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dog days

Friday, May 1, 2015

Lady Terminator


Lady Terminator
1989
H. Tjut Djalil

The evil Queen of the South Sea, goes through husband after husband thanks to an eel inside her that bites off their penises when they don’t satisfy her. Finally, one hunky stud manages to alleviate her of her eel. She vows to return and kill the man's great granddaughter. We jump to beautiful 1989, and an anthropologist named, Tania (Barbara Anne Constable), is studying the South Sea Queen when she finds herself possessed while scuba diving. The South Sea Queen comes ashore, tears a few dicks off, and grabs a gun. Her target, a woman named Erica (Claudia Angelique Rademaker), a famous pop-singer, and  great granddaughter of the man who defeated her a hundred years ago.

The original Terminator could have used more wizard battles.
What sets Lady Terminator apart from your standard Italian rip-off, is instead of just smashing together characters, scenes and music from big-budget U.S. productions (and don’t get me wrong, Lady Terminator does plenty of that), Lady Terminator also filters the whole thing through the legends and stories of Indonesia. It gives Lady Terminator a unique Indonesian flavor, and turns it from just another Terminator (1984) clone into something outlandishly weird.

The opening act of Lady Terminator feels more like an erotic fantasy film, filled with lacy curtains and close-ups of sweaty actors rolling around on one another. There’s no nice way to transition to a killer cyborg/zombie/mermaid stalking a lone woman in the late 1980s. A film like Lady Terminator isn’t concerned with nice transitions and instead goes for batshit insane by having our errant anthropologist dive into the only ocean, only to find herself suddenly tied to a large bed by gauzy cloth. That scene highlights how strangely demure Lady Terminator can be at times. There are laws in in Indonesia about showing nudity, so much of what is on display was shot only for the overseas market. Still, the movie is often forced to hide boobs in shadows, and leave all the dick removal to the imagination. Much like the U.S., bullet wounds and gallons of blood from gun violence is just fine though.

The real hero of this film, front and center.
When the third act hits, we see just how far the the movie is prepared to go. Where as The Terminator brought the conflict down to just Sarah Connor and the Terminator itself, Lady Terminator broadens things out. It decides to largely sideline its female lead and instead introduce APCs, attack helicopters, buckets worth of bullets being shot. It’s a loopy mess of a finale that flies by on pure energy and zero sense. Characters named things like Snake and Tubs take center stage, spitting one liners and firing off a hail of bullets. Planes explode for no reason. The South Sea Queen starts blasting everyone with lasers. It is a truly giddy experience.

Lady Terminator is a rare combination of being both an absurd trainwreck of a film, and at the same time incredibly watchable and entertaining. There is no downtime, when the movie isn’t presenting something strange, it’s throwing together some legitimately good looking action on the screen. It’s great fun and comes with an enthusiastic recommendation.

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