In the same vein as “I Spit on Your Grave” released in 1978, “Ms.45” released in 1981 is a rape revenge shocker. A B style feminist film of a woman’s revenge against the men who have assaulted her. While “Grave” got all the attention, good and bad, “Ms.45” has been a hard to find almost forgotten cult classic. In 2014 Drafthouse Films released a new remastered copy of the film on DVD and Blu-ray.
Directed by Abel Ferrara and starring the amazing Zoe (Tamerlis) Lund. This was Zoe’s film debut and at only 17 is quite the revelation as the mute garment worker Thana. Like most of Ferrara’s films the story takes place on the gritty streets of New York City. This was the early 80s so it has that grimy sleazy feel to it. It is established early on that all men are dirty sex crazed pigs, and on the way home from work the meek and innocent Thana is hauled off into an alley and raped by a masked man. While this is happening another man is breaking into her apartment. In a state of shock Thana makes her way home only to run into the burglar still in her apartment, where she is raped again. Although this time she is able to kill her assailant with an iron. Now what to do with the body? She pulls him into the bathtub and dismembers him, wrapping his pieces in garbage bags which she gets rids of on walks throughout the film. Thana’s journey from sweet and innocence to sexy cold blooded killer is amazing as Zoe shows great range and boldness for a girl her age.
Thana’s work starts to suffer and her boss, Albert, gives her a break because of her severe disability. Her nightmares and anxiety drive her over the edge and after shooting another over eager sleezeball in the face, she starts actively looking for more victims. She lays on the red lipstick pretty thick as she trolls the streets doling her brand of vigilante justice. Her stereotypical victims are actually pretty funny. She kills a pimp whose whaling on one of his girls. Then gets into a car with a Arab Sheik who thinks she’s a prostitute, she kills him and his driver. In another ridiculous encounter she kills or injures an entire street gang. This is all pure B movie awesomeness.
In an effort to make Thanna feel better and be more apart of things, Albert wants her to attend a Halloween party and she agrees. This party in the climax to this great piece of cinema. Dressed as a nun with Albert as her date she mingles with the crowd and they both eventually go upstairs. Although Albert is obviously gay, he comes on to Thanna and pays the price, but in this instance Thanna was in full control and looks to have planned his murder. She then goes on a slow motion killing spree throughout the party targeting all the men. She is taken down by one of her female co-workers with a knife to the back, metaphors anyone?
This is a great film if you love the nostalgic seventies-ish vibe. The musical score is full of whaling saxophones and disco beats. At a cost of about $70,000 this film has it all and I didn’t even mention Thanna’s eccentric landlady and her dog Phil. Check it out and you’ll have a great time!