Drafthouse Films Acquires Abel Ferrara's 'Ms. 45'

Courtesy of Drafthouse Films

Dismissed as an exploitation film, the shocking 1981 revenge flick gets a second chance.

Alamo Drafthouse will continue to please cinephiles today with its announcement that it has acquired the North American rights to Abel Ferrara’s rarely seen 1981 film, Ms. 45.

Ms. 45 is Ferrara’s second feature -- third if you include the pornographic 9 Lives of a Wet Pussy -- and fans consider it an important piece in the auteur’s vision of the darker side of late-20th Century New York.

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Like his better know King of New York and Bad Lieutenant, Ms. 45’s antihero lives on the edge of society. Instead of being a crooked cop or psychotic gangster, however, this time our antihero is a mute garment-district seamstress (Zoë Lund) who, after being raped twice, ignites a one-woman homicidal rampage against New York City’s entire male population.

Ferrara once proudly boasted of Kings of New York that it makes “Scarface look like Mary Poppins."  It’s this uncompromising vision, filled with intense, hard-to-watch performances, gratuitous nudity, excessive drug use and brutal violence, that has perhaps kept him from finding a wider audience. But all that fits nicely into Drafthouses mission “to build a selection of films which destroy the barriers between 'art house' and 'grindhouse.'" 

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As Drafthouse creative director Evan Husney says in a statement, "Abel Ferrara's work embodies just that. Ms. 45 is one of those fringe ‘80s films that has been somewhat marginalized as pure exploitation, so we are beyond thrilled to reintroduce it to a new audience.”

Ms. 45 has been remastered in HD from the original negative materials and Drafthouse plans to release the film in December and debut it on DVD and Blu-ray, where fans have never been able to see an uncut version of the film. 

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Available for download are two tracks from the film’s original soundtrack (soon to be released for the first time ever by UK’s Death Waltz Records) for free right here.