Who doesn’t like a good revenge movie? Among this genre, there is a sub-genre. The rape-revenge movie. A well-worn trope. I like Ms.45 as it has a more interesting take on the sub-genre.
Ms.45 starts out with us following a day in the life of a mute seamstress named Thana in New York City. As you can imagine, she is about to have the worst day of her life. After leaving work, she is yanked into an alley on some typically sleazy New York side street and raped. While this is going on, her apartment is being broken into. After pulling herself together just enough to get home, she arrives at her apartment while the burglar is still there. She is promptly raped again.
Stick with me here.
This time, she manages to grab onto a solid glass apple decoration and smash the rapist upside the head. This knocks him for a loop long enough for her to grab an iron and flatten his brains. Then, while in shock she drags his body into her bathtub.
Things escalate from here. The next day at work she gets the idea to saw up the body. She cuts him up and stores the pieces in her fridge. She does keep his pistol, though… for future protection.
She goes about dropping off pieces of the body around NY’s various trash heaps to get rid of the evidence. While dropping off a bag one day, some mook notices and thinks she’s left a grocery bag by accident. He picks it up and chases after her to return it. Thana panics and runs into a dead-end where he catches up. In a moment of panic, she yanks out the gun and blows him away.
This sets off a taste for vengeance in Thana that can’t be quenched. After realizing she can put up on some makeup and act seductively, she can lure men to their death, just like my ex-wife.
She gets half a dozen would-be rapists on her first night out. The problem is, Thana isn’t the Punisher or Paul Kersey. She is more like Travis Bickle. Any man will do.
That’s the point Ms.45 makes a heel turn. It turns out this isn’t so much a rape-revenge story, it’s a villain origin story. By the end, Thana is wasting any man in front of her gun sights, not just pervs and creeps.
The movie climaxes (no pun intended) at a Halloween party with Thana dressed as a naughty nun as she mows down as many men as she can see before she is put out of her pain by her best friend, Laurie. Laurie turns out to be the real hero of the story. She is everything Thana wants to be. Confident, brave, cool. And she is pretty fucking cool in the movie. I wish we got more of her.
End Of Spoilers
Directed by preeminent sleaze master Able Ferrara, who directed Driller Killer and Bad Lieutenant, it stars the beautiful Zoe Lund.
She isn’t with us anymore because she loved her some heroin. Unapologetically loved her some heroin. She loved it so much she advocated for its legalization. She did manage to kick the heroin and replace it with coke though… which killed her in 1999. You can’t do heroin and coke for that many years without a cost, kids.
Her best friend is played by Darlene Stuto. Apparently, this is the only acting Stuto ever did. Or at least the only acting she ever got a credit for. Shame.
This is a great movie. Made in 1981 and set in New York City, it really oozes the sleaze of the time. The shots on the street show the Big Apple in all its early 80’s glory. A much more interesting city to look at than it is now.
While it is pure exploitation, there is more to it than that. There is some real pathos in parts. I didn’t talk about those scenes because I want them to surprise you if you give Ms.45 a try. The director is no hack, despite the subject of the film, and is always worth watching if you can get past any distaste you might have for exploitation.
Lastly, Ms.45 doesn’t even use a .45 caliber gun in the film. In reality, it is a Star Model B in 9x19mm. Sigh…