Lady Terminator screens this Thursday, November 4th at 7:00pm at Toronto Underground Cinema.
I can unequivocally state that Lady Terminator is the best film to ever come out of Indonesia. It is a true powerhouse of a film that will make you question existence itself. Why are we here? What are we doing here? How did we get to this point? Who the fuck was that I just saw? Where does this movie even take place? The brilliance of this film is that it lets you draw your own conclusions. Nothing is spelled out for you. It is truly a thinking person's movie, because while you think you are watching a movie, you really watching cinematic history.
Lady Terminator and the 1984 Arnold Schwarzenegger film The Terminator have many similarities. Scenes from the latter are directly lifted (and in some cases along with the dialog) to suit the needs of Lady Terminator's ground breaking story. Actually, that story is just a retelling of the Legend of the South Sea Queen and something involving snakes in vaginas and a mystical anthropological quest gone horribly wrong. It's that AND the plot of The Terminator.
Barbara Anne Constable (who also does her own make-up!) is handed the role of a lifetime as serious anthropology student Tania Wilson who takes an ill fated voyage at sea and somehow becomes possessed by the spirit of the vengeful South Sea queen. The film shows this transformation as a sort of fever dream that Sam Mendes very obviously ripped off when he shot Kevin Spacey's rose petal infused dream sequence in American Beauty. Is nothing sacred anymore? THIS FILM WAS SHOT IN 1988 MENDES! YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE YOU FUCKING HACK. Yeah, just add some rose petals, Mendes. That will throw people off the scent. God, I hate you.
Apparently, being possessed by an ancient evil deity turns you into a cyborg or some shit bent on seeking out and killing the great granddaughter of the man who thwarted her evil penis stealing plans ages before she was even born. This is where the cries that Lady Terminator is a blatant rip off of James Cameron's film lose their credibility. The Terminator is about a cyborg from the future sent to the past to kill the leader of the resistance. Lady Terminator is about an ancient evil FROM THE PAST who turns idiot students into unstoppable killing machines bent on killing someone who did absolutely nothing out of revenge.
Lady Terminator, or as I like to call her, L.T., is tasked with killing up and coming your singing superstar Erica. You know Erica is going places when she gets her own news report explaining that she has a show at a local cyberpunkish looking bar. Her great protector is Max McNeil (played by Christopher J. Hart, in a career defining performance), a police officer who is investigating a string of corpses that have been piling up like hot dogs. Except these corpses are missing their "hot dogs" and were killed quite obviously in the manner of the South Sea Queen. Max is an American, which means he has American friends and cousins with access to helicopters, tanks, sub-machine guns and good old fashioned American know how and machismo.
Lady Terminator was made in Indonesia at a point where many films that were being made there were just knock offs of American films. A quota was in place on the number of American films that could actually screen in Indonesia, so the more enterprising people would try to skirt copyright laws by making films like this. In some ways, Lady Terminator is a better film that The Terminator. It is certainly funnier, and by virtue of the fact that it took place in a modern time with a deity from the past, it is certainly more historically accurate. It is certainly no more preprosterous than Dreamcatcher.