Monday, May 01, 2006

Lady Terminator

When you throw a movie called LADY TERMINATOR into the DVD player there are several things you do not expect. Good acting, smart scripting or simple coherency are all things that you would be foolish to demand from a film with such a title. Add in the fact that it was made cheaply in Indonesia and you have a recipe for an alternative classic. That is to say- a film so heinously bad that it swallows its own tail and become great for all the wrong reasons.
One of the few things I did expect from this movie was some sort of (obviously female) killer cyborg tearing across a city in search of something. But did I get a cyborg? Hell no! What we have instead is a hot chick possessed by the spirit of a Witch on the hunt for vengeance. Maybe I should start from the beginning.

Our tale starts about 100 years ago when the South Sea Queen held sway over the land going through husbands at an astonishing rate. The down side to this arrangement is that she kills every man that doesn’t satisfy her sexually by removing his genitalia to put this...with HER genitalia. Seems she can clamp down pretty hard and it looks like a nasty and bloody way to die. Emphasis on the bloody. Finally a man comes (he, he) along that discharges his duty well enough to survive her lustful desires. This clever fellow then craftily removes the Witches powers by pulling what looks like a snake out of to put this carefully....HER nether regions. This of course angers the lustful lady to no end so she vows to return in a 100 years to take revenge on this guy’s descendants. She then disappears and has the sea swallow her castle. End of prelude.

Of course the first thing I thought was ‘Why doesn’t she just kick this guy’s butt right now and end this mess?’ She should have taken that snake thing (that has now turned into a strange glass knife) back and smacked that jumped up cabana boy around. She's the South Sea Queen dammit! She should get medieval on his ass! But instead we cut to the present day (1988 for those wondering) and meet our cast of bland modern characters. There’s Caucasian cop Max from the United States who's still mourning his murdered wife; the hot Caucasian anthropologist Tania researching the South Sea Queen legend; and the female Indonesian disco singer Erica who happens to be the descendant of...well, you already know, don’t you? The anthropologist takes a boat out to search for the submerged castle and (surprise!) is mystically possessed by that evil Queen who then returns to the mainland to immediately start screwing and killing hapless drunken men. She (somehow) tracks down Erica, pulls out an endless series of guns and tries to blow her away. Luckily for the poor innocent diva girl, bland cop Max is present and saves her. He doesn’t save any of the hundreds of other folks that get mown down by an impossible number of bullets but he manages to keep little disco darling alive. Beginning with this first gun battle the film becomes an almost scene for scene copy of James Cameron’s first TERMINATOR film. I was already having a blast with this bizarre film when this started and each stolen sequence only made me happier. By the time they repeated the carve-out-the-eyeball-over-the-sink scene I was in heaven. This is the way rip-off cinema is supposed to be- completely over the top and unafraid of plagiarism lawsuits! I’m not sure why the filmmakers felt the need to fill two of the main three roles with (bad) actors from the US unless it was to make it easier to sell overseas. I don’t even know if this thing played theatrically in the states. At least the anthropologist chick (Barbara Anne Constable) is easy on the eyes and not above supplying gratuitous nudity. I’m hoping the actor playing Max went back to bagging groceries when this was over.

Adapting James Cameron’s first TERMINATOR film to meet the needs of Indonesian myths is indeed a strange mix but if you can lock your brain in party mode there's a lot of fun here. The movie is dumb, filled with terrible dialog and is often just plain ridiculous but it is all these things in a completely charming (albeit R rated) way. Once the mullet haired ex-army buddy shows up with a tank I knew I had found a classic. This is the kind of film I love watching with like-minded friends as we play ‘spot the absurdity’. LADY TERMINATOR provides plenty of absurdity and it's one of my new favorite bad movies. I can’t wait to share its twisted pleasures with the world. Bid thanks to Mondo Macabro for putting this slice of cheesy joy out on DVD.

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