through the early '90s Indonesia experienced an
economic boom leading to a relaxation of censorship
in popular entertainment. These conditions (while
had a major impact on the nation's fledgling film
industry, resulting in an explosion of low budget
exploitation flicks, some made with foreign distribution
in mind. Imitating trends then prevalent in Hollywood
yet fashioned with themes and motifs unique to
their own culture, Indonesian filmmakers created
some undeniably strange movies... of which Lady
Terminator (AKA Nasty Hunter) is
perhaps the best known. It actually received a
limited release in the U.S., playing a few theaters
before briefly going to VHS and then disappearing
altogether. Even so, I'd never heard of the film
before until now. It would've remained an obscure,
the average cult movie fan's radar
if not for
Mondo Macabro's new DVD edition.
An utterly shameless rip-off of The
Terminator, if one sets aside the distinctly
Indonesian backstory it's practically a carbon
copy of the 1984 James Cameron film. Dialog, camera
angles and entire set-pieces are mimicked with
gleeful abandon. At one point, during a massacre
at a nightclub, the hero actually says to the
intended victim, "Come with me if you want
to live." There's even an exacto knife/eye
surgery scene that's completely unnecessary to
the story but thrown in anyway, just because it
was a sequence of note in the Schwarzenegger flick.
I gotta hand it to director "Jalil Jackson"
(H. Tjut Djalil) and company.
If you're going to rip something off this brazenly,
at least do it with gusto. On that score at least
Lady Terminator is
a rousing success.
A prominent figure from Javanese folklore,
the legendary South Sea Queen,
is the film's heavy
not a time-traveling
robot from the future. This horny supernatural
siren dwells in a castle by the sea, where she
lures men to their doom. During sex, an eel inside
her vagina bites their peckers off at the height
of passion! (I couldn't make this up if I wanted
to.) One young stud is able to resist the Queen's
wiles. He snatches the eel from her snatch, upon
which it transforms into a magical dagger he uses
to defeat her. But before vanishing the furious
Queen swears vengeance against the man's great-granddaughter.
(Revenge is a dish best postponed, I guess.) Flash-forward
a hundred years... American anthropologist Tania
Wilson (Barbara Anne Constable) is researching
the lore surrounding the South Sea Queen, chartering
a boat to take her to the spot where legend says
the Queen's castle sank beneath the waves. As
Tania is scuba diving a tsunami suddenly appears
out of nowhere, destroying the boat and its crew.
She herself blacks out, only to awaken tied to
a huge mattress in an otherwise dark, empty void.
A really fake-looking cartoon eel slithers up
to Tania's prostrate form and enters her body
through her coochie! The spirit of the South Sea
Queen is reborn in the shapely anthropologist.
The possessed Tania then emerges naked from
the surf, seducing and slaughtering a pair of
drunken party boys she encounters on the beach.
As the police puzzle over the dickless corpses,
Tania begins stalking her intended victim, the
great-granddaughter of the man who bested the
South Sea Queen all those years ago
Erica (Claudia Angelique
Rademaker), an up-and-coming pop singer. (Thus
we're inevitably subjected to a bad musical number.)
Collecting an arsenal of weapons and killing anyone
who gets in her way, this supernatural assassin
absolutely will not stop until the target is eliminated.
Erica's only hope for survival is her elderly
uncle, a shaman with knowledge of the Queen's
magic powers, and Max McNeill
(Christopher J. Hart), top cop in Jakarta's "Speshal
Sekuriti" Squad (that's how it's spelled!) who
naturally falls in love with her.*
Countless bullets fly and multiple explosions
bloom before the final, ultimate confrontation.
Yes, Lady Terminator
is quite bad, but also enormously entertaining
the very essence of cinema cheese. I had a really
good time with this film. Its goofy, willy-nilly
mixture of action, horror and sexploitation elements
make for a heady psychotronic brew. The filmmakers
pull out all the stops within the limited budget,
doing so with surprising technical panache despite
the utter ridiculousness of the story. Just about
everything a cheese lover could hope for is on
hand: ludicrous plot, uproariously inane dialog,
terrible acting, tacky fashions and hairdos (based
on the reviews I've read to date, the astonishing
όber-mullet of Max's
buddy Snake will live in infamy), chintzy special
effects and, most importantly, an almost complete
lack of restraint. When our villainess kills a
soldier she doesn't do it half-assed, oh no. She
uses 20 or 30 bullets just to administer the coup
de grace, then kicks the dead guy in the
crotch for good measure. (It helps in these situations
that everybody's guns seem to be set on Unlimited
Ammo Mode. But even a Lady Terminator will eventually
exhaust her supply... That's when she relies on
her backup weapon: laser beams fired from her
eyes!) Explosive, wall-to-wall action is
the watchword for the final half-hour, as a rocket-firing
helicopter and an armored car
referred to as a "panzer" by the cops
are employed against the ferocious femme fatale.
(Who translated the script into English? Heinz
Then there's Lady T herself, Barbara Anne
Constable. Per the IMDB this marks her one and
only film credit. Too bad, I say. We first meet
her as the whiny anthropologist seeking an old
book of legends, wearing glasses and frumpy clothes
looking for all the world like that mousy, annoying
former MTV hostess, Kennedy. This can't
be our ferocious female killing machine, I thought.
Next Constable appears on the charter boat in
a black bikini, at which point my eyebrows first
shot up. (Hey now... that sure doesn't
look like Kennedy!) When she strolled topless
onto the beach, body glistening in the moonlight,
I felt I'd discovered a new B-movie goddess. Once
she suited up in that black leather ensemble (where'd
she get the green tube top?) I was practically
in love. Constable has only a single line of dialog
after becoming possessed but delivers a commendable
performance in Terminator mode. She actually gives
Arnold a run for his money in the relentless,
stone-faced robot department. (And is much better
looking to boot.) Now just why the spirit of the
vengeful, hotheaded South Sea Queen suddenly becomes
a cold, unemotional automaton when transferred
to another body is, like everything else in this
film, never explained. But plot and logic be damned!
Let's be honest, fellas... When you've got a hot-lookin',
heat-packin' chick in leather cookin' off thousands
of rounds of automatic weapons fire
and occasionally getting naked during lulls in
do you really need much else? That she comes packaged
with all that tasty cheese only sweetens the deal.
So load that bong and crack open the hooch...
This is a great party flick, y'all. Just remember
to knock back a shot in honor of the folks at
Mondo Macabro, who dared to bring this deliciously
goofy film to our shores.
looks surprisingly good on MM's new DVD when one
considers the film's obscurity and low budget
transfer is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen.
and minor instances of print damage make occasional
appearances but are never distracting;
color balance looks spot-on. A serviceable mono
audio track renders dialog, gunfire, explosions
and the Casio-composed music score clear and distortion-free.
include a worn, dupey-looking (but still amusing)
trailer, alternate "clothed" scenes
(for domestic audiences),
a filmography of director Djalil, a gallery of
promotional art/video box covers, and two step-through
text essays. The first of these is a broad overview
of Indonesian horror/exploitation films, while
the second, The Legend of the South Sea Queen,
provides insights into the native folklore that
inspired the movie's villain and explains the
significance of Constable's hotel room scenes
(which otherwise don't make much sense to non-Indonesians).
Best of all is the informative, well-rounded 25-minute
documentary on Indonesian "eploitica".
It features interviews with a number of the scene's
major stars and behind-the-camera players (including
Djalil), interwoven from clips from a number of
their truly bizarre movies. A
compilation trailer reel of Mondo Macabro titles
including a few tantalizing glimpses of upcoming
releases tops off the package.