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Ms. 45 - Blu-ray Review

5 beersTurns out that one of New York City’s finest isn’t a cop at all.  She’s a pissed of victim of rape and violence and pretty much wants you to watch her put a bullet into the brain of any dude with a free swinging dick and a repulsive swagger to match.  Hell, after her brutal attack in the street and then again at home, having a casual conversation with her might lead to your untimely death.  She wears revenge well.  And, in the 1980s, when NYC was a goddamn shithole of filth and fury, she might even have been your very best friend.

Ms. 45, issued on blu-ray by Alamo Drafthouse Films, is a certified fucking masterpiece of vigilante streetcore exploitation splatter.  Once the film, directed by Driller Killer’s Abel Ferrara (also Bad Lieutenant, King Of New York), begins, you simply cannot look away.  Thana (Zoë Tamerlis Lund), a wordless seamstress in New York City's Garment District, just wants the world to leave her alone.  She writes it down as proof.  She writes a lot down, yet no one ever pays attention.  Maybe, armed with a .45, there’s another way for them to hear her. 

And what she has to say will chill you to the bone.  Forget about Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion. Pay no mind to Jodie Foster in The Brave OneMs. 45, with the late Zoë Tamerlis Lund turning in a hell of a performance (she was all of 17 at the time it was filmed), is the only film brave enough to give voice to the voiceless and victimized.  And how it deals with the trash of the city is quite poetic – even if it does unsettle the stomach.  PTSD is a reality and this film, with quite intense shock state moments, is a brutal reminder of things we hate to address in this country. 

This is Thana’s turn in the spotlight.  She goes from mousy employee to a vigilante dressed as a nun.  And she commands your attention until the ever-loving final frame.  It wasn’t an easy transformation for her.  She goes from being a victim of rape to killing in self-defense out of necessity – especially when the rape is done by two different individuals on the same fucking day – and is left with one body to dispose of. 

Dealing isn’t a strength of hers; it soon will be.  While other rape and revenge flicks sexualize the rape and its victims, Ms. 45 is content in making the act of vigilantism its sex appeal.  Thana doesn’t become manlier with the more catcalling males she kills – the showdown in the street being ripped straight from a Sergio Leone – yet she does become confident in her own insanity.  She even poses for the mirror before kissing the bullets she loads into her weapon of choice.

Dealing with the dismembering and disposal of bodies will force an intense metamorphosis upon her.  Wouldn’t it you?  We see it all.  The decision.  The vomit and the reminder of the attack.  It’s all played out on the screen.  Masterfully.  And the change starts out quietly but metastasizes rather quickly, requiring a sea change within and without her.  One her boss, Albert Sinkys as Albert, will certainly notice and try to exploit. 

Seeing as this transformation begins (as she is originally raped by a strange man in an even stranger mask) with costumes, it makes sense then that it end at a Halloween party with every single person dancing and living it up in monster suits.  Masks are everywhere.  Costumes are the order of the evening.  It makes sense then that Thana, with her red lipstick and nun outfit, would make an appearance.  And the body count would make Chuck Norris cringe.

So, go on.  Have a little fun with Ms. 45.  But watch your back and don’t even try to slip a hand up that dress, Albert.  That shit will get you killed.  Oh, wait…

Get bent with Ms. 45.


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Ms. 45 - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
81 mins
: Abel Ferrara
Nicholas St. John
Zoë Lund, Bogey, Albert Sinkys
: Horror
Crime will no longer roam the streets.
Memorable Movie Quote: "It's Greek to you, Bobby."
Theatrical Distributor:
Drafthouse Films
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 24, 1981
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 25, 2014
Synopsis: Abel Ferrara’s (Bad Lieutenant, King Of New York) 1981 revenge thriller classic Ms. 45 follows a mute garment-district seamstress – played by the late model/actress/musician/screenwriter Zoë Lund – who after falling victim to multiple unspeakable assaults, ignites her one-woman homicidal rampage against New York City’s entire male population.


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Ms. 45 - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Drafthouse Films
Available on Blu-ray
- March 25, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc; digital download
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Acquired by Alamo Drafthouse Films in October 2013 and remastered in HD from the original negatives, Ms. 45 is a glorious revelation on 1080p.  The MPEG-4 AVC transfer is presented with a 1.84:1 aspect ratio and faithfully preserves the original film’s look and feel with jazzy blues and popping reds.  The NYC streets are grimy and, I swear, you can actually smell the trash in the gutters.  The camera provides POVs that are leering and completely sell the attitudes of the men that populate the picture and, later, her own body counts.  Black levels are strong.  Visuals are crisp.  And, with merely a hint of scratches on the print, the upgrade is indeed poetic justice.  Joe Delia’s jazzy score is served well with a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track.



  • While highly recommended, it is sad that there are no commentaries for the film.

Special Features:

Loaded with interviews from Abel Ferrara, Delia, and production designer Jack McIntyre, this DVD-included release of Ms. 45 is the bang for the buck you’ve been looking for.  This is worth the price tag alone.  Ferrara is often scat-talking about his second directorial gig and very all over the place as he discusses the film and Lund herself.  Also included are two short films by Paul Rachman about Lund, who was tragically taken from this world due to drug abuse.  The release also includes a 4 essay booklet with photos, thoughts, disc credits, and art about the movie.

  • Interview with Director Abel Ferrara (8 min)
  • Interview with Composer Joe Delia (10 min)
  • Interview with Creative Consultant Jack McIntyre (11 min)
  • Zoë XO (6 min)
  • Zoë Rising (6 min)


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Ms. 45 - Blu-ray Review