MS. 45

Zoë Lund in Ms .45 (1981)

MS. 45

(director: Abel Ferrara; screenwriter: Nicholas St. John; cinematographer: James Lemmo; editor: Christopher Andrews; music: Joe Delia; cast: Zoë Tamerlis (Thana), Edita Sherman (Mrs Nasone, landlady), Albert Sinkys (Albert, boss), Vincent Gruppi (Heckler on Corner), Stanley Timms (The Pimp), S. Edward Singer (Rich Hall, Photographer), Jack Thibeau (Man in Bar), Abel Ferrara (1st Rapist), Peter Yellen (2nd Rapist), Darlene Stuto (Laurie), Helen McGara (Carol), Nike Zachmanoglou (Pamela); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: R; producer: ; ; 1981)

“It’s about as witty as a come-on from a hard-hat.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Abel Ferrara (“The Driller Killer”/”Fear City”/”Cat Chaser”/”Bad Lieutenant”) is a director I never took a liking to, and this cheesy no-budget tongue-in-cheek fantasy exploitation rape-revenge film is no exception. It takes up the feminism cause by having its pistol-toting heroine hunting down the male predators in Manhattan, but the director remains distant offering little moral support for his crazed female avenger and no criticism of her extremely violent response. This leaves it to the viewer to take it all in as entertainment, as just another pic trying to make it in the Big Apple any way it can.

Thana (Zoë Tamerlis) is a shy young mute seamstress in New York’s garment district. On her way home from work a man (Abel Ferrara) brutally rapes her in an alleyway and she barely staggers home, only to be met by a gun-pointing burglar in her apartment who will rape her. But she has enough wits about her to fatally bash him in the head with a paperweight. Thana becomes traumatized and instead of reporting these incidents, dismembers the burglar in her bathtub and starts dumping parts of his corpse in different outdoor garbage receptacles throughout the city. Keeping the burglar’s .45, she starts dressing more provocatively in order to attract predators and goes on a killing spree to rid the city of its chauvinist pigs. The list of her murders include a punky street corner heckler chasing her after making sexist remarks to passersby, a nerdy obnoxious photographer who follows her after she leaves her co-workers at a restaurant, a nasty pimp beating on his whore, a threatening black gang in the park, a guy in a chauffeur-driven limo who picks her up and while dressed as a nun at a costume ball her boss invites her to she goes on a cold-blooded random shooting spree of all those present.

It’s about as witty as a come-on from a hard-hat and about as pointless as an Abbott and Costello film. But its saving grace is that it could have been much worse if it was in the hands of a really sleazy director who didn’t know how to make this smut look arty.