Ms.45 (1981)


“A shy and mute seamstress goes insane after being attacked and raped twice in one day, in which she takes to the streets of New York after dark and randomly kills men with a .45 caliber gun.”
Ms.45 directed by legendary Abel Ferrara is a very nice little bit of early 80’s exploitation cinema if ever I saw one. I probably saw this film mid-late 80’s (I cannot recall exactly), but the performance of the late beautiful Zoë Lund has always stuck in my mind (as her performance in Bad Lieutenant which in some ways mirrored her own life).
In this, Zoë Lund plays Thana, a beautiful, mute seamstress who goes quite insane after being raped and attacked twice in one day (!). Pretty much after this occurs she takes matters into her own hands, and begins stalking the streets of New York with a .45 caliber pistol, killing random men!
This may sound silly to the average reader, but the tension and performance from Lund in this make this perhaps one of the better rape-revenge flicks of the 80’s (there were a few of those made!), and Abel’s fine directing skill (and downright grittiness) always prove a treat (especially in his earlier work).
The film’s earlier stages give a good indication on Thana’s earlier life as a seamstress, she seems very meek and coy, and is treated somewhat as a pet by other women who work there, which (in a way) is also as demeaning as what later happens to her by the men.
It is simply impossible to imagine Ms.45 with any other actress other than Zoë Lund, as she carries this film forward and delivers such a knockout performance it leaves us breathless, she is very believable, both as the meek and coy Thana, and the scorned, revenge-seeking Thana.
Certainly prowling the streets of New York city, seeing all men as rapists and therefore killing them is not the way to deal with what has happened to Thana, yet it feels normal, both to Thana, and to the viewer.
Men have caused an emotional scarring and trauma on Thana which she cannot comprehend or deal with in any other way but to extract violence on them all (which is very understandable how someone in this mindset would be).
This film is very unflinching, even in today’s day and age, and I believe a lot of the future Rape/Revenge flicks which came after it used Ms.45 to lay their ground foundations for their film – and rightfully so – this is a classic bit of exploitation cinema at it’s very best!
7.8 out of 10 – One of the best Rape/Revenge flicks of the 80’s!
R.I.P. Zoë Lund.

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