Remember Her Name – Rediscovering ‘Ms.45’ (US 1981 – 80 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - October 25, 2013
Remember Her Name – Rediscovering ‘Ms.45’ (US 1981 – 80 mins)

Also known under the more lurid title ‘Angel of Vengeance’, the stylish revenge flick ‘Ms.45’ was only the third feature directed by 29 year old Abel Ferrara. His previous movie ‘Driller Killer’ was banned in the UK until 1999, mainly due to the shocking video cover depicting a close-up of a drill boring into a mans head.

‘Ms .45’ has shy mute seamstress Thana (hypnotically played by 19 year old Zoe Tamerlis), raped twice in the same day. First by a masked man on her way home (director Ferrara in a cameo), then again after disturbing a burglar in her flat. Managing to kill the burglar with an iron, she then proceeds to dismember the body and scatter the parts, wrapped in bin liners, all over the city.

A local man witnesses Thana dumping one of these bin bags, retrieves it and chases after her. Finding herself cornered down an alleyway, and fearing for her safety, Thana nervously shoots the man dead with the .45 caliber pistol that she had taken from the burglar. Fuelling her appetite for murder and revenge, Thana transforms herself into an avenging angel, walking the streets at night, targeting pimps, lowlifes and anyone else who seemingly annoys her.

The ending has Thana, dressed as a nun, attending her works Halloween party (where a poster for Ferrara’s previous movie ‘Driller Killer’ can be spotted). Once there, and after being set upon by a drunken reveller, she proceeds to cause chaos and mayhem by randomly shooting the partygoers.

Stylishly directed by Ferrara, who later made the cult 1990 thriller ‘King of New York’ with Christopher Walken, and the 1993 Madonna starrer ‘Dangerous Game’. Zoe Tamerlis went on to a starring role in Larry Cohen’s 1984 thriller ‘Special Effects’, and had a bit part as Harvey Keitel’s drug dealer in Ferrara’s 1992 police drama ‘Bad Lieutenant’ (which she also co-scripted). An advocate of heroin use, Zoe Tamerlis tragically died in 1999 from drug- related heart failure. She was only 37. Multi-talented, she had, in her time been a musician, actress, model and writer.

Although influenced by such diverse movies as Roman Polanski’s ‘Repulsion’ (1965) and Michael Winner’s 1974 crowd- pleaser ‘Death Wish’, Ms.45 has itself seemingly influenced more recent films. One of these was Robert Rodriguez’s 2010 grindhouse flick ‘Machete’, which had Lindsay Lohan’s character dressed as a nun, brandishing a hand gun in wholly Zoe Tamerlis style.

One of my favourite cult movies, MS.45 should not merely be seen as just another rape-revenge exploitation flick, but as an accomplished movie which is well acted by Tamerlis, and directed with flare by the talented Ferrara.

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