t worry. You’ll never see or hear anything about this murder ever again.

Next, in what seems to be an entirely different film, we are treated to some great 1960’s butt-wiggling dance scenes. A gaggle of about 7 girls are really shaking everything they got for everything it’s worth (if you get my drift) to the rock-n-roll sounds of a band. In fact, the band is so good that we see only the drummer actually playing while we hear music from guitars and pianos. Man! That drummer is really good!!!

WWOBWOne of the girls goes to the bar and is immediately offered a drink by a sleazy guy we later find out is named Tiger. Tiger goes to the other side of the bar where his fellow nogoodnick, Bruno, slips a drug into the unsuspecting girl’s drink.

Cut to see more booty-shaking.

Cut back to the bar to see that the girl has passed out.

Nice editing.

Bruno and Tiger carry the unconscious girl out to their getaway car as we cut back to one more dancing scene. Can’t get enough dancing. No sirree.

WWOBWLater the girl regains consciousness to find herself seated between Bruno and Tiger in the front seat of a patently bogus car. (The type of car where the guy "driving" is always jerking the steering wheel back and forth no matter what how straight the road being shown on the back-projection screen behind the car. In this movie, however, there is nothing shown behind the car, just a black screen. I guess it must be nighttime. Or else they’re driving in a cave.)

Tiger explains to the Batgirl that she’ll be going on a boat ride. (How do we know she’s a Batgirl? Tiger addresses her as such. How does Tiger know she’s a Batgirl? I have no idea.)

Anyway, Batgirl turns on her wrist radio and ‘casually’ places her arm on Bruno’s shoulder. When Batgirl asks Bruno where he’s taking her, he doesn’t notice that he’s divulging his evil plans to the Batgirls listening in via the radio. Duh. The Batgirls realize that the other Batgirl has been kidnapped and call Batwoman on the "central line". (This whole escapade is so ham-fisted and contrived it makes my head hurt.)

In what appears to be yet another movie thrown into the mix, we cut and see a masked, caped man stalking outside a house. A phone rings and he jumps back from a window he was attempting to peer through. (What does all this have to do with Batwoman? Who is this masked man? What the hell is going on here?)

Cut to Batwoman’s headquarters. As the camera pans up her long, stockinged legs, we see the leader of the Batgirls herself: Batwoman.

WWOBWThe actress who portrays Batwoman, Kathrine Victor, is rumored to have created her costume herself by going through her closets and putting on whatever odds-and-ends she happened to find. I would tend to think these rumors are true. Kathrine has in fact appeared in several bad-movie ‘classics’ in her career, namely Mesa of Lost Women (1953), Teenage Zombies (1959), and The Cape Canaveral Monsters(1960). Perhaps Kathrine’s crowning jewel was her role as ‘Sheila Frankenstein von Helsing’ in Jerry Warren’s mind-boggingly bad Frankenstein Island (1981).

OK, I guess I will have to get back to this movie at some point. I was trying to delay it for as long as possible.

WWOBWYes, Batwoman is wearing a black mask with furry eyebrows, a fur stole of some sort on one arm, what looks like a collection of feathers in her hair, and a bat ‘tattoo’ on her cleavage. Yippee!

Batwoman realizes the danger that the other Batgirl is in, and sends out an all points bulletin over her wrist radio:

"Transmission to all girls, zero zero seven seven. We will hold a special meeting, code three three one according to articles in manual ‘A’."

Ahhh, yes. Manual A. Oh wait. Another shot from Movie #3, showing the stalking masked, caped man.

Now back to Movie #1.

Now, I’m afraid of few things in this world, but there is one thing that strikes fear into my heart without fail: Comedy Relief Scientists.

Oh lord. We next see a "scientist" pouring fluids from beaker to beaker in a "lab". (Did I mention the beakers full of bubbling dry-ice? Well, they’re also present.) Tiger and Bruno escort Batgirl into the lab and promptly lock her up in a cage. Comedy Relief Scientist (CRS) appears to have a mentally deficient side-kick, Heathcliff who hops around and grabs at the imprisoned Batgirl. "We won’t hurt you", CRS reassures Batgirl. (If it makes any difference, we see Masked Caped Guy (MCG) peeking into the lab through an open window. I’ve pretty much given up trying to figure out what role MCG plays in all this.)

The bad guys finally introduce themselves as Bruno, Tiger, and the "Great Scientist" Professor Neon. (Neon is played by George Mitchell, who coincidentally enough worked on the make-up in this movie and another Jerry Warren film from 1964 entitled Attack of the Mayan Mummy.)

WWOBWA strange ‘beeping’ noise indicates that the boss is on the view screen. Neon and Bruno head over to the screen and…hey! It’s Masked Caped Guy! Professor Neon addresses him as "Rat Fink" (!!) The masked Fink orders Neon to deliver Bat Girl’s wrist radio to his laboratory within the hour. Rat Fink helpfully exposits that he will use the radio to "listen in" on all of Batwoman’s conversations and pay her back for all the times she "foiled my plans in the past!"

Meanwhile, back at Batwoman’s headquarters, we see Batwoman walking around her swimming pool watching approvingly as the bikini-clad Batgirls ‘train’ in hand-to-hand combat and other various ‘exercises’. (One Batgirl jumps rope while another is doing toe-touches on the diving board.) The hand-to-hand combat portion of the training appears to comprise solely of grabbing each others hands and pushing back and forth a bit. "Fitness is concluded", Batwoman says, "The meeting will come to order now." (Unfortunately, this means that we no longer can watch women in bikinis jumping rope, if you get my drift.)

The Batgirls line up in front of Batwoman and then recite the Batgirl pledge:

WWOBW"We the girls who are dedicated to Batwoman, take our oath with all sincerity.

We the girls who are dedicated to Batwoman, take our pride [??] with all sincerity.

We the girls who are dedicated to Batwoman, fight against evil with all sincerity"

Wow. That was truly moving. Let me wipe the tears from my eyes.

After the pledge, Batwoman leads the bikini horde back inside. "In view of the fact that this is a special meeting, the time element must work in our favor", Batwoman begins with a grammatically confusing, and no doubt incorrect, sentence.

After taking a vote to "dismiss all formalities" (a redundant motion seeing that everybody is wearing bikinis), Batwoman briefs the Batgirls on the rescue mission they are to undertake.

Unfortunately, Rat Fink interrupts the meeting by broadcasting over the wrist radio. To make a long story short (but not short enough, unfortunately), Fink will return the captive Batgirl only if Batwoman helps him "enter a certain building and retrieve a certain item." (Ohh!!! So mysterious! I’m all a-quiver!) Batwoman reluctantly agrees to Rat Fink’s terms, but insists first on seeing the Batgirl to ensure she is being treated well.

Batwoman makes her way to Professor Neon’s lab, where the captive Batgirl is crying and wailing in her cell. (This is a professional spy / crime fighter? And not to pick on her, but she was captured after accepting a drink from a complete stranger in a go-go bar!) "Give her another happy pill!" Bruno commands.

As the drug takes effect, Batgirl stops crying and starts silently dancing in her cell (!). Tiger offers Batwoman a seat along with a snack of chocolate milk and macaroons. (Really?! Chocolate milk and macaroons? Didn’t the film makers realize that comedy relief fails if it’s not, you know, comedic?)

WWOBW

Bruno, Batwoman, Neon, Heathcliff, and Tiger. (Happy Batgirl dancing in background)

As Rat Fink address Batwoman over the view screen, Professor Neon drops a happy pill into her milk. (Gee…who would have seen that coming.) Oh! She’s a pro! She spotted the tampering, and deftly switched the drinks so that now Neon has the drugged beverage. Ha! Wow! What a great movie!

As Rat Fink clarifies his demands, Professor Neon drinks his milk. Neon’s right arm begins to uncontrollably shake and "dance" while he forces it down to his side with his left hand. (Yes, just like the scene in Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. Only that was funny, this just sucks.)

Rat Fink’s demands? Steal an "atomic hearing aid" from the Ajax corporation. (An atomic what…?)

Oh dear. Professor Neon begins dancing uncontrollably, Batwoman smashes a cup on Heathcliff’s head (oddly, both Heathcliff and Tiger fall unconscious…strange, or maybe Heathcliff is just cowering and it was Tiger that was struck by the mug…am I really writing this?), and then she proceeds to punch Bruno in the chops. (After he very obligingly sat still in his chair until Batwoman could get around to taking him out.) Batwoman opens Batgirl’s cell and makes good their escape.

WWOBWAt the "Ajax" corporation, a couple of executives, J.B. and Flanagan, are going over the financial problems the company is facing. By the way, writer/director Jerry Warren was threatened with a lawsuit by the real "Ajax Corporation" and had to hurriedly add an extra letter in the company’s sign in order to ‘differentiate’ between the two.

Blah, blah, blah. J.B. explains that the "device" (What device? The atomic hearing aid?) has not been destroyed. Look, I don’t know what’s going on here. I admit it. Maybe I was supposed to deduce something from their dialog. Watch the movie and try it yourself if you don’t believe me.

J.B. and Flanagan’s ‘plan’ to do ‘something’ involves tricking Batwoman into also doing ‘something’. Flanagan heads over to Batwoman’s house and lets himself in. In the living room, the Batgirls are assembled on the floor while Batwoman plays an electric organ (!). A Batgirl wearing a leopard-skin halter top and skin-tight pants indicates that Flanagan should take a seat on the floor.

In a hilarious miscue, a Batgirl gives a drink to Batwoman, who offers it to Flanagan. The actor refuses the drink and Batwoman turns to give the glass back to the awaiting Batgirl, but the actress has mistakenly walked away from her mark on the set. Seeing that the actress is gone, Batwoman is left awkwardly holding the drink, and simply drinks it herself! (Man, sometimes I love this job!) You then see a jarring cut where the camera was stopped, the glass taken away, and the scene ‘resumed’.

OK, a long, long, discussion takes place while 2 Batgirls, in the background, play tug-o-war with a horseshoe (!). I’m trying to figure all this out, here we go: It looks like Flanagan wants Batwoman to guard the Atomic Hearing Aid for awhile because Ajax, Ayjax, whatever, is worried that somebody is going to steal it. (Batwoman called the company and warned them herself.) Moving right along, Batwoman agrees to guard the vault at Ayjax Corp. I feel safer already.

If you find my description of this scene excruciatingly boring then I’m doing an accurate job of describing it.

WWOBWLater that evening, an elderly security guard is making his rounds at the Ayjax building. A phone rings: it’s J.B. wondering if everything is quiet. The guard reassures him that the everything is fine and dandy. At that very moment, Prof. Neon, Tiger, and Bruno (sporting a Hitler moustache as a disguise!), break into the building.

Why…it’s almost as if J.B. and the bad guys are in cahoots…could it be? (Hint: In the IMDB entry for this film, you will see that J.B. and Rat Fink are played by the same actor.)

Meanwhile, or is it the next day, who knows, Batwoman is showing Flanagan the gaggle of Batgirls strategically placed in and around the vault containing the atomic hearing aid. In addition to skin-tight pants, halter-tops, and mini-skirts, the Batgirls are also armed with an array of firearms. Satisfied that the hearing aid is safe, Flanagan and Batwoman head down to the lunch room for a bite to eat.

These daunting defensive measures are quickly penetrated when Prof. Neon, disguised with a fake moustache as some sort of vendor, bursts into the room and offers the girls hot soup. The soup, of course, is laced with Happy Pills, and the girls quickly begin to dance around the room.

There must be something Freudian with a room full of bikini-clad hot-chicks silently dancing with rifles slung over their shoulders..and I like it!

Down in the Ayjax lunch room (complete with a full jazz band!!), Tiger, Neon, and Bruno are in disguise as waiters. Bruno, still in his Hitler moustache, is busy serving Happy Pill laced drinks to all the customers, including Batwoman and Flanagan As the drug takes effect, everybody in the lunch room begins dancing, including Batwoman and Flanagan Seeing that the plan is working as expected, Bruno manages to get the vault key from the gyrating Flanagan and heads upstairs with Tiger right behind him.

Boy, it just hit me. This movie really sucks. Seriously. Sometimes I manage to push the fact that I’m watching a crappy movie into the back of my mind for the duration of the film. I think it’s a defensive measure designed to protect my sanity and allow me to actually describe a bad movie scene by scene. But, boy, I have to tell you, I’m really suffering through this one.

OK, the hearing aid is stolen. Girls dance. Cut to stock footage of a plane landing…somewhere. Disembarking from the plane is none other than Mr. Seltzer (har dee har) from the U.S. Patent Office, and his nameless assistant. Seltzer makes a couple of phone calls and discovers that J.B. is at Batwoman’s house and heads over to said abode.

WWOBWUpon arrival at Batwoman’s house, the leopard-skin leotard-wearing Batgirl shows Seltzer and Nameless Assistant to a sofa. The patent officers take their seats and watch in mute amazement as Batwoman, J.B. and 2 Batgirls hold a seance (!!).

Try not to notice that Seltzer and Nameless Assistant change positions on the sofa from scene to scene.

Anyway, Batwoman manages to contact a spirit from the "etheric plane".

"It is desired by those at this table", begins Batwoman with a passively constructed sentence, "to locate a missing device…one of an electronic nature."

Unfortunately for Batwoman and the others, a Chinese spirit (!!) breaks into the "channel" and begins blurting out the most shameful portrayal of ‘goofy-Chinese’ that I have ever had the misfortune to hear. ("Ching chong chung chee chee ching chung!!!!" interrupts the Chinese spirit…and so on.)

I think I’m going to bang my head against the wall for a moment or two.

That’s better.

Batwoman finally manages to dismiss the ethereal Chinese intruder, but alas, she also loses contact with the helpful spirit as well.

With the seance at completion, J.B. stands to return to work. Turning to leave, he now sees Seltzer and Brookley (finally heard his name) from the Patent Office. Seltzer happened to overhear during the seance that the hearing aid has been stolen. Before anything can be resolved we cut…

Back to Neon in his laboratory where the idiotic professor is examining the stolen hearing aid while Tiger chats up a captive Batgirl. (It looks like it’s the same Batgirl that was captured in the first part of the film. But didn’t Batwoman rescue her? I give up.)

Over in Batwoman’s headquarters, a drunken Flanagan rings up and says he’s quitting the business because of the whole stolen-atomic-hearing-aid-seance-gone-wrong fiasco. Batwoman reassures him that her Batgirls are doing the best they can to locate the device.

WWOBWCut to a beach party. The Batgirls are hard at work dancing to a pop-rock band while a group of guys are happily watching another Batgirl enthusiastically making out with some namely (lucky) beach bum. After a while, nearly a minute in fact, the lead Batgirl stops making out with the guy and orders the others to "stand at attention" because "fun time is over." The Batgirls line up and march off across the beach.

Scenes that make you go "huh?".

Back in Neon’s lab, Rat Fink orders the hearing aid to be taking "down to the cave" for further study due to the gathering Batgirl presence on the beach. "Put into operation Plan Grab X-12", commands Bruno. (Just go with it.)

The Batgirls somehow discover the entrance to Rat Fink’s beach cave. As the find is reported to Batwoman, Rat Fink (wearing a cape and knee-high clam-digger pants!) sneaks behind the Batgirls and begins capturing them one by one.

WWOBWMeanwhile, deep in the caverns, Tiger is leading Captured Batgirl to the underground lab. Eventually Tiger and Batgirl reach Rat Fink’s underground city. This awesome special effect is realized by actually having them stand in front of a cave outside (in broad daylight), look into the distance, and pretend that they are standing inside a gigantic underground cavern. The film makers then had the gall to insert a brief shot of the underground city from the 1956 sci-fi film The Mole People. Incredible! The nerve! In fact, they even have the audacity to show clips of the Mole People themselves when Tiger warns her of all the "monsters" in the cave. Unbelievable!!!

Back in the lab, Rat Fink has bound the Batgirl’s hands with long lengths of chain reaching to the ceiling. Neon, Bruno, and Heathcliff enter via a hidden door while Rat Fink explains his plan. You see, the Batgirls are to be bred with the Mole People for some reason. (I’m really running on empty now, so I can’t try to piece things together anymore.)

A knock on the secret door, Bruno thinks it’s Tiger and pulls a lever to open the portal. In comes Batwoman. How, oh, how, did she know where the entrance was. How did she get past the monsters. How oh how oh why oh why.

"I’m sure you’re wondering how I got here", says Batwoman, apparently reading the viewer’s mind. "It was all so elementary", she explains, going on about homing devices, trackers and other BS. In fact, the homing devices are also magnetic cutters, so the Batgirls quickly free themselves from the chains. Why didn’t they do cut themselves free earlier? (I’m really starting to feel ill at this point.)

WWOBWJust as Batwoman is about to tear off Rat Fink’s mask, he pulls out his greatest invention: "the Body Divider." Suddenly there are 5 Rat Fink ‘copies’ in the lab, but which is the real one? Here is my answer: I don’t freakin’ care!!!

Could any sentient being really give a rat’s ass at this point?!

The Batgirls begin chasing the Rat Fink Clones around and around the room while bee-bop beach music begins to play on the sound track. (I think I now know how Alex from A Clockwork Orange felt when he was strapped down and forced to watch films until he puked.) This scene is probably what the Benny Hill Show would be like if it was produced in Hell.

After what literally seems like an eternity, Flanagan asks Batwoman to "do something". Batwoman twists some knobs and manages to destroy the Body Divider machine. Suddenly there is only 1 Rat Fink remaining as the clones disappear or something.

Rat Fink’s mask is finally removed and much to my NON SURPRISE, it’s J.B. from the Ayjax corporation. He exposits his reasons for stealing the hearing aid from his own company, which I tried to explain here in this review but my brain has shut down.

Heathcliff accidentally spills some "cobalt-40" on the hearing aid which is A Bad Thing because it causes "the atoms to begin to divide". So I guess this means the hearing aid will explode and hopefully kill everybody involved with this film. As the hearing aid reaches melt-down temperature, the explosive device is tossed from person to person like a game of ‘hot potato’. Eventually Heathcliff is left standing with the hearing aid as the others flee into the caverns. As Heathcliff licks the device (!) it explodes.

Cut to the beach where Batwoman and the others are laying about recovering from the explosion. Oh gee whiz. Heathcliff can talk again, and suddenly remembers the experiment that originally rendered him the idiot that he was. Blah blah blah. Now Heathcliff is normal again and the professor has to walk crouched over with a bad back, just like Heathcliff once was…oh never mind.

Later at Batwoman’s headquarters, we see the Batgirls repeating their inane pledge. Hey look! In the back row is Tiger who has had a change of heart and is now a Batgirl too! (Dude! Get a life!) Hey! Tiger and the original Captive Batgirl are in love.

Brain shutting down…going into Bullet Mode:

WWOBWNow the Batgirls are teaching Tiger how to dance!

Heathcliff and the now feeble-minded Neon (oh…bitter irony!) discuss the original experiment with Batwoman. A fly lands on Heathcliff’s head, Neon hits it with a newspaper, and Heathcliff returns to being an idiot.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Tiger fell into the swimming pool!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

WWOBW

Dennis Grisbeck (August 2005)

Afterthoughts

brain

shut down

unable to think

no after thoughts

Never never never never never never never never watch this movie!

Read more about The Wild World of Batwoman at

IMDB

4 comments to The Wild World of Batwoman (1966)

  • johnny b

    I love it when Servo blows a gasket and screams EEENNNNDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!! At the conclusion of the movie. One of my fav MST3K scenes.

  • Anyone know where I can find a dvd of this msterpiece?

  • I’m sure you can find the MST3K version on one of the Rhino DVDs. There’s always E-bay as well, you can find a lot of weird movies out there…

  • guts3d

    I have the MST3K version of this, and it was incomprehensible if you discount the comments of Mike and the ‘Bots. All I clearly remember was laughing at the thought of an “Atomic Hearing Aid”.

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