The Wild World of Batwoman is an American science fiction superhero film directed by Jerry Warren (not to be confused with another incompetent director named "Warren"). The film stars Katherine Victor as Batwoman, George Andre as Professor G. Octavius Neon, and Steve Brodie as Jim Flanagan.
With the popularity of the Batman (1966) television series, director Jerry Warren decided to make his own bat-focused superhero film. After being sued for copyright infringement, Warren re-released the film under the title She Was a Hippy Vampire. Like Warren's other films, it's seen by modern critics and filmmakers as almost watchable. Almost.
The film's Cold Open features two so-called "Bat Girls" initiating a third by giving her a Dick Tracy-esque wrist radio and making her drink a red concoction which turns out to be a smoothie (because they're only "synthetic" vampires). Note that this prologue was filmed and added to the movie only after the aforementioned lawsuit; therefore, the three girls vanish from the rest of the movie.
Meanwhile, other Bat Girls are busily patroling the city, and one particular Bat Girl is kidnapped from a nightclub filled with her dancing colleagues. This Bat Girl, it turns out, is to be used as a bargaining chip by Mexican wrestler cum supervillain Rat Finknote , to coerce Batwoman into helping him steal an atomic-powered listening device. But Batwoman insists on personally verifying the girl's safety first, and Rat Fink complies, allowing Batwoman to rescue her and not have to commit the crime.
Whew. That wasn't so bad, now was it? Oh, wait; it's not over yet.
Now aware of Rat Fink's designs on the Atomic Hearing Aid, Batwoman alerts the device's manufacturer and arranges for her Bat Girls to guard the device until such time as it can be disposed of. But Rat Fink's goons infiltrate the company's office building using Paper Thin Disguises and drug everyone, allowing them to steal the device and kidnap that same Bat Girl again by the young Mook who has fallen in love with her.
Batwoman follows up her failed guard duty with a failed seance, then with a failed search of the nearby beaches — during which all her Bat Girls are kidnapped and taken to Rat Fink's Elaborate Underground Base (where he keeps his Mole People). But Batwoman had anticipated this (somehow) and has followed him here.
The film doesn't end here, but this summary does. Because words simply cannot describe the sheer goofiness of that climactic fight scene. Or the Dénouement afterwards. But, if you're brave, you can read for yourself, here.
This film provides examples of:
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The Chinese spirit during the seance scene speaks random combinations of "ching", "chang", and "chong".
- Bare Your Midriff: Quite a few of the young female "Batgirls" in the movie. Most notably the brunette that gets quite a bit of focus in the movie and the girl who wears a leopard outfit of all things.
- Batman Gambit: Fittingly enough for a Batman ripoff, Batwoman has her girls combing the beaches, in full anticipation that Rat Fink will kidnap them and take them to his secret base, so that she can follow him there.
- Black Comedy Rape: Plotting to force-breed a bunch of women with The Mole People Stock Footage in an otherwise goofy, lighthearted but rather stupid camp-fest would certainly qualify. Pretty much a Moral Event Horizon moment for Rat Fink.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Anyone who openly calls himself Rat Fink definitely qualifies.
- Cat Fight: Some of the batgirls get into a fight in the background of a scene, apparently over some dispute involving a game of horseshoes.
- Ching Chong: Batwoman holds a seance to help find the atomic hearing aid, but the seance is interrupted by a "Chinese" spirit who speaks like this.
- Corpsing: Katherine Victor is barely holding it together during the Ching Chong seance.
- Cold Open: This being The Wild World of Batwoman, they (yes, there are two) have nothing to do with the plot whatsoever.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Rather than go to prison, Prof. Neon seems to be working for Batwoman in the ending.
- Covers Always Lie: Two instances in the above-pictured poster. First, Batwoman's outfit depicted on the poster looks nothing like what she wears in the movie. Second, the poster depicts Bruno choking and trying to stab a woman, presumably a batgirl, when nothing like that happens in the movie.
- Covert Pervert: JD turned into Rat Fink because he loves to listen to other people's phone conversations.
- Creating Life Is Awesome: Professor Neon thinks so, having created a number of monsters, and regarding them in a somewhat paternal matter.
- Distaff Counterpart: Batwoman, for Adam West's Batman; deadpan Comically Serious delivery and all.
- The Ditz: Batwoman's entire organization of "batgirls" are this: supposedly superheroes-in-training, but in practice all wildly incompetent Faux Action Girls and Distressed Damsels — to the point where Batwoman actually counts on them getting kidnapped to lead her to Rat Fink.
- Drowning My Sorrows: After the atomic hearing aid gets stolen, Flanagan calls up Batwoman completely smashed.Mike Nelson: Hey, look, it's the producer!
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Only one Bat Girl is even afforded the dignity of her own number to differentiate her. And it isn't the one who gets the most attention in the story, either.
- Evil Laugh: Rat Fink has a very obnoxious one.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Inverted. Rat Fink speaks in a slightly higher, yet gruffer, voice than his rather nebbishy civilian self.
- Fanservice: Being a cheesy movie from the 60's, it's only natural to have young attractive barely dressed women dancing around more than a couple of times.
- Faux Affably Evil:
- Professor G. Octavius Neon. For most of the movie he comes across as a generally decent guy (for a Mad Scientist) who was unfortunately caught under the thumb of a dangerous super criminal, and there are times when he shows genuine concern for his monsters, whom he treats like children. Then you reach the film's Dénouement when Heathcliff regains his voice and his wits. He reveals that he was formerly Neon's best friend and primary source of funds, before Neon secretly performed dangerous experiments on him to turn him into a gibbering simpleton, apparently so that Neon could have unlimited access to Heathcliff's money.
- Rat Fink as well, who acts friendly to people, and even talks charmingly to Batwoman... and then he captures the Batgirls with plans to forcibly breed them with his mutant mole men.
- Fee Fi Faux Pas: One of the film's few successful attempts at humor: After his offer of a smoke to the Batgirls gets coldly shot down, Flannigan is left fumbling with the cigarette, awkwardly sticking it behind his ear like a pencil.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: It's hard to spot, but during the scene of the Batgirls frugging at the beach, one shot features a background extra Flipping the Bird at the camera.
- Funny Background Event:
- Tons, most notably the "horseshoe fight". To the point where when this trope actually doesn't happen (like in the seance scene), you're kind of disappointed.
- Just before the horseshoe fight, during Flannigan's talk with Batwoman, the two Batgirls sitting to either side of him are mocking his dialogue with exaggerated facial gestures.
- Look carefully just after the beach makeout scene and you'll see an extra lean over and flip off the camera.
- G-Rated Drug: The happy pills.
- Gilligan Cut: Batwoman assures Flanagan that her girls will work tirelessly to find the hearing aid. The movie then cuts to a beach where the Batgirls are dancing and making out with boys.
- Graceful Loser: Professor Neon calmly submits to Batwoman at the end, which seriously irks Rat Fink.
- Half-Human Hybrid: What Rat Fink plans to do by breeding the Batgirls with Prof. Neon's monsters.
- Herr Doktor: Professor Neon was supposed to be this, but his actor isn't very good at it.
- Idiot Ball: Batwoman knows that Professor Neon has a pill that gives people uncontrolled euphoria, but during her dinner with Flanagan, when she sees someone at another table suddenly start dancing, she shrugs it off and eats a bowl of soup she didn't order given to her by a suspicious waiter. Hilarity Ensues.
- The Igor: Heathcliff is a very pathetic one.
- Leave the Camera Running: Nearly all of the Ching Chong seance is one endless static take.
- Made of Explodium: Fairly justified in that it's an atomic hearing aid mixing with radioactive cobolt.
- Malaproper: The prologue, where the Batgirl recruits are told that they're "only vampires in a synthetic sense." From context, the word they were looking for was probably aesthetic, which is to say that they are adopting the appearance and stylings of vampires. By comparison, to call oneself a "synthetic" vampire, would imply that they were created artificially from laboratory chemicals. It's likely "synthetic" is meant to refer to the artificial "blood" they drink.
- Male Gaze: There are lots of scenes of the Bat Girls dancing, during which the camera usually lingers on them shaking what their mamas gave 'em.
- Me's a Crowd: Rat Fink's body divider. It does Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Minion with an F in Evil: After Tiger's MookFace Turn, all of Rat Fink's mooks, including Neon himself, are perfectly willing to give up amicably to the good guys. Needless to say, Rat Fink is not amused.Bruno: I don't wanna die because of you!
Neon: You're a FINK, Rat Fink! (scuffle breaks out)
- Mockbuster: The movie is this to Batman (1966).
- MookFace Turn: "This boy... has fallen in love!"
- Mundane Made Awesome: It's not just a hearing aid — it's an atomic hearing aid.
- Non-Fatal Explosions: When the atomic hearing aid lives up to its name. All of the named characters end up at ground zero of a thermonuclear explosion but show up in the next scene, unharmed... including Heathcliff, who was holding the bomb when it went off!
- Non-Indicative Title: "She Was A Hippy Vampire". There aren't any hippies in the movie, and they're not really vampires either. The Batgirl initiation involves drinking "blood" that's actually a strawberry fruit cocktail smoothie, because they're only "synthetic" vampires.
- No Smoking: The Batgirls shoot Flanagan some seriously nasty looks when he offers them a cigarette. An unusual statement in an era where smoking was still fashionable, or at least commonplace.
- Number Two: The tall, blonde, Charro-esque Batgirl in the leopard-print outfit serves as Batwoman's lieutenant. Oddly, she goes by the number "14" rather than "2".
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Amazingly subverted. The mask hides just enough of Rat Fink's face and the actor does a surprisingly decent job of disguising his voice.
- Power Perversion Potential: It's actually a plot point as being an audio peeping tom is Rat Fink's secret obsession, and why he stole the atomic hearing aid.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Tiger, he even refers to it as his job at one point.
- Rummage Sale Reject: Batwoman's costume. It's a leotard with a belt, stockings, some sort of pin over her right breast which is connected to her belt with a cord, a half-cape over one shoulder, a bat tattoo on her chest, a Domino Mask, and ridiculous floofy hair with feathers in it. Apparently the actress put together the costume herself.
- Scare Chord: Done unintentionally with a ringing phone.
- Secret Identity: Averted. Batwoman is apparently Batwoman 24/7 and is even listed so in the phone book. Played straight with Rat Fink.
- Slipping a Mickey: Done a lot. A Batgirl is kidnapped this way and you have the "Happy Pill" stupidity with the soup and chocolate milk.
- Stock Footage:
- Warren used footage from the Universal Pictures film The Mole People (itself not great, though miles ahead of this thing) for Professor Neon's monsters and Elaborate Underground Base. Since the characters from The Mole People show up in the foreground of the scene, a sequence is inserted showing Neon and one of the thugs walking through the cave wearing leather jackets identical to those of the characters from the other film.
- Some of Rat Fink's footage is taken from an old Mexican wrestling movie.
- The mugging murder scene is almost certainly stock footage as well, since the three Batgirls who watch it are never in the same shot (and don't do anything about it, and the guys involved in the robbery never show up again).
- The scene where a man is walking through a dark office and answers a suddenly-ringing phone to assure someone that "Everything is in order." Just what he talking about and who he's talking to is never addressed, nor is the man seen again in the film.
- Super Breeding Program: Rat Fink's interested in mating Neon's monsters with captive human women. It's not explained why he wants to do this, though, as it doesn't seem like the Batgirls' "ditzy human floozy" DNA would add much of benefit to the monsters. He is established to be a voyeur, so maybe he just wants to watch?
- Superhero Packing Heat: For a given value of "superhero", the Batgirls use a wide assortment of firearms. Batwoman herself prefers a Ray Gun.
- Super Wrist-Gadget: Each Batgirl has a wrist radio that lets them contact Batwoman. Also, later in the movie, Batwoman tells them to free their captured allies with a "magnetic-electron device" which, considering the radio is the only bit of futuristic-ish equipment they have, is probably built into it.
- This Is Unforgivable!: Rat Fink's plan to cross-breed Batgirls with Mole People gets this from Batwoman. Later on his Taking You with Me gets this from Bruno and Neon, who both pull a HeelFace Turn since they aren't willing to die because of him.
- Too Dumb to Live: If you're walking down a Mexican-Swedish Stock Footage alleyway in a crappy Distaff Counterpart Batman ripoff, and two goons demand your wallet at gunpoint... refrain from quoting a song by Badfinger and just give them what they want!
- Vegetarian Vampire: Sort of. The prologue seems to be invoking this trope, but they're really only playing at being vampires. They're actually just human floozies who drink strawberry smoothies and call it blood.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: What became of the girls in the prologue? Or the mugging-gone-wrong?
- What the Hell Is That Accent?:
- Prof. Neon seems to be going for a stereotypical German scientist. What he delivers is vaguely European (when he doesn't sound East Indian).
- There's also the previously-mentioned "Dwight D. Eisenhower the Weird-Accented Night Watchman".
- Writing Around Trademarks: The shot showing the "Ayjax" sign was added to avoid a lawsuit from Ajax.