Friday, July 25, 2014

Lady Terminator (1989)

Today I want to talk about the film Pembalasan ratu pantai selatan also known as Lady Terminator. It's bound to be obvious by now, to even the most oblivious folks, that I'm a huge Lady Terminator fan. It's one of those movies that people are likely to dismiss, despise, disparage, (or any number of negative d-related verbs). And I realize this movie is not everyone's cup of crotch serpents. But this film does have an audience. I'm part of that audience. Maybe you are, too. And perhaps if you aren't, I can convince you that this '80s Indonesian exploitation flick is worthy of your love. It's too much fun to be anything but!
Now, as you continue to read this post, it may seem as though I'm tearing this movie apart limb from limb. But know, I do it with love. What I am writing is a celebration of the blood, sweat and insanity that somehow birthed this spectacular piece of cinematic art. I love this movie to pieces and I hope what I am about to say conveys that.

And of course, it stands to reason, this post is riddled with spoilers. 

So, the story is this. The South Sea Queen has an itch that can't be scratched. She spends her days being fed grapes by her obedient handmaidens and partaking in unfulfilling canoodle sessions with Indonesian men sporting fluffy 80's hair-dos. Now, don't get excited, these canoodle sessions aren't any more enjoyable for the viewer than they are for Miss Itch. 

These encounters involve a lot of unsexy facial contortions, grunting and crotch serpents. Yeah, you heard me. CROTCH SERPENTS. HUNGRY crotch serpents. 

And there's nothing a crotch serpent enjoys more than a delicious meal of manly crotch fruit. 

I want to take a moment to acknowledge the previously mentioned handmaidens whose primary responsibility appears to be "waste management". 

“He is very heavy,” they whisper as they quietly groan and haul off the corpses left in the wake of Her Majesty's sexy times.

Miss Itchy's routine of sex and murder is upset one day when in a smoke machine enhanced entrance, a confident cracker strolls into her quarters. They waste no time, as his intentions are evident by his swagger. Or maybe the swagger is a result of his ultra-tight slacks. 

Either way, his mating display is successful and the two of them get right down to business. 

Miss Itchy is expecting her usual combo meal only Whiteboy's serving from an all new menu. He reaches down to her eel cove and pulls out the bitey little bugger. Then with what I can only assume is his White Devil magic aided by a dash of spectacular 80's special effects, he turns the serpent into a dagger. 

This of course, does not sit well with Miss Itchy who is annoyed that her regularly scheduled program has been cancelled. She rage-points at Whiteboy and rather than using her powers to crush this cocky, serpent stealer, she decides to avenge his insult in 100 years and take out her anger on his great-granddaughter. 

Then she pouts, her castle sinks (not shown) and she walks into the ocean, “to join forces with the powers of evil” which I think is code for, “take a long nap”. 
Then we one-two-skip-a-few years to a century later and we see a big-haired, American wandering around. She's supposed to be portraying wonderment and curiosity but really she just looks lost and confused. 

She enters a library and we meet this guy...

The Mysterious Librarian slowly steps forth from the smoke-filled shadows. It's apparent he is going for atmosphere here and not a utilitarian approach to lighting. This is a place of mysterious mysteries, dammit! He cares not about your resulting eyestrain!
Turns out our American girl, excuse me ANTHROPOLOGIST, is working on her thesis and she's looking for a book on the South Sea Queen.

Mysterious Librarian knows exactly which book she is seeking but before handing it over, he warns her that whoever discovers the secret of the South Sea Queen is putting their soul at risk.
“What is in this book may bring you to a fate worse than anything you can imagine.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Stop the boat. If Mysterious Librarian actually believes in the power of this legend and the danger it is capable of bringing about, why is he even considering handing it over to this broad?!? He is the WORST guardian of dangerous knowledge ever and his employee review better reflect that. If you ask me, this guy straight up doesn't give a fuck about her well-being. 

So Miss Anthropologist hires a boat and uses the information in the book in an attempt to locate the sunken castle. She does this despite her insistence that it's all legend and reminding us that she's an anthropologist who is far too intelligent to believe in any of this ancient mumbo jumbo. If it's all legend, what is she even planning to find? What is the point of this excursion? I don't know. It's all too confusing for my non-anthropologist brain.
The boat captain tries to convince her there are better places to dive and that her chosen location is extremely dangerous. But Captain Grumpy Pants is only a man and he just can't say no to Miss Anthropologist's charms. It is this decision that leads to his doom. While Miss Anthropologist is below the ocean's waves, Captain Grumpy Pants and his shipmate, Popeye, are capsized by a sudden tidal wave and never seen again.

Meanwhile, Miss Anthropologist has stumbled across the South Sea Queen's royal napping spot and has found herself tied to a bed where an eel slithers into her ladyparts. I mean, anthropologistparts. 

Now it probably just occurred to you that this movie is titled Lady Terminator, yet, at no point in the first 20 minutes has any part of this film even resembled the 1984 sci-fi action masterpiece about a time-traveling cyborg assassin. Well, prepare yourself. It's about to get Terminator-y up in here! 
With the blast of an 80s, animated lightning effect, Miss Anthropologist emerges nekkid, from the ocean. Her gait no longer that of the determined and spunky anthropologist we've come to love. Now, her movements are stiff...alien...robotic. (Though, I'm sure having a magical eel wedged in one's yoni is bound to make one's walk look a bit unnatural.) She has become a vessel of vengeance. She is LADY TERMINATOR.

The first people she comes into contact with are a couple of punks who are spending their wild Saturday night, drinking, taking massively long pisses and commiserating over their lack of female companionship. 

It's a little hard to tell in that gif but that punker is letting loose a a hot, steamy geyser of urine. With skills like that, I can't imagine why he doesn't have a date. Anyway, these two winners are pretty stoked to see a naked hottie strolling the beach and they attempt to seduce her with some charming pick-up lines.  

So Lady Terminator bumps uglies with the punks. Since she has a bad case of vaginal serpents, this does not go well for them. 

Lady Terminator hoofs it to a hotel where some kickass security guards work. Seriously. Check this guy... 

Lady Terminator enters a locked hotel room and proceeds to have an intense staring contest with a rather flattering portrait of the South Sea Queen. 

Some poltergeist shit starts happening. Things start levitating and tits start glowing. Stuff is exploding and catching on fire. Lady T knows how to party

Then the film cuts to a flashback of Johnny Wholesome drinking a beer and smiling shyly at a girl across the bar. A couple of rednecks, with Jeff Foxworthy accents, who are dressed to the nines in their very best shirtless vests, come in looking to get shit faced drunk. The way this guy sneers about milk is freaking hilarious. Seriously. Just look at the disdain on his face. 

Now, the movie would like you to believe that this scene is important because it shows us how valiant Johnny Wholesome is when he comes to the aid of the girl being physically assaulted. Well, I'm sorry film. I hate to break it to you but you are wrong. Sure, this scene is of great importance but it's not because we give a shit about Johnny Milk-Drinker. What we care about is this god among men...

Look at the way his glorious mullet trails through the air like the mane of a wild stallion. That denim bolero jacket that says, "Hey, you don't have to sacrifice fashion for manliness". And his name is Snake. It doesn't get any cooler than that.

Then we're brought back to the present where Johnny Wholesome is assigned to some recent homicide cases in which the victims have all had their dangly bits munched off.
Here's a snippet of some of the mind-blowing dialog this movie has to offer. 

Then we meet Wannabe Popstar, who turns out to be the great granddaughter of the homeboy who snagged the South Sea Queen's snatch serpent. 

Lady Terminator stalks her at the mall, killing several innocents along the way.

My favorite part of the mall scene is when Lady Terminator angrily goosesteps around until she sees Wannabe Popstar “doing a rockshow” on a display of TVs. Since Lady T is possessed by the South Sea Queen, she isn't familiar with the concept of television. She mistakes them for her target a la Arnie in Terminator. She starts blasting them up when in swoops Electronics Store Guy. Not only does he rock a sweet bow tie but when Lady T starts shootin' shit up, he heroically tries to stop her with his bare hands. He doesn't get very far but he gets an A+ for job dedication.

Somehow, Wannabe Popstar manages to make it out of the mall without realizing there's a murderous psycho on the loose. She obliviously heads to a club to put on her rockshow. 

I have watched this movie literally dozens of times and I still have no idea what she's singing about. 

What does that gibberish even mean?!?
And what a coincidence. Johnny Wholesome is taking a break from hotdogs and homicides to go clubbing. Lucky for Wannabe Popstar, he's present when Lady Terminator starts murdering the crowd at her show.

This club is pretty amazing, by the way.

Johnny Wholesome helps Wannabe Rockstar escape.

There's some pretty great dialog between the two of them in which they yell at each other for no real reason and sound an awful lot like spoiled seven year olds. 

Now, I just want to take a moment to point out a huge flaw in the logic behind this movie. In the original Terminator, Sarah Connor must be protected at all costs because the survival of the human race is dependent upon her being alive to birth the savior of mankind. All other people, sadly, are expendable. But under these circumstances, it makes sense. 
Now, in Lady Terminator, hundreds of people die and are put at risk during dangerous car chases and gunfights all to protect...a wannabe popstar? She's not even a famous popstar at this point. She's still performing in little clubs and dreaming about the day she becomes famous.

In case you haven't noticed by now, this movie makes no sense and that's exactly why I adore it!

Eventually, Johnny Wholesome and Wannabe Popstar make it to the police station, with Lady Terminator still hot on their trail. 

Johnny Wholesome takes a phone call from his buddies back in the States. This is where my favorite bit of stolen dialog comes in...

Sound familiar? 

God, I love that guy.

Lady Terminator tracks her prey to the police station where she shoots the shit out of everything in sight.

Wannabe Popstar's Granduncle shows up and gives her the vagina-kris, telling her, “People are weak and may fail but this, this you can trust”.

If it's so trustworthy, why doesn't he use it when he confronts Lady Terminator? During their standoff, Lady Terminator shoots him full of holes but it has no effect. Then he launches an ancient amulet into her eye socket. She seems less than pleased with this and finally aims her weapon for Granduncle's weak spot.

Johnny Wholesome and Wannabe Popstar escape but their car runs out of gas. They are forced to build a fire and camp out for the night. This brings us to some of the most incredibly hilarious and awkward foreplay dialog I've ever seen in a movie.

 They talk a bunch about dead people. And then sex happens. 

Complete with faux flower petals and artsy shots of dripping wet ferns. There's also a creek nearby in case you didn't get enough juicy references. Thanks, guys.

Then we get another notable Terminator ripoff sequence. Even though Lady Terminator is not a cyborg, she still removes her eyeball to repair it and by repair it, I mean rinse it under the faucet and then pop it back in. Seriously, Granduncle's big “save” was little more than an irritant in her eye. 

While Lady T is performing self-surgery, Johnny Wholesome and Wannabe Popstar have made their way back to the mall. Johnny Wholesome uses a pay phone to make plans to meet his American buddies at "the old abandoned airport". 

Of course, being the unstoppable killing machine that she is, Lady Terminator shows up and chases them to the scene of the climax. 
The last ten minutes of this movie are bonkers. Snake and the gang show up in a missile launching helicopter. 


Earlier, back at the police station when Max took a phone call from his buddies, the photo on Johnny Wholesome's desk looks awfully familiar. 

Anyway, there's all kinds of explosions and craziness and I have no idea why they have a Panzer stashed at “the old abandoned airport” but I'm sure glad they do. 

This also happens to be the point in the movie when Snake really shines.

Lady Terminator takes a beating. She seems to be indestructible.
There are casualties and tragedies. 
And Lasers.

Then there is a suspenseful chase and struggle that leads to a final showdown between Lady Terminator and Wannabe Popstar. And golly gee...the Lady Terminator is defeated by the vagina-kris. You know, the one that they've been lugging around for half the film and no one thought to use sooner. 

The film ends by dropping this deep nug of wisdom upon its audience. 

It is at this point, if you are like me, you will find yourself euphorically dazed by the absurdity you just witnessed. It's films like Lady Terminator that bring a smile to my face.

Until next time!

~Lady Terminator AKA Erika Instead