Ms .45 (1981)

Thana (Zoë Tamerlis, who also wrote director Abe Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant, is a mute seamstress working in New York City’s Garment District.

After she’s assaulted twice — once at gunpoint in an alley by a masked man and then again in her own apartment by a burglar — Thana lives up to her name, which is inspired by Thanatos the Greek god of death. She attacks the second man with a glass red apple and then beats him to death with an iron and leaves him in her tub. After dealing with her horrible work situation, she cuts her rapist apart and dumps him all over the city.

She keeps the man’s gun and soon uses it on another man who corners her, then runs up her steps and throws up in an echo of Paul Kersey’s first night of vigilantism in Death Wish.

Soon, she’s a literal Angel of Vengeance, which was the film’s other title. She targets a series of men who have treated women wrong and even causes one of them to kill himself when her gun jams. Finally, her vengeance reaches the point where she unleashes her full fury on her horrible boss and every man who attends her party as she whirls around, full action heroine, repeatedly shooting everyone while dressed as a nun.

Ms. 45 is better regarded than I Spit On Your Grave, perhaps because it doesn’t dwell in its rape scenes or have them take up much of the movie’s running time. Or maybe, just maybe, because it’s a much better movie.

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