And You Call Yourself a AScientist!

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THE WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN (1966)
[aka Wild Wild World Of Batwoman aka She Was A Hippie Vampire]

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

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THE WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN (1966)Director: Jerry Warren

Starring: Katherine Victor, George Andre (George Mitchell), Steve Brodie, Mel Oshins, Richard Banks, Steve Conte, Lucky Winn, Suzanne Lodge, Lloyd Nelson

Screenplay: Jerry Warren

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Synopsis: At the Star Club, as her colleagues dance, a Bat Girl is drugged and kidnapped. Recovering consciousness, she manages to use her wrist-radio to alert the Batwoman (Katherine Victor) and the other Bat Girls to her predicament. The kidnappers, Tiger (Mel Oshins) and Bruno (Steve Conte), take the girl to the secret laboratory of Professor G. Octavius Neon (George Andre), where she is kept in a cell in the corner of the room. A masked, cloaked supervillain named Rat Fink contacts Neon and demands the wrist-radio, so that he can contact Batwoman. The next morning, Batwoman calls her girls together for an emergency meeting. During the meeting, Rat Fink makes contact, demanding that Batwoman help him steal a revolutionary atomic hearing aid from the Ayjax Development Corporation, in exchange for the safe return of the kidnapped girl. Batwoman agrees, but insists upon seeing the girl first. At the laboratory, while Rat Fink makes contact via a viewing screen, Neon tries to drug Batwoman, but she switches her drink with his. She then knocks out Tiger and Bruno, and rescues the girl. At Ayjax’s head office, businessman J.B. Christians (Richard Banks) must break it to his partner, Jim Flanagan (Steve Brodie), that he ignored a court order to destroy their hearing aid, hoping that they might appeal the decision of the patent office. He further reveals that Batwoman has contacted him, warning him of a possible attempt to steal the device. Flanagan visits Batwoman, revealing the hearing aid’s deadly secret: touched by Cobalt 40, it becomes a powerful explosive. Rat Fink contacts Neon to tell him that Batwoman and her girls have agreed to guard the vault at Ayjax. Neon, Bruno and Tiger disguise themselves, and manage to serve drugged soup to the Bat Girls and the patrons of the Ayjax cafeteria, including Batwoman and Flanagan. Neon takes the key to the vault from Flanagan, and soon Rat Fink has possession of the deadly hearing aid….

Comments: Here’s another one you can chalk up under the general heading of "Me And My Big Fat Mouth".

You see, I was talking to my friend Pete a while back; and the conversation meandered to the subject of a certain episode of South Park, featuring a wildlife expert with the alarming habit of pissing off any passing wildlife by jamming his thumb up its butthole. In the course of this little chat, Pete happened to mention that not only was there to be a (ulp!) Crocodile Hunter movie, which I knew, but that it would be getting – a theatrical release!? And then he took wicked advantage of my stunned and shaken emotional condition, and made me an inequitable proposition: that he would review Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course if I would – do something unspeakable for him….

Well, like I said, he caught me with my guard down. So here I am, reviewing The Wild World Of Batwoman; a film entirely based upon the simple belief that the two finest things in the world are go-go dancing and face-pulling; and that together, they comprise the very essence of comedy.

I generally try to look for a silver lining in whatever I do, and here is today’s: this review rectifies a shameful oversight on my part, and marks the long-overdue first appearance at my site of schlockmeister Jerry Warren.

That said, right at this moment there is nothing on Earth I would like better, if only it were physically possible, than to take Mr Warren by the collar and bitchslap him into the middle of next century.

As, I imagine, all regular visitors to this site would be well aware, there are Bad Movies – and then there are BAD MOVIES. I watch a lot of movies, all different kinds. Some of them have bored me and some of them have irritated me and some of them have made me genuinely angry; but I can’t remember the last time a film reduced me to a helpless, quivering wreck the way that this one did. Don’t talk to me about rock climbing, or scuba diving, or sandstorms – The Wild World Of Batwoman redefines the expression DEEP HURTING. I could have been no more than three minutes into this epic when I started whimpering, "Make it STOP! Make it STOP! Make it STOP!" But alas, no-one did; I was forced to suffer through the entirety of its 472 minute running-time.

You know, one of the Jabootuian philosophies is that there is nothing in the world worse than a bad comedy. Bad drama, bad science fiction, bad horror--- They can all provide entertainment, albeit not the kind that they intended; but bad comedy has nowhere to go. I can’t, offhand, think of a film that illustrates this dictum better than The Wild World Of Batwoman (although, granted, I haven’t seen Sextette). This is not only a failed comedy, but a film in which every single character is the Odious Comic Relief©.

Think about that. Let it….sink in.

The Wild World Of Batwoman opens on three of the "Bat Girls", two of whom are initiating a third (under "Article 21, paragraph 2", no less). The new recruit is a little hesitant about downing the brew she has been offered, but one of her new colleagues assures her that, "We’re vampires all right, but only in the synthetic sense!" The concoction in the goblet she has been offered turns out to be "honey, mint, cherry, and strawberry yoghurt – a real groove!" The three chug this down, and for several seconds, the camera simply stares at them as they lick their chops. Alert viewers will subsequently notice that none of these three young ladies reappears in the body of the film. This is because this sequence was added after Jerry Warren had a big fat lawsuit slapped on him by D.C. Comics, who got a strange idea in their heads that this opus may somehow have been inspired by the TV version of Batman. In response, Mr Warren changed the film’s title to She Was A Hippie Vampire, which makes about as much sense as the film itself, and tacked on this new opening. Masterful!

We then get to see the Bat Girls in, uh, action. Out on the mean streets, a man foolishly stops when asked for a light (smoking – it’ll kill ya!) and finds himself with a gun in his back, being ordered to hand over his wallet. The victim backs away with a defiant, "If you want it, you’ll have to come over here and take it!" – which provokes the gunman into shooting him dead. (Yeesh! And he didn’t even say "You don’t have the guts!" or nuthin’!) The killer then drops his gun and flees in a panic, while his more practical partner retrieves the weapon and takes the disputed wallet. The camera then pans to the right, allowing us to see two Bat Girls crouched behind some nearby garbage bins (!!). The performance of the girl on the right (none of the girls are identified in the credits, and only one is even given a "Bat Number" within the film) in this scene is particularly inspired: I think she’s meant to be gasping in horror at the savage violence she’s just witnessed, but she looks remarkably like she’s suppressing a yawn. Meanwhile, the girl on the left is alerting Batwoman to the commission of this heinous crime – which, you’ll notice, she and her friend allowed to happen without lifting a finger to help. Apparently, the Bat Girls don’t fight crime so much as sit around watching it happen. And what exactly were they doing behind those garbage bins? Looking for the script, perhaps.

Inside the Star Club, it’s go-go time, as the other Bat Girls shake their booties, and every other part of their anatomies. The boots! The miniskirts! The fringe! The hysterectomy pants! This scene goes on – and on – and on – until it feels as if someone has switched videos on us, and we’re actually watching a compilation tape featuring The Best Of William Grefé. But no such luck. At the bar, one Bat Girl (one of only two who gets any significant screentime; I shall refer to her as Dark-Haired Bat Girl, or DHB) is approached by a man offering to buy her a drink. She accepts, little guessing that the man is Rat Fink’s henchman, Tiger. We see Tiger dropping a pill into the drink before handing it over. DHB takes a few sips and passes out, and Tiger and Bruno pick her up and carry her out of the club without anyone even noticing, far less pausing in the relentless shaking of their respective groove things.

Well – I suppose, in a time before the advent of date rape drugs, this scene may have been mildly amusing….

Nah.

DHB regains consciousness to find herself between Tiger and Bruno in the front seat of their car. Activating her wrist-radio, she tries to lure her kidnappers into giving away their destination. Two other Bat Girls pick up her signal, and alert Batwoman to the situation. And so we get our first look at our eponymous heroine.

Allow me to pause here for a moment. I hate this film with an unrivalled passion, but nevertheless, I can’t entirely suppress a pang of combined sympathy and admiration for Katherine Victor, who actually agreed to appear in front of the cameras in what is possibly the single most embarrassing outfit in the history of film. Ms Victor may not be the greatest actress in the world, exactly, but her contribution here at least shows her to be a good sport, and not without a certain degree of courage. And I don’t mean dress-down-and-push-up-your-breasts-let’s-give-her-an-Oscar "courage", either; I mean the real kind.

So. Our heroine. Picture a woman of the proverbial Certain Age wearing a strapless leotard, black tights, black ankle boots with little pointy heels, and black wrist gloves. On the pinky finger of her left hand sits a "diamond" ring roughly the size of Rhode Island. Covering her right arm is some kind of fur piece, held in place with a faux-diamond clasp, from which extends a studded sash that passes over her right shoulder, then turns itself into a belt, and is further decorated with dangling diamante chains. On her face, she wears a black mask with diamante "eyebrows", and her hair--- Well, I gotta be honest: I can’t figure out whether the feathery concoction on her head is meant to be her hair, or some kind of hat; either way, it looks like she was caught in a rare convergence of four separate gale-force winds. And let’s not forget the crowning touch: this darling little outfit is topped off by a black bat "tattoo" that sits just above the lady’s breasts.

Oh, and there’s something else I need to stress here: "Batwoman" is no-one’s secret identity; Mexican wrestler-like, she is Batwoman even at home. Or to put it another way – she dresses like this all the time. Except when she goes out, when she further accessorises with a little black cape. Classy!

Meanwhile, the kidnappers have finally twigged to DHB’s little ploy. Bruno snatches the wrist-radio and bellows into it, "Is that you, Batwoman? AAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!" DHB responds by sinking her teeth into his wrist, while Batwoman first warns the kidnappers that they have taken on "much more than you’ll be able to handle!", then calls an emergency meeting of her "girls".

And then it’s time to kick the pain levels up a notch or ten. We cut to shot of Conical Flasks Filled With Mysterious Coloured Fluids, just so we understand that, yup, there’s science a-doing! And then we’re introduced to the film’s resident Mad Scientist, Professor G. Octavius Neon, who (surprise!) wears glasses and a labcoat, and who speaks with an accent that would have been booed off the set of Hogan’s Heroes. A word here: the first time I watched this film, I could’ve sworn his name was Deon; and indeed, what’s the point of having a Mad Scientist whose handle is "G. Octavius", if his surname doesn’t start with D!? But everyone insists it’s "Neon", so I guess I’ll go with the flow. And by the way, if you think my blathering on like this is a feeble attempt to put off dealing with what happens next in this film, you’re quite right.

Sigh.

For, you see, Professor Neon has a--- No, not an assistant. A companion, of sorts. Called Heathcliffe. This is a grown man who hunches around like a chimpanzee, wears a ratty cardigan, and pulls faces. That’s it. That is his entire contribution to this motion picture. He’s there to pull faces. And pull faces he does. Constantly. Mercilessly. Directly into the camera. BECAUSE IT’S FUNNY!!!! Right?

By the way, the film’s opening titles feature a special "And Lloyd Nelson as Heathcliffe" credit, possibly in recognition of the magnitude of his contribution here – he almost succeeds in making the other characters seem amusing – but more likely to ensure that when someone finally snapped while watching this and sent "The Boys" around, the right person was on the receiving end of the baseball bats.

In the corner of Neon’s laboratory is a jail cell. Naturally. And in that jail cell is DHB. Neon announces that he is a great scientist, and goes on to rave that he has "perfected some of the greatest discoveries of the twentieth century" which, I dunno, sounds to me like he takes other people’s discoveries and puts clock radios into them. And still our round of introductions isn’t complete, as we finally meet the movie’s supervillain – Rat Fink. (We infer that Ray Dennis Steckler had somewhat less legal clout than D.C. Comics.) This hatted, masked, and cloaked figure appears on a viewing screen in Neon’s lab (in scenes that were, I gather, lifted from the Mexican wrestling movie, Neutron And The Black Mask), while his minions crowd around and stare into the camera, allowing Heathcliffe to launch into some of his most shameless mugging. Rat Fink orders Neon to bring DHB’s wrist-radio to his laboratory, and mutters darkly about Batwoman. On cue, we cut to that "emergency" meeting that Batwoman called, which is taking place well into the following morning. The bikini-clad Bat Girls are frolicking---sorry, I mean training, around a swimming-pool, until Batwoman’s second-in-command, "#14", calls the meeting to order. The girls rush together at the edge of the pool (look out for the Bat Girl digging her bikini bottom out of her---uh, pulling it back into place, that is), and recite the Bat Girl Oath:

"One, two, three. 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."

You know – nothing about this movie makes any sense. Nothing. Not a lick of it. So why, I wonder, with so much to choose from, do I find myself fixated upon trying to figure out what, exactly, "we take our pride with all sincerity" means…?

That done, the meeting moves into the house. Batwoman sits on her couch, and the Bat Girls (all nine of them) arrange themselves either side of her and on the floor. After some moronic preliminaries, Batwoman begins to discuss DHB’s predicament, when the meeting is interrupted by Rat Fink on the wrist-radio. He and his nemesis exchange pleasantries, and then Rat Fink demands Batwoman’s help in obtaining "a certain object", in exchange for the safe return of DHB. Batwoman agrees, but insists on seeing DBH first. Sure enough, Batwoman is taken to Neon’s laboratory. Inside her cell, DHB is crying incessantly, and the grouchy Bruno insists that she be given "another happy pill" (!!). This proves to be one [sic.] of Neon’s fabulous inventions, a drug that forces the taker to – go-go dance uncontrollably! BECAUSE IT’S FUNNY!!!! Right? DHB taken care of, the affable Tiger invites Batwoman to partake of chocolate milk and macaroons. BECAUSE IT’S FUNNY!!!! Right? Fortunately, Rat Fink interrupts this little soiree, appearing on the viewing-screen. Everyone stares up, and Heathcliffe starts mugging again. Rat Fink offers Batwoman the usual sell-your-soul/beautiful-music-together arrangement, she makes the standard scornful reply. We then get a crash course on the film’s McGuffin: the "Ayjax Development Corporation" (sigh), has built an "atomic hearing aid", capable of listening in on any telephone conversation anywhere in the world. This device, however, has been denied a patent; and the horrified US government has ordered it destroyed – because, you know, it couldn’t possibly find any use for such an object. While this exposition is being delivered, Neon drops a happy pill into Batwoman’s chocolate milk, but she manages to "subtly" switch her glass with his, and soon our labcoated loony is doing the monkey all over his laboratory. BECAUSE IT’S FUNNY!!!! Right? Batwoman takes advantage of this distraction to smash the chocolate milk jug over Tiger’s head, and to deck Bruno with a haymaker that wouldn’t have been out of place in the John Wayne/Randolph Scott brawl of The Spoilers. She then absconds, dragging the still-frugging DHB in her wake.

We then cut to the offices of Ayjax, where businessman J.B. Christians is confessing to his partner Jim Flanagan that the time in which they were supposed to destroy the hearing aid was fifteen days, not thirty; and they are now in illegal possession of it. Moreover, not only are foreign agents after it, but J.B. has had a call from Batwoman, warning him that Rat Fink, too, is intent upon acquiring the device. The horrified Flanagan decides to see Batwoman for himself. He therefore drives to her house (no stately manor here, just a respectable single storey; I wonder how she’s listed in the telephone directory?) and is admitted when the front door swings mysteriously open at his approach. Inside, the Bat Girls are lounging around while Batwoman herself belts out a tune on her organ. Looking excruciatingly uncomfortable (and I don’t blame him), Flanagan sits on a low bench seat. At length, Batwoman wraps up her solo and joins him. As an opening gambit, Flanagan remarks that a self-opening front door seems a little dangerous, allowing Batwoman to put on a superior smile and explain to him smugly that he was monitored electronically from the moment he left his car. "OH, REALLY?" bellows Flanagan, for no reason I can think of. (I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt; perhaps the boom mike slipped.) He then reveals to Batwoman the hearing aid’s deadly secret: if it comes into contact with Cobalt 40, it becomes the world’s most powerful explosive: "Boom! And it goes! It really goes!"

This is, by the way, probably the scene best remembered by everyone who sees The Wild World Of Batwoman, but not for any of the overt reasons. Rather, it’s for what’s going on in the background: two Bat Girls, wrestling futilely, and quite inexplicably, over a horseshoe. We can only assume this is some kind of suh-fist-o-kate-ed training exercise. That, or a first class piece of scene-stealing. Either way, I guarantee that no-one who watches this will be able to keep their attention fixed on the fore-grounded Flanagan and Batwoman.

Cut back to Neon’s laboratory for some more [*choke*] comedy. Neon is trying to coax Heathcliffe into taking a pill. Heathcliffe refuses. Neon tries again. Heathcliffe refuses. Neon tries again. Heathcliffe refuses. THIS GOES ON FOR SEVENTY-NINE FREAKING SECONDS. Finally, Rat Fink calls on his viewing-screen, which stops the hilarious pill-taking sequence, and allows Heathcliffe to resume mugging into the camera. Ah, life’s good, isn’t it?

In the course of this conversation, Neon asks how things are "at the cave", then inquires after the health of his monsters – briefly raising the audience’s hopes that something interesting or enjoyable might happen later in the film. (I won’t do to you what the film did to me: prepare to be sorely disappointed in said "monsters".) Rat Fink tells Neon that Batwoman has agreed to guard the vault at Ayjax, and that they must think of a plan to outwit [sic.] her and steal the hearing aid. This, naturally, leads to more [*choke*] comedy, as Neon, Bruno and Tiger sneak into Ayjax wearing disguises that--- Let’s see, what does my thesaurus offer as alternatives to mere "embarrassment"? Humiliation, shame, mortification, disgrace, chagrin, degradation, ignominy, abasement, discomfiture---- Take your pick. (Curiously, most of these words describe exactly how I feel watching this film. Bletch!) Meanwhile, Batwoman is demonstrating her high-tech security arrangements to Flanagan, namely, crowding as many of her girls as possible into the room containing the vault at Ayjax. "As you can see," she announces with absolutely inexplicable pride, "I’ve placed a double guard consisting of my two best girls at the vault itself." We are given no indication of what, precisely, qualifies these two as "the best", although as Batwoman speaks, she does point directly at their chests. The Bat Girls, by the way, are all armed to the teeth. Nevertheless, not one of them is wearing a holster of any kind, ‘cos that would spoil their snazzy little outfits. Let’s just say that there’s a lot of nervous gun-waving going on in this scene. And check out "best girl" #2, who has both a rifle slung over her left shoulder, and a revolver in her right hand. Boy, can’t hardly wait till those start going off in this snug little room! Anyway, Flanagan is reassured enough by these arrangements to invite Batwoman for a spot of lunch. You know, I think he’s getting sweet on her – awww….

And no wonder Batwoman and Flanagan are pleased with the arrangements! Because no sooner have they turned their backs than the "disguised" Tiger barges in, handing around hot soup to this crew of highly-trained crime-fighters, all of whom chug it down without a second thought. And if you’ve guessed that the soup was laced with "happy pills", you get a gold star. Soon the Bat Girls are frantically go-go dancing, and still more frantically, waving their guns around in the air with their fingers on the triggers. Oh – all except for the girl who has the butt of her rifle on the ground, and the barrel pointing directly up at her own chin. Alas! If only a moment of reality had been allowed to sneak in, and these idiots had blown each other’s stupid heads off! The NRA could have used the footage as a recruitment ad ("See what useful things guns can accomplish!") with nary a peep of protest from anyone in response.

Hey, cool! The Ayjax commissary doubles as a jazz lounge! And that music is almost enjoyable! Oh, well, that’s over. Time for the henchmen to pull their soup stunt again, and for Batwoman, crime-fighting genius that she is, to eat soup she didn’t order despite having escaped drugging once, and the fact that a woman in the corner of the room is already go-go-ing. Soon both she and Flanagan are dancing along with the rest of them (and just to make sure that there are no more lawsuits forthcoming, I wish to state categorically that Batwoman is not doing the Batusi. Definitely. Not.) Tiger lifts "the only key to the vault" from Flanagan’s pocket, and the henchmen take off. They brush past J.B. who, having barely survived an encounter with the gun-toting Bat Girls, is horrified to find his partner amongst the writhing crowd in the commissary. Back at the vault, Bruno grabs the dreaded hearing aid, while Tiger also claims a souvenir: DHB, who wriggles along after him unresisting.

Next thing we know, we’re in the company of "the men from the Patent Office": Bruno VeSota and some other poor schmuck (who looks just like Jim Nabors) doing a bad Ollie ‘n’ Stan routine. They try to contact J.B. by phone, and learn that he is at Batwoman’s house. "Can I have her address?" he inquires, and yes, apparently she is in the directory. At the house, Batwoman is conducting a séance, in an attempt to locate the hearing aid. She succeeds in contacting a spirit who is willing to help (and who speaks ve-ry-ve-ry-slo-oo-oo-ow-ly….by all means, let’s drag it out a bit more); and then, incredibly, this film succeeds in hitting rock bottom. Batwoman and the spirit are interrupted.

"CHING CHONG HOY CHONG CHING CHONG HUNG CHONG HOY CHOW CHING CHONG----"

"Could you please repeat the message in English?" requests Batwoman. "That sounds like Chinese!"

The original spirit begins to answer her, but then----

"CHING CHONG HOY CHONG CHING CHONG HUNG CHONG HOY CHOW CHING CHONG----"

And because you can never have too much of a good thing, then they do it again----

"CHING CHONG HOY CHONG CHING CHONG HUNG CHONG HOY CHOW CHING CHONG----"

And I just changed my mind about Jerry Warren. If I do manage, somehow, to get my hands on him – with the help of my spirit guide, perhaps – I am going to bitchslap him into the middle of the next Millennium.

Anyway, the séance is a dismal failure, J.B. argues with the patent guys, Neon fiddles with the hearing aid, and Heathcliffe pulls faces. DHB is tied up (leashed up, actually, with a rope around her neck) in the corner of the lab, and tries to convince the smitten Tiger of the benefits of yoga and college ("I went for a year and a half!"). Then it turns out that Batwoman didn’t need spiritual help anyway, as she "remembers" that Neon’s lab is near the beach, with "a little reef" just offshore. She orders the Bat Girls to look for a cove that would be underwater at high tide. She then gets a phonecall from a maudlin drunk Flanagan, and assures him that her girls are out working for the cause with "selfless dedication".

So it’s off to the beach! – where a very bad band plays very bad music on electric guitars that aren’t plugged in, and the Bat Girls wriggle themselves into a positive frenzy. #14 snogs some guy for a while, then calls her troop to attention and reminds them they’ve got a job to do. They march off down the beach. Back in the lab – aack! the horror! the horror! – DHB is teaching Tiger to go-go dance. ("No, no! Move your hips some more!" Aack!!) Fortunately, this torture is broken up by the arrival of Bruno and Heathcliffe (who would ever have thought I’d be glad to see Heathcliffe!?). Bruno announces that Rat Fink wants "the work" finished down in "the cave", and that "Batwoman and her girls are all over the beach". This proves to be a tad premature, as we then cut to stock footage of a speedboat meant to indicate Batwoman’s approach. The girls, however, are certainly there; and we watch as these highly-trained crime-fighters are captured by Rat Fink, one by one, by having a hand clamped over their mouths, and being dragged away – none of the others noticing anything, of course. We then cut to Tiger and DHB, the latter still on a leash, who are also heading for "the cavern". Tiger tries to cheer DHB (and the audience) up with glowing promises of "monsters" outside Rat Fink’s lab. DHB, however, is more concerned with something over on the opposite wall: skeletons! Eek! And this highly-trained crime-fighter does indeed shriek in terror, prompting the single sensible moment in the entire film: "Aw, they can’t hurt ya!" responds Tiger. "They ain’t even alive!" He then tugs at DHB’s leash, and leads her to the mouth of "the cavern". DHB whines, "I’m scared," and wraps her arms around Tiger’s neck. We then see "the cavern" – and the monsters – and it’s footage from The Mole People. Yup. The – freaking – Mole – People. Yeesh!

In Rat Fink’s lab (which is tastefully decorated with a fifty year old microscope, a high school level anatomy chart, and lots of beakers and smoking conical flasks, of course), RF himself is gloating to the chained up Bat Girls, boasting about his tranquilliser, "the most powerful ever devised in a laboratory" – as opposed to those devised in the bathtub, or the garden shed, we assume. He then laughs, not the traditional "Mwoo-ha-ha!", but a dead copy of Dr Bombay from Bewitched. "NNNYAH-HAR-HAR-HAR-HA!" Meanwhile, Bruno, Neon and Heathcliffe are on their way to the cavern, with Neon stopping off to fret about his monsters (and Heathcliffe mugging into the camera, naturally). Once in the lab, Neon continues to whinge, until Rat Fink reveals his Heinous Scheme: he intends to mate the Bat Girls with the Mole People! "NNNYAH-HAR-HAR-HAR-HA!" (Actually – I’d pay to see that film!) There’s a knock at the lab door, and Bruno admits, as he thinks, Tiger and DHB. And it is them – with Batwoman! (And Flanagan, too, but that’s not important.) Batwoman is armed with a Whammo Air Blaster--- Oh, sorry, it’s an "oscillator" – which not only finds the girls, but frees them! So saying, Batwoman points her oscillator at #14, whose chains drop away almost as if they hadn’t been done up at all! Batwoman then orders #14 to free the others, using her "magnetic electron device".

Flanagan then steps in with the suggestion that they all have a "pow-wow" to sort the situation out. Neon starts pushing his drugs (offering "depression pills" as well as "happy pills"), until Rat Fink loses patience and speaks for everyone who’s ever watched this film:

"I’ve heard enough of this drivel from all of you!"

He further pronounces his lab to be a "sanctuary of science", which provokes Batwoman into telling him he’s EE-vil. She threatens to unmask him, and he demonstrates his "greatest discovery": the body divider! Rat Fink multiplies himself about ten times, and as bad country-esque music starts up on the soundtrack, everyone chases everyone else around in circles for a full two minutes. Finally, mercifully, Batwoman figures out how to reverse the divider, and disposes of all the Rat Fink copies. Rat Fink grabs the hearing aid and some handy Cobalt-40, threatening to blow everyone sky high; a dastardly scheme thwarted when the newly reformed Tiger ("This boy – has fallen in love!") simply takes the Cobalt away from him. Sheer genius!

Batwoman then makes good on an early threat, and unmasks her enemy. It’s (dum, dum, dum) – J.B. Christians! – which no doubt came as a huge shock to anyone who hadn’t noticed about forty minutes earlier that J.B. and Rat Fink had identical speaking voices.

And then it’s "That’s why I did it!" time, as J.B. explains that he suffers from - auyeurism? – what is the term for it? – a compulsive need to listen into other people’s telephone conversations.

So you see, The Wild World Of Batwoman is a tragedy after all. Poor J.B.! If only he’d been born a few decades later, in the era of the mobile phone! Then he’d’ve been able to listen in on the phone conversations of every single person in his immediate vicinity, all the time – whether he wanted to or not.

Now, you may have noticed that the past few scenes have been noticeably Heathcliffe-free. (Hope you enjoyed them. I know I did – relatively speaking.) Well, that’s all over now: Heathcliffe is about to come into his own, by managing to spill the Cobalt-40 on the hearing aid. More classic comedy, as all the characters toss the bomb from person to person, until they finally toss it to Heathcliffe (YES!!) and flee. And Heathcliffe just stands there, mugging, until the explosion….

….and the smoke clears, and Heathcliffe sits up out on the beach; proving what so many of us have long feared: you cannot kill the Odious Comic Relief©!

But something has happened to Heathcliffe. He’s standing up straight. He’s got his voice back. He’s not mugging!! Then he begins to remember – the experiment! And it transpires that Neon fed him some of their "formula", intended to "bring out the personality traits of an animal". And so he spent the past fourteen years as a chimp – a mugging chimp. Heathcliffe speaks sternly to the repentant Neon, but Neon is more concerned with his own injured back. So Heathcliffe leads him away, and – and – Neon is walking hunched like a chimp!! COM-ED-EEEE!!!!

The next day at Batwoman’s, the girls re-take their oath – as does new recruit, Tiger. And then, naturally, it’s time for more go-go dancing, as Tiger resumes his lesson. Meanwhile, the newly cultured, erudite and cravat-ed Heathcliffe (you just know he’s going start being pithy about "wet clothes" and "dry martinis") is explaining to Batwoman how his and Neon’s experiment went wrong. Neon himself is swatting flies with a rolled-up newspaper, and wouldn’t you know it? – he whomps Heathcliffe over the head with it! And Heathcliffe’s face twists – and he hunches – and – and---

NOOOOO!!!!!!

And Tiger go-go’s into the pool; and DHB has hysterics for some reason; and the other girls continue to go-go; and Heathcliffe mugs into the camera; and Batwoman stalks off in disgust; and the viewer realises that – there is no God!

And in conclusion, I’d just like to say----

You bastard, Pete! You bastard!

Footnote: You know, I didn’t think it was humanly possibly; but only a week after reviewing Destination Moon, I’ve had to deal with an Odious Comic Relief© more unbearable than Dick Wesson.

Different kinds of Odiousness, though. You don’t have to listen to Heathcliffe, that’s one positive thing. But on the other hand, he’s just there, all the time…. I don’t know which one’s worse.

Which got me to wondering, who’s your nomination for Most Odious Comic Relief© Of All Time? Email me at lyzard@iprimus.com.au and let me know. Film, TV, it doesn’t matter – I want to know who drives you crazy. And if I get enough responses, I might just publish the Odious Top Ten.

Want a second opinion of The Wild World Of Batwoman? Visit The Unknown Movies

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