Here is one of the most disturbing movie debuts ever: the shocking exploitation revenge classic “Ms. 45!”
“Ms. 45”, also known as “Angel of Vengeance”, is the 1981 cult classic directed by Abel Ferrara and starring Zoë Tamerlis Lund.
This film was Lund’s movie debut – an amazing performance from an Actress who died much too soon…here is the story:
Zoe Lund is mesmerizing as a young woman who decides to fight back against her attackers, in a style and tone that echoes some of the roughest 70’s revenge films made.
Here is how wikipedia describes the film:
Inspired by films such as 1973’s “Thriller – A Cruel Picture” and 1974’s “Death Wish”, the film is a rape and revenge story about Thana, a mute woman who becomes a misandristic spree killer after she is raped twice in one day when going home from work. It was critically maligned on its theatrical release, but is now generally highly regarded among fans of underground and independent film.
Here is the trailer for this powerful exploitation film:
“Ms. 45” was Lund’s acting debut. Amazingly, Zoë was only 17 years old when she starred in the film, and a creative turn away from something she had been involved in all her life: music.
At a young age, she was an accomplished composer/musician – but was always intrigued by film. As she said:
“I could write a concerto with 17 violins that could be very powerful, but film works on a more visceral level where I can go into the collective audience and make sure my point gets across.”
This is a powerful, raw and gut-wrenching film – directed by Abel Ferrara, who went on to make such provocative films as “Bad Lieutenant” with Harvey Keitel – with tremendous creative input from Lund! More on that in a moment…
“Ms. 45” is a tour de force for Zoe Lund, and she said at the time that she was fully involved in the character’s development:
“In the beginning stages of the film, the only material that existed was vague descriptions of several scenes. Being that my face is on camera, without dialogue, for something like 98% of the time, I was involved very much. As to the film being pro-woman, I go beyond that by saying that the film is as much pro-woman as it is pro-garment worker, whatever.”
Zoe’s “Bad” Behavior!
As I mentioned before, Director Ferrara later made “Bad Lieutenant”, and Zoë Lund collaborated with him on creating that character, one of cinema’s most unforgettable cops – living life on the edge.
Here is the trailer for this film:
In “Bad Lieutenant”, Lund has a small role, and showcases the rawness of her personal life – she was a heroin addict and was open and honest about that fact.
Here is a great interview clip from “Mediafunhouse” on Youtube where Lund discusses the scene in the movie where she shoots up onscreen:
Zoe Lund’s Tragic Heroin Downfall!
Yes, Lund shot up in the film, and was a regular heroin user in real life.
Here is the tragic True Hollywood Story. As wikipedia reports:
“Lund was unapologetic about her heroin addiction. She wrote at length about heroin and advocated it for legal recreational use in the USA, as well as romanticized its effects. “She loved heroin, she was killed by heroin,” Ferrara said on her heroin addiction. “…Zoe was one of these people who thought heroin was the greatest thing in the world, and she did until the day she died. She was down on coke, down on everything, but you know, heroin was the elixir of life for her.”
Yes, Lund was a heroin addict, and it ultimately killed her. She was 37 years old when she died. It’s a sad Hollywood story – but if you want to celebrate her life and career, go to a website in her name to see all that she created in her short life:
“Ms. 45” has a lot in common with the sexploitation classic “Thriller: A Cruel Picture” starring Christina Lindberg – a woman who is assaulted decides to fight back…
Christina Lindberg is the “Queen Of Artsploitation” – artistic films that still showcased sex, nudity and violence. Quentin Tarantino is a huge fan and based a character in “Kill Bill Vol. 1” on Lindberg’s character in “Thriller.”
Read more about this iconic “women’s revenge” picture here:
This is a new one on me, though I am a big fan of Bad Lieutenant. Looks like a cross between that film, and Death Wish. Thanks for the introduction, John.
Best wishes, Pete.
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Pete, it’s a very raw low budget film – it is also “Thriller: A Cruel Picture” as well…
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