May 20, 2008

Ms.45 (1981)

When it comes to the movies of director Abel Ferrara I don't really get overly excited, because he is just too damned inconsistent. Sure, he gave us The King of New York and Bad Lieutenant amongst others, which are both solid movies. Unfortunately he also gave us the uninspired Body Snatchers and the laughable Dangerous Game. One movie though always escaped me, one that I have always wanted to see but never got around to it for one reason or another, and that was the infamous Ms.45, or Angel of Vengeance as I knew it in the UK. It wasn't that I am a particularly big fan of the rape/revenge genre, preferring instead the revenge genre, but there was always a desire to catch it. Maybe the lurid artwork of the hoodlum between a pair of legs, maybe the title, who knows? Having now seen it though I am glad I did, as this is one Ferrara movie he gets right.

The focus of the movie, and Ms.45 herself, is Thana, a young, reclusive and mute seamstress working in a very sleazy looking New York. Whilst making her way home after work one day is attacked and raped. As if that isn't bad enough she has to endure the ordeal again upon arriving home and disturbing an intruder. The second rapist is not as lucky as the first though as he doesn't get the chance to flee the scene. Instead Thana gives him a royal crack around the head with an iron, and then proceeds to make dog food out of him.

From here on in we follow Thana as she tries to overcome her ordeal, which after a couple of panic attacks basically results in her taking out her vengeance on the men she encounters, all who happen to be nasty, sleazy pieces of work; for the most part. Thana's growth in self confidence shows on the screen the further into the movie we go.

For a movie which such a brutal and disturbing premise I was pleasantly surprised to see that it doesn't focus on the physical act of rape, as some more famous (or infamous) movies have done. We see the damage done to her, the sight of her laying on the floor after the first attack spoke a thousand words. Instead the focus is on her vengeance, and what vengeance it is too.

As in other movies of this genre questions are asked of the viewer; does the punishment fit the crime? How far is too far? Well, that isn't for me to answer, instead as a viewer these and other questions will cross your mind.

I personally thought it was a fascinating movie, as even as I type this I find myself asking other questions of the movie. Questions that other viewers may well ask themselves. Of course, Ms.45 is a dirty, grimy movie, and so it should be, from the characters, to the locations and the events portrayed. It isn't as gruesome as say I Spit On Your Grave or Last House on the Left, but yes of course it is very violent in places, although the action never seemed to dwell too long on it. The point still gets across one way or another.

Ms.45 is not as gratuitous as I thought it may be, but it is still a tough movie to watch in places. Nonetheless I highly recommend it.

Rating 3 (out of 4)


Anonymous said...


the jaded viewer said...

Your dead on with your review. I love the totally fraked up ending where she's dressed up and goes ballistic...

I could watch that over and over again.

I even posted something myself a while back.

We should exchange links..first time I've been to a blog that totally understands what the old horror classic horror-sploitation is all about

-the jaded viewer

Lord of Filth said...

I appreciate the kind words my friend!