Drafthouse Films Targets Ms. 45

Alamo distro arm picks up Abel Ferrara revenge classic

What's the opposite of a sophomore slump? When Abel Ferrara followed up his sleazeball debut The Driller Killer with Ms. 45, he created an exploitation masterpiece. Now Drafthouse Films is slamming a new clip in the deadly classic.

Zoë Tamerlis dressed to kill again in 1981's Ms. 45, scheduled to be reissued by Drafthouse Films this winter

Drafthouse will be releasing the full, uncut version of the film in theatres this December, with DVD and Blu-ray to follow. This is the complete version, never before released on disc in the U.S., and taken directly from the negative. At the same time UK-based boutique vinyl label Death Waltz Records will be releasing Joe Delia's score. They're already offering a free download of two tracks here.

At the time of its original release in 1981, Ms. 45 (aka Angel of Vengeance) was written off as another sordid entry in the rape-revenge canon. But the surrealist image of future Bad Lieutenant co-scripter Zoë Tamerlis dressed as a nun, blasting away at a Halloween party, that alone ensured its place as a classic of ’80s underground culture.

Tamerlis plays Thana, a mute seamstress in Manhattan's Garment District who is attacked twice in one day. Her violent mental breakdown and bloody killing spree stands with Catherine Deneuve's explosive murder spree in Repulsion. It evokes some of the same questions about the limits of revenge and self-defense, and foreshadowed Bernhard Goetz's infamous subway vigilantism by three years.

Announcing the acquisition, Drafthouse Films creative director said, "One of the primary missions with Drafthouse Films is to build a selection of films which destroy the barriers between 'art-house' and 'grindhouse,' and Abel Ferrara's work embodies just that. Ms. 45 is one of those fringe '80s films that has been somewhat marginalized as pure exploitation, so we are beyond thrilled to reintroduce it to a new audience of cinephiles."

This is the fifth time Drafthouse Films has ventured into the realm of archive re-releases. Its biggest artistic success came with Ozploitation masterpiece Wake in Fright, while negative-budget oddity Miami Connection has become a modern spin-kicking cult (read our interview with director Grand Master Y.K. Kim here). There was also the Texas resurrection of spaghetti Western oddity Comin' at Ya 3D (read our interview with actor/director Tony Anthony here). Still to come is gonzo Italian science-fiction/horror The Visitor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Drafthouse Films
Fantastic Fest Wave Three
Fantastic Fest Wave Three
Multiple monsters, sequels, and regulars (and RZA)

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 7, 2016

Fantastic Fest Snags <i>Arrival</i>
Fantastic Fest Snags Arrival
The Handmaiden, Sadako vs. Kayako in wave two

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 25, 2016

More Alamo Drafthouse
Lights, Camera, Camping!
Drafthouse Under the Stars
Alamo heads to the great outdoors for Sleepaway Camp

Marc Savlov, May 11, 2018

Drafthouse in Hot Water Again Over Association With Devin Faraci
Drafthouse in Hot Water Again Over Association With Devin Faraci
Update: Faraci resigns, company to begin employee outreach

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 13, 2017

More by Richard Whittaker
New Road Trip Drama Travels into <i>No Man's Land</i>
New Road Trip Drama Travels into No Man's Land
The filmmaking Allyn brothers see Mexico through a new lens

Jan. 22, 2021

Austin-made <i>Walker</i> Debuts Tonight
Austin-made Walker Debuts Tonight
Tune in to the CW as Jared Padalecki steps in Chuck Norris' boots

Jan. 21, 2021


Drafthouse Films, Alamo Drafthouse, Evan Husney, Zoë Tamerlis, Abel Ferrara, Ms. 45, Death Waltz Recording Co., The Driller Killer, Bad Lieutenant, Miami Connection, The Visitor, Wake in Fright, Comin' at Ya 3D

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle