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Ms. 45 (1981)

Cast: Zoe Tamerlis [Lund], Steve Singer, Jack Thibeau, more...
Director: Abel Ferrara
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Studio: Image Entertainment
Genre: Cult, Quest, Revenge, Erotica
Running Time: 80 min.
Languages: English
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Undeservedly thrashed by mainstream critics in its initial theatrical run, this stylish urban thriller from quirky director Abel Ferrara has since developed a modest cult following. The late Zoe Tamerlis stars as Thana, a mute seamstress in New York's Garment District who is raped by two different assailants in a single evening -- once on her way home, a second time in her apartment by a sleazy burglar (Peter Yellen). She manages to bludgeon her second attacker to death with an iron, keeping his .45 automatic and disposing of his body one piece at a time in various locations throughout the city. When a bystander tries to apprehend her after watching her dispose of another grisly piece of evidence, she shoots him dead with the automatic. This act of violent release triggers a latent misanthropic impulse in the waifish Thana -- who was not very stable to begin with -- and she begins pumping hot lead into any predatory male she can find. The bloodbath continues unabated until the surreal, Sam Peckinpah-inspired climax, in which our anti-heroine escapes a Halloween party to square off against multiple male foes while wearing a nun's habit and blood-red lipstick. This film could be viewed as a distaff version of Ferrara's Driller Killer; where the director's previous effort was purely nihilistic, with a killer driven by urban decay, here he depicts Thana as a gun-toting agent of revenge who seems to have absorbed the collective anger of wronged women everywhere -- including women exploited in other movies of the same genre. ~ Cavett Binion, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Vigilante Seamstress by Shermonster March 4, 2006 - 12:18 PM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Shot in 1981 and directed by Abel Ferrara (The Driller Killer, King of New York, The Bad Lieutenant, among others) this is the story of a mute seamstress named Thana who has a bad night. She gets violently raped at gunpoint in an alley on her way home from work one evening, and upon getting herself back to her apartment, interrupts a burglar who rapes her again.

This sets the stage for a revenge killing spree the likes of which New York City has never seen.

There is some gore, but not nearly as much as I feared there might be. A surprise to me was the cinematography, which at times was really stunning (especially for a low-budget indie flick). I was really impressed with the way several of the scenes/shots were set up.

Beneath the rather thin revenge plot is a (rather thin) feminist message that, nonetheless, adds some depth to the whole experience. The more Thana kills, the more she begins to thrive. She becomes empowered - an utterly new experience for her. Her self-esteem improves and her confidence builds. In fact, a killing spree seems to be just the thing she needed to break out of that shell she was hiding in.

As the film nears its climax, our anti-heroine is dressed as a nun in bright red lipstick wielding her .45. It's one of those cinematic images that, once you've seen it, you'll never forget.

At 80 minutes, it never got boring. My friends who watched it with me didn't appreciate it as much as I did. But I liked it.

If you like cult films, violence but not too much gore, some hilarity (both intended and unintended) and appreciate an eye for composition and artful cinematography - I think you'll dig Ms. 45.

This title is currently unavailable on disc or is no longer in-print.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.94)
78 Votes
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