MS .45 (1981)

CONTENT WARNING: This post includes mentions of sexual violence.

To be completely clear: I do not like rape/revenge tales. While I realize that they can be cathartic for some, I almost always find them singularly unpleasant and poorly handled and wonder why I put myself through that, so I usually don’t. (This is partially why I’m mentioning it during my 31 Days of Horror posts.)

Abel Ferrara’s MS .45 is one of the few exceptions. I could go into detail about the film, but I’ll simply summarize it as so: a mute seamstress is raped twice in a day and, after the second, matters escalate.

It’s a visually striking film (partially thanks to its film stock), it feels sympathetic, and it features an amazing debut performance from Zoë Lund as a woman who just wants to be left alone. It feels subversive, especially for its time.

Instead of discussing it further, as I’m not quite the right person to do so, I highly suggest reading the exchange between Christy Lemire, Sheila O’Malley, and Susan Wloszczyna as they break down the film.