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Ms. 45 (1981) - Abel Ferrara

Related: 1981 films - American film - mute - Abel Ferrara - exploitation film - rape/revenge trope

Ms. 45 (1981) - Abel Ferrara
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Ms. 45 is a 1981 American action-drama film directed by directed by Abel Ferrara and starring ZoŽ Tamerlis Lund. Inspired by films such as Death Wish and other rape revenge films, the film's story is about Thana, a mute woman who becomes a vigilante after she is raped twice one night when coming home from work. Critically maligned on its theatrical release, the exploitive low-budget film is considered a cult classic.

Walking home from work one night, Thana, a mute seamstress in New York City's Garment District, is raped in an alley. She survives and makes her way back to her apartment, where encounters a burglar, who also rapes her. She bludgeons this second assailant to death with an iron. She then keeps his .45 automatic pistol, dismembers the burglar's body, puts the pieces into plastic garbage bags and disposes of them in various locations throughout the city.

Noticed by a man while she is disposing of one of the body parts, she fatally shoots him. Taking her impulse for vengeance further, Thana then transforms her appearance and sets out to kill any man who annoys her. At one point, she dons nun's habit and red lipstick while in a shoot-out at Halloween party. [1]


Abel Ferrara, the bad boy of American independent filmmaking, made his first splash with this violent twist on Death Wish and the revenge-vigilante genre. Nastassja Kinski look-alike ZoŽ Tamerlis Lund stars as a beautiful mute seamstress in New York's garment district, a shrinking violet who is brutally raped and assaulted not once but twice in the same day. After dispatching the second predator in an adrenaline-driven rush of panic, she pockets his handgun and disposes of the body in small chunks. Tamerlis makes the most of her wordless role, her wide-eyed vulnerability hardening to a dead-eyed determination as she transforms from quivering victim to avenging dark angel, a one-woman vigilante force hunting pimps, perverts, sickos, and slimeballs and using herself as bait. Consider this Ferrara's Taxi Driver, a very different portrait of New York's mean streets. Though this shot-on-the-cheap production occasionally suffers from amateurish performances in supporting roles, Ferrara's impeccable eye for composition and bravura sense of editing create momentum that carries it through to its memorable Halloween party finale. Tamerlis is decked out in a nun's habit with a slash of lipstick across her face, a handgun tucked in a garter, and a contract out on the entire male sex. It's a deliriously effective exploitation thriller that undercuts every expectation of the genre. Ferrara makes a cameo as the first attacker. Tamerlis later cowrote and costarred in Ferrara's most notorious production, Bad Lieutenant. --Sean Axmaker for Amazon.com

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