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Ms. 45: Abel Ferrara's "Feminist" Revenge Fantasy

Ms. 45: Abel Ferrara's
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Director Abel Ferrara—best-known for his macho, violent, cult-worshipped exploitation flicks about the mean streets of late-1970s to late-'80s New York City (The Driller Killer, King of New York, Bad Lieutenant)—has a creepy cameo in Ms. 45. Only five minutes and 16 seconds into the film, Ferrara, looking perfectly "street thug" and wearing a shiny plastic mask on his face, jumps out of an alley and attacks a mute woman named Thana (played by doe-eyed actress Zoë Lund) who's walking home from work. He rapes her right there, in broad daylight, and sends her on down the sidewalk.

After some silent sobbing (she's mute, remember!), Thana wearily returns home to her apartment, only to find (zoinks!) a robber hiding inside. When the robber discovers Thana doesn't have any cash (or a voice to scream with), he decides to rape her (double-triple-zoinks!), too.

Even in the older, meaner, pre-Giuliani New York, it's hard to believe that some shy ghost of a woman, who works ever-so-silently as a seamstress, could be raped by two different creeps in just one afternoon. It's even harder to believe that she could crack the rapey-robber-dude in the head with an iron so hard that it would kill him (or that she'd have the balls to cut him into pieces in her bathtub using just a bread knife).

BUT! In an exploitation flick, you must believe the unbelievable. Ferrara's 1981 "feminist" take on a vengeful, vigilante murder spree has recently been restored and released for 2013. Can a modern audience survive Thana's rape scene(s) (or all the wailing saxophone music)? Will they try to believe she's such a killer shot with a .45 caliber handgun? Or will they simply be satiated with her much-deserved vengeance (and/or how sexy she looks in a nun's habit)? Gotta go for see yourself. recommended

 

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1
Also worth mentioning: some of the men that fall at the feet of Ms. 45's fabulous "feminist" fury are: A mean pimp, a Terry Richardson-eque fashion photographer, a cat-killing barfly drunk, a millionaire sheik, and of course, the aforementioned rapey-robber.
Posted by Kelly O on December 12, 2013 at 12:22 PM · Report this
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3
@1 - So she's killing a bunch of random products of the patriarchy and the 99% whose conditioning basically guaranteed a life of violence and misogyny, plus one wealthy foreigner. Not once does she gun down a wealthy white Republican who was instrumental in the closing down of an abortion clinic?

This is why exploitation films are so stupid.
Posted by johnjjeeves on December 12, 2013 at 1:43 PM · Report this
4
@3 - Not arguing - and that's a good point.

It was made in 1981. No 99% yet. Well, not defined as such!
Posted by Kelly O on December 12, 2013 at 1:58 PM · Report this
5
Must be hard to write about a film, when you're out of Cocaine.
Posted by Amber giacone on December 13, 2013 at 10:32 AM · Report this
6
@5 - I think you're mistaking me for someone else.... Ooh, and/or have you seen this B-movie gem, free, on Netflix streaming?

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…
Posted by Kelly O on December 13, 2013 at 12:01 PM · Report this
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8
@1, @3, & @4: You share some very good observations.
I another somewhat relative film plot, I still cheer when Susan Sarandon blows away Harlan Puckett in Thelma & Louise.

@5: Uhhhhhh, I think you mean Arthur Ziffrelli.....?
Posted by auntie grizelda on December 13, 2013 at 1:10 PM · Report this
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10
Arnold Ziffel?
Posted by James Early on December 15, 2013 at 12:03 AM · Report this

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