A new bad movie classic! What starts out as a fairly typical Eastern sorcery n’ magic yarn somehow mutates into a scene for scene rip-off of THE TERMINATOR. Containing wall-to-wall sex and violence, 1988’s LADY TERMINATOR is a briskly made B-movie perfect for viewers wanting to give their brains a ninety-minute rest.
The biggest surprise associated with LADY TERMINATOR is that this Indonesian obscurity made it to the US at all. With its gratuitous violence, graphic sex and the fact that it ignores any and all copyright laws, it’s the type of thing domestic distributors nowadays tend to avoid like the clap.
Yet somehow LADY TERMINATOR slipped through the cracks and wound up with a US video release in 1989, but went out of print almost immediately (I wonder if THE TERMINATOR’S distributors had anything to do with that, seeing as how it’s a blatant rip-off)—it appeared on DVD, however, in 2004. Furthermore, a special “video editor” is listed in the opening credits, inviting speculation that LT was re-edited for stateside distribution (which it was, from PEMBALASAN RATU PENTAI SELATAN, or THE REVENGE OF THE SOUTH SEA QUEEN).
The film is based on the true-life legend of the South Sea Queen, which has inspired quite a few Indonesian exploitation films. Here we have Tanya, a college cutie who unwisely journeys to the lair of the evil SSQ, an eighteenth century monarch who’s vowed to wreak vengeance on the offspring of an unfaithful lover. Tanya has barely stepped off her boat when she finds herself magically whisked away to the Queen’s haunted palace and tied spread-eagled to a bed. The Queen’s ghost, in the form of an eel, slithers into Tanya’s vagina (serpent rape is actually a fairly common practice in Eastern horror films—see the disgusting HELL SERPENT from the Philippines and the even more offensive LEWD LIZARD from Hong Kong).
It’s here that LT turns into a third rate TERMINATOR rehash. The now-possessed Tanya travels back to the mainland, dons a black leather outfit and embarks on a sex and slaughter spree. Her ultimate target is a pretty young rock singer who just happens to be the offspring the Queen is looking for…
THE TERMINATOR’S James Cameron has a definite lawsuit on his hands, but LT’s filmmakers do manage to work in some novel twists. The Lady Terminator, unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger, makes it a point to have sex with a few of her victims (so the horny eel inside of her can bite off the offending organs!) before shooting them. She’s also granted some neat magical powers: she’s impervious to bullets (along with just about everything else) and can shoot laser beams from her eyes capable of destroying entire buildings.
Director Jalil Jackson (real name: H. Tjut Jalil) keeps things moving with non-stop action and some nicely choreographed car chases, explosions and fight scenes. Nevertheless, the expected low-budget scuzziness does periodically rear its head. A shot of the Lady Terminator walking down a darkened hallway toward the camera is impressive…unfortunately, it’s used again and again, even in scenes where it’s clearly out of place (such as a brightly lit shopping mall). Of course, it remains to be seen whether this was the fault of Jackson, the original director, or Jim Markovic, the “video editor.”
And what’s with the ending? The camera pans up to an obviously fake starry sky, while a narrator lectures us about Man’s eternal conflict between good and evil, and then goes on to point out a few interesting constellations(???).
LADY TERMINATOR (PEMBALASAN RATU PENTAI SELATAN/THE REVENGE OF THE SOUTH SEA QUEEN)
Studio Entertainment/Soraya Intercine Film
Director: “Jalil Jackson” (H. Tjut Jalil)
Producer: Ram Soraya
Screenplay: Karr Krvinowz
Cinematography: Chuchu Suteja
“Video Editor”: Jim Markovic
Cast: Barbara Ann Constable, Christopher J. Hart, Laudia Angelique Rackmaker, Joseph P. McGlynn, Adam Stardust, Ikang Fawzi