Actor/author/musician Zoe Tamerlis Lund plays a mousy young mute woman who after a rape goes through a transformation that eventually turns her into a sexy killer in Ms. 45 aka Ms. 45: The Sweet Avenger. (1981).
Zoe was still a teenager when she played Thana (Death), & quite naturally conveys a fresh innocence even in the midst of acting out extremely tough revenge fantasies.
Yet Zoe was streetwise rather too early in her actual life, so the youthful freshness never conveys weakness, unlike so many "amazonian" roles cast to be busty beauties who couldn't possibly do what the scripts pretend.
Zoe wrote Bad Lieutenant (1992) & cameoed as the Bad Lieutenant's druggy mistress. She was simply a greatly multitalented person, who should've, like William Burroughs, lived an inexplicably long & creative life. Alas she died young, in 1999, her drug use having damaged her heart.
Abel Ferrara obvioiusly gets a woody for this type of character, yet treats the simple exploitation story with just enough seriousness & respect to make it more than mere exploitation.
I felt it transcended its subject matter & Zoe becomes like a mythic figure, a Fury. This was only in part because of Ferrara's admitted skill as a director, for Nicholas St. John's screenplay could easily have come off as nothing but a masochist's fantasy of a mute violent sex object, but for Ferrara's & Zoe Tamerlis' finer takes.
Zoe herself had the most to do with the effectiveness of the role, meaning Abel's genius was chiefly in the casting. Zoe's interpretative attitude mimes every conceivable emotional state from rage to depression. She makes mime a high art, & she upraises Ms 45 high above the sum of its parts.
Viewers who are already misogynistic & who much prefer to see a hip male psycho killing innocent women will not like this reversal. But whoever likes every possible variant of the violent psycho killer genre will find this one well above the usual low standard for such films.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl