A disgruntled artist hires tough-talking private detective Mike Cash (Germán Cobos) to help prove he co-created 'Sexy Cat', a comic book femme fatale whose adventures are set to reach the screen. Yet mere moments after Cash departs the artist is clawed to death seemingly by Sexy Cat herself, come somehow to life. Perplexed police detective Lieutenant Cole (Vidal Molina) tasks a reluctant Cash to assist the investigation. Cash starts by questioning the dead man's unscrupulous employer, an arrogant photographer-turned-budding film director, but is soon distracted by scantily-clad models including super-sexy Sugar (Maria Villa), flirty Martha (Dyanik Zurakowska) and sneering, mixed-race Gale. After a quickie with Martha, Cash departs her dressing room but mere moments later... Yup, you guessed it. Sexy Cat lets a poisonous snake loose in the room. With another victim lying dead, the only suspect a comic book character and Cash too busy screwing sexy ladies to do any decent detective work, it's no wonder Lt. Cole reaches the end of his tether.
Spanish giallo horror-thrillers more often come across as cut-rate pastiches of Italian genre fare. Some, notably Paul Naschy's (a.k.a. Jacinto Molina) two outings Seven Murders for Scotland Yard (1971) and A Dragonfly for Each Corpse (1973), skirt close to parody. Yet Sexy Cat achieves its own distinctively off-kilter identity. This fumetti-flavoured pop art psycho-killer chiller is far from high art and squanders a playfully postmodern conceit arguably far better handled in The Avengers episode 'The Winged Avenger', but uproarious good fun nonetheless. More prolific as an actor, with twenty-eight films to his credit, Julio Perez Tabernero dabbled in directing exploitation fare from little-seen gothic horror Vampires of Vogel (1975) to sex comedy Hot Panties (1983). He does have the distinction, if that is the right word, of one film banned as a 'Video Nasty' in the UK: the infamously inept and awful Cannibal Terror (1980).
In an admittedly slight step up from that appalling effort Tabernero here proves himself a fairly competent craftsman. He assembles an eye-catching production, filmed in garish comic book colours with a pleasingly intricate if increasingly ridiculous plot, amusing hard-boiled dialogue, crowd-pleasing nudity and stylish violence. Some of the murders are more silly than suspenseful (the snake sequence is prolonged to absurdity with an hilarious punchline) but Tabernero injects the odd surreal frisson: intercutting images of a bloodshot eyeball or cackling witch. Germán Cobos' amusingly louche detective seems to have been styled after Mannix, the detective portrayed by Mike Connors on the long-running American TV show of the same name, but lacks his moral core. In fact Mike Cash does not really do anything all that heroic and either arrives too late on the scene or falters before someone else sorts things out, right down to the lively junkyard finale. Even so his alternately strained and affable relationship with Lt. Cole yields comedy gold as indeed does the latter's ongoing frustration as each suspect meets a grisly death.
Following the success of titles like Barbarella (1967), Danger: Diabolik (1968) and Isabella, Duchess of the Devils (1969), all of which became films, violent and erotic comic books were very popular across Europe. Later examples grew increasingly sadistic and pornographic to the point where, as happened in America two decades earlier, politicians, religious groups and cultural commentators declared things had gone too far. Sexy Cat raises this theme in a scene where one character states in no uncertain terms it is immoral that a woman (note the gender distinction there) should entertain people through murder. Yet the film is less interested in exploring this than simply reveling in the aftermath. Fair enough but then, why bring it up at all? With typical sleazy Seventies Euro-trash misogyny, Sexy Cat portrays all of its glamorous victims as fame-hungry, money-grubbing sluts. However, the campy tone deflates some of the dated sexual politics that play second fiddle to its equally offensive concept that comics and films are a morally corrupting force. Does that theory extend to movies like Sexy Cat?