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The Mysterious Saga of ‘Bat Pussy,’ the Worst Porn Ever Made

Considered the strangest and least arousing film of all time, its origins have remained a secret — until now

Given that there is a porn equivalent of everything, there is, of course, an adult version of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. Or if you’re of an older generation, Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space. It’s called Bat Pussy, and it’s widely cited as the single worst film in the history of porn. “It’s a lousy movie all around, from the ‘acting’ to the fucking, the nothing production values to the weird-ass, batshit-crazy improvised dialogue,” says Geoffrey Celen, a porn expert and founder of the smut-ranking site ThePornDude.com. “Nobody’s going to jack off to it unless they’re really hard up, but you can have some laughs and wallow in the awful weirdness of the whole thing.”

Discovered in the mid-1990s in the back of a Memphis movie theater by artist Mike McCarthy, Bat Pussy has subsequently become equal parts cult classic and mythical relic in the world of adult entertainment. Everything about it — from the performers to the director to the time and place of its cursed creation — remain completely unknown. It’s estimated to have been shot in the early 1970s, which would make it the world’s first-known porn parody, since it tries its best to poke fun at Adam West’s 1966 TV series Batman.

This timeless love story stars “Sam,” a freckled, pudgy woman with a beehive hairdo, and “Buddy,” a Walmart-brand Will Ferrell who can’t seem to get it up. His impotence is quickly overshadowed by the pair’s constant arguing, unsightly foreplay and baffling attempts at dirty talk — a la “Every time I run my tongue up your pussy, it comes out your asshole. Now what the fuckin’ deal is that?!” (Sam aptly counters with, “You motherfucker, you don’t even know how to eat somebody. You wouldn’t know how if you was doin’ your grandmother!”)

Then there’s Bat Pussy herself — civilian name “Dora Dildo” — who always knows a crime is about to be committed “when her twat begins to twitch.” From her headquarters inside an outhouse, Bat Pussy ventures off to stop Buddy and Sam from making a sex tape, traveling across fields and highways using her preferred mode of transportation — a hippity-hop ball. When she finally arrives at their bedroom, the three begin licking and dry-humping with a kind of deranged fervor.

Bat Pussy bouncing along from crime to crime. (All images are courtesy of Something Weird Video.)

The final 15 minutes of the film quickly devolve into a cringefest fever dream: Bat Pussy coughs over and over, as if made physically sick by the smell and taste of her partners. Buddy, that poor bastard, still can’t get it up. He repeatedly calls Bat Pussy “Batwoman” until Sam corrects him. Next, he falls off the bed, his ass crashing into Bat Pussy’s face on the way down. You see a crew member’s microphone come into view, and from off-screen, you hear the director desperately trying to give better instructions. It’s an absolute carnival of boner-killing fuck-ups, and when it finally faded to black on the autumn eve I first watched it, I wasn’t sure if I should laugh, cry or scream.

The ever romantic Sam and Buddy

So I mostly just headed down a Bat Pussy wormhole. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to go on. Neither the Pornhub upload nor the original Bat Pussy reel includes credits, and “Buddy,” “Sam” and “Dora” were almost certainly pseudonyms. Moreover, despite extensive research by the film’s devoted fanbase, it seems that Buddy and Sam were never seen in porn again. Dora, on the other hand, might play a second uncredited role in the infidelity-focused porn Hidden Lust and a third in the ranch-themed Twilight Cowboy, both of which were shot in the early 1970s. That, though, is where her trail goes cold.

Their twangy accents indicated that they hailed from the Southern U.S., but I wasn’t sure how to narrow it down from there — until I spoke with Lisa Petrucci. Known as one of the “Grand Dames of Lowbrow Art,” Petrucci is the head of Something Weird Video, the company responsible for distributing and popularizing Bat Pussy. When Something Weird did a 2K scan of the movie for its 2017 Blu-ray release, the improved video quality revealed a new, crucial detail. “Buddy had a tattoo on his ass,” Petrucci tells me. “It was a blob before, just a blurry thing. But once we did the scan, we could see that it was a [University of Arkansas] Razorback.” Thus, the film might have been shot in Arkansas or a neighboring state.

Razorback ass

Along those lines, Dennis Campa and Melinda Belles, a Texas-based couple that’s been working hard to track down the film’s birthplace, believe Bat Pussy likely originated in their home state. “At one point, Bat Pussy is on her hippity-hop on the side of the highway, and there’s one big truck that passes by,” Campa says. “I looked up the [logo] on the truck, and it’s for a company called Krestmark. It was an aluminum and siding company that was in Dallas for close to a century.” He also explains that Dallas had a thriving sexploitation scene at the time, and that Buddy mentions “Elm Street,” a major thoroughfare in Dallas made infamous by the JFK assassination

In terms of the production date (or year), a key observation — made by many a Bat Pussy viewer — relates to the magazine Buddy is reading in the opening shots. It’s an issue of Screw from September 14, 1970, and a seemingly crisp, new one at that. So unless the filmmaker had an oddly pristine back issue on hand, late 1970 is probably most likely.

The Screw magazine in question

This time and place would also match what could be the first advertisements for public showings of Bat Pussy. As shared by Campa and Belles on their Facebook page, these ads come from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in August 1971, and they announce viewings of The Adventures of Bat Woman at an adult theater in town. This could, of course, be a different Batman porn parody, but it’s unlikely; newspapers would have been reluctant to print the word “pussy,” and adult venues would have been wary of drawing too much attention to themselves. By showing anything that could be considered porn, they ran the risk of a crackdown by local authorities. In fact, an amateur film historian known as Spicy Goldman showed me a May 1975 issue of The Rag, an underground newspaper in Austin, which reported that police arrested the manager of a theater that had recently shown erotic films. Seized in the raid were two flicks: Mike Phallix, Private Dick and, whaddya know, The Adventures of Bat Pussy.

All of which leads to a surprising possible reason for why Buddy didn’t get hard for a single moment of the film — the law. “Sexploitation producers at the time were generally afraid of stiffies and penetration because of the legal implications and fear of being shut down,” explains Eric Schaefer, a professor emeritus at Emerson College who specializes in marginalized cinema. So by keeping Buddy’s little buddy so little (and limp), the makers of Bat Pussy may have been trying to steer clear of “hardcore pornography,” which was considered obscene and illegal at the time. As for what seprated “hardcore” porn from the rest, well, it wasn’t really specified — cue the famous line from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in the 1964 case Jacobellis v. Ohio: “I know it when I see it.” 

Interestingly, the aversion to harder fare was so pervasive that it birthed an entire subgenre of porn films called “softies” that featured flaccid dicks. As Petrucci tells it, “There were a bunch of movies where people are supposed to be having sex, but they physically can’t because the guys aren’t even hard.” It might look odd to our modern gaze, but in that era, Buddy’s floppy member was just par for the course.

More distinctively, Bat Pussy was a pioneering film in the porn parody genre, defined by its use of characters and plot lines taken from pop culture (inspiring a seemingly never-ending, ongoing stream of similar XXX content related to The Legend of Zelda, Teen Titans, Harry Potter and whatever other cultural totem you can think of). Whether it was a successful parody — whether for porn or of Batman — is another matter. “The [1960s] Batman show did tend to use shots of long duration during fight scenes, to capture all the action,” says Will Brooker, a professor of film and cultural studies at Kingston University who has written multiple books on the Caped Crusader. “This movie does that out of sheer laziness. When Bat Pussy gets changed, for instance, we see all the human awkwardness of struggling into costume, without any cuts. As such, I can see that the film could be funny — as 1960s Batman was — but I think we’d be laughing at it, rather than with it.”

“Aesthetically, the third season of Batman looks cheaper than the first and second, but Bat Pussy makes that season look like a lavish, big-budget extravaganza,” Brooker continues. “You can almost smell the interiors of the locations. Batman aimed for a gaudy, comic-book pop aesthetic. This is like the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in.”

“Overall, watching Bat Pussy would traumatize Batman even more than his parents’ death did,” he concludes. “I certainly won’t get over the experience.”

Our titular superheroine

Fair enough, I guess, but what makes porn “good” or “bad” in the first place? And in that regard, is Bat Pussy truly the worst porno ever made? 

“It seems to me that, with porn, all that counts is, ‘Does it turn you on?’” says Tim Grierson, MEL’s film critic. Celen agrees that quality is fundamentally subjective — “diff’rent strokes and all” — but that there are certain things he looks for as a reviewer. “What really separates the good from the bad is wild, enthusiastic sex between partners who seem legitimately hot and horny for each other,” he tells me. “If you’ve got that, you can make a great porno in your bedroom. If you haven’t got that, well, maybe you can slap together another Bat Pussy.”

Even so, Petrucci explains that when it was discovered in Memphis, the Bat Pussy reel was well-worn, meaning that it had probably turned somebody on — or at least piqued their curiosity.

Maybe, then, that sense of grinning fascination is the true legacy of Bat Pussy. “It’s a really interesting cultural artifact that captures the weird, entrepreneurial aspect of sex films in those days,” Belles says. “People were just trying to make a buck, so they’d throw anything on the screen. But you couldn’t just be like, ‘Well, here’s a bunch of sex’ — you had to make it seem somewhat legitimate [by adding a paper-thin plot] so you weren’t crushed by the authorities, especially in Texas. So Bat Pussy is like this snapshot of a fledgling industry.”

Petrucci has a soft spot for the film as well. In an essay titled “Bat Pussy, I Love You,” she writes, “The trio never cease to amuse and astound us with their hilariously insulting banter and constant berating of each other in the sack. But after awhile there’s something sweet and comforting about their raunchy pillow talk.”

I feel the exact same way. Buddy, Sam and Bat Pussy try so hard to be sexy — and fail so spectacularly — that you can’t help but develop a certain affection for them. And remembering their insane bits of dialogue — “Oh baby, I’m gonna climb up to your colon!” — always brings a spark of joy (to my day at least). Indeed, according to Petrucci, Bat Pussy has become one of the most beloved films in the entire Something Weird catalogue.

So will we ever discover the true identities of Sam and Buddy? Probably not. And Bat Pussy? I like to think she’s still out there somewhere — if not hippity-hopping down a Dallas freeway, then perhaps bouncing across new screens and into new hearts.

Godspeed, Bat Pussy. Bounce on.

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