Friday, June 18, 2010

Pembalasan Ratu Pantai Selatan (Lady Terminator) (1988)

A magic snake crawls into an anthropologist's vagina and she goes on a leather-clad, machine gun-toting murderous rampage in Indonesia? OH HELL YES. Indeed, ladies, gentlemen, and transgender folk, this is actually the premise of Lady Terminator, a well-meaning rip-off of the American blockbuster. Tania Wilson (Barbara Anne Constable, also the make-up artist) is a big-haired anthropology student researching local folklore in Indonesia. She seeks the castle of the South Sea Queen, a vengeful sorceress who swore to take out the great-granddaughter of her ex-lover.

When Tania comes upon the now-underwater dwelling, a snake crawls into her vagina and she becomes possessed by the Sea Queen, imbuing her body with penis-mutilating sex powers and a thirst for murder. She hunts down Erica (Claudia Angelique Rademaker), a budding rock singer who's descended from the Sea Queen's lover, and goes off on a killing rampage in the midst of taking her out. An American cop (Christopher J Hart) endeavors to protect the young woman, but Lady Terminator's seeming indestructibility calls for some serious and explosive reinforcements.

Oh, where to begin? Lady Terminator is one of the finest examples of so-bad-it's-good cinema I've seen, with bad dubbing, cheesy special effects, a ludicrous premise, and my new favorite movie tagline. This was another part of the Revenge of the Grindhouse series at the Brattle, with curator Lars Nilsen explaining the casting as essentially profit-seeking producers rounding up whatever white people they could find in the area. And oh, does that show. The main white guy is laughably stiff, while Barbara Anne Constable is ridiculously over the top as Tania (the fact that the Australian actress was dubbed to have a Valley Girl accent makes it better) and thankfully mostly silent and pissed off as Lady Terminator. She's also topless for about one third of the movie, which I thought was pretty impressive.

This is definitely a film that needs to be experienced, as I can't quite sum up just how great it is. It's loaded with very literal references to the original The Terminator, including scenes lifted directly out of it but filtered through a poorly-written script. There's a copious amount of sex and violence, but I'd imagine it's not especially sexy for most dudes in the audience since most of the men end up with their junk sliced off by a vagina snake. It follows much of the Terminator format with its Persistent Superbeing Chases Lady and Alpha Male Protector plotline, but spices it up with a folk tale set-up and a lot more boobs. It's really strange and fun, features some fantastic dialogue ("Tom. My buddy." stands out as well as "If it bleeds, it dies!"), and surprisingly decent action sequences. The pseudo-white surfer dude/Spicoli-impersonator aka The Best Character, whose name I forget but I know the actor is Adam Stardust (I know right!?), wasn't in it enough unfortunately, but really I'm just thankful to the film for introducing us to such a man.

As a movie: 2/5
As entertainment: 4.5/5

Check out the trailer!

6 comments:

  1. What a terrifically awful trailer - I must see this film. Where on earth did you come across this film? Brilliant!

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  2. Klaus: You should definitely seek it out! It was screened at a special grindhouse film series at a local repertory theatre. I don't know how easy it will be to find but I know it was released on dvd and vhs in the US at some point so you should be able to get a copy online. It'll be worth it!

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  3. Hey Alex, like the new layout, especially the new banner, great colours. I love that you have films from all over the world, gives a feeling of versatility to the blog, which is convenient as I am tagging you in this Versatile Blogger Award Meme.

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  4. "It's all good."

    This was some spectacular cinema.

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  5. Barbara Anne Constable was kind enough to grant me the first-ever interview about her involvement in the film as the star of "Lady Terminator!" You can check it out on my blog (damnthatojeda.wordpress.com) and check out my lecture about the movie and the Indonesian exploitation films during the 70's and 80's via a link there. Also join The Lady Terminator Appreciation Society on Facebook and spread the word about this fantastic film. Thanks!

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