‘Lady Terminator’ – 1988
Director: H. Tjut Djalil
Writer: Karr Kruinowz
Starring: Barbara Anne Constable, Christopher J. Hart, Claudia Angelique Rademaker
Tagline: “She Mates… Then She Terminates”
Runtime: 82 minutes.
Like every good movie, Lady Terminator starts with sex. And like any great movie it begins with sex gone awry. More accurately, it begins with the legend of the South Sea Queen, a derivation, and probably bastardization of Nyai Loro Kidul, the Indonesian Goddess of the South Sea of Java. Of course, this is an eighties B movie so we can leave all the real legends at the door. For the sake of Lady Terminator all that needs to be known is that she’s a Goddess Queen who lives in a palace in the middle of the Sea. Men come to her attempting to become her husband, she has sex with them, and a snake/worm that’s living in her punani presumably chews off their junk and they die. This is apparently because she hasn’t be satisfied. This is obviously retribution on the part of all female-kind. Anyway, eventually a man comes who satisfies her, as the snake/worm crawls out he grabs it and magically turns into a dagger. The South Sea Queen is pissed, understandably so, I’d imagine. So, she vows revenge, in one hundred years, on his great granddaughter then sinks the whole palace into the sea.
A hundred years later, Tania Wilson is an anthropologist interested in the legend of the South Sea Queen. She is apparently a member of a ridiculously large group of Americans living in a city in Indonesia. They never tell you what city it is, but I will just assume its Jakarta.
It’s at this point that I should probably mention that Lady Terminator is an Indonesian movie. Though most of the actors are Americans it was originally shot in Indonesian, a phenomenon which is hardly surprising given the incredibly awful dubbing job that was done throughout the film. The lines are stilted and delivered mechanically as if they were being read off a piece of paper by someone unfamiliar with the language they are reading. Which… may be the case, quite honestly. I had to look this up, because it’s confusing. I had to wonder why they went with American actors in the first place if they were to be dubbed in the end anyway. But it does lend an extra B movie feel to this gem, so we’ll leave it at that.
Anyway, Tania goes out into the Java sea looking for the exact location of the South Sea Queen’s sunken palace. She’s met with some resistance by the local fisherman she’s hired the boat from (“No way I’m going out there, it’s cursed!” “Please?” “Oh, alright.”) just so we know that all the locals know this is bad news. She dives down in her SCUBA gear which inexplicably leads to her landing on a giant bed where her hands and feet are mysteriously tied by an unseen hand to the four poster bed and a snake/worm leaps into her nether regions. The worm apparently turns her into an unstoppable killing machine.
As the lightning cracks she’s pops up out of the water, naked, and decides to kill some people. At first she goes about this by sexing them to death, but then she seems to realize that this may become time consuming and switches over to guns.
At this point we’re introduced to our other two main characters, Max and Erica. Max is an American policeman operating out of (presumably) Jakarta. He’s a good cop and sympathetic, but he’s got a short fuse. In his first scene we see two dudes wearing leather vests and nothing else bust into a bar and demand to know if they serve beer in this bar or just milk. Then they start getting a little too friendly with a female patron. I mean, okay, I’m a girl. I’ve been to plenty of places and been sort of harassed by guys I’m not interested in. Mostly completely wasted, over forties, with thinning hair and a paunch. They can be persistent, true, but I’ve always been able to handle it. This girl looked like she was doing okay too, but Max decides that it’s clobbering time. I mean, he seriously beats the shit out of these dudes. And okay, they were rowdy, grabbing the girl and they do smack her once after she slaps one of them, but it’s hilariously over the top. And, of course, Max’s friends Snake and Tub are standing conveniently at the door to literally throw Leather Vests out.
Snake and Tub are my favorite characters. Snake sports the most hilarious mullet I have ever seen. It makes Billy Ray Cyrus, back in the day that he was an annoying country singer rather than an annoying stage dad, look like a complete amateur. This is a mullet. They show up three times in the whole film. The first to congratulate Max on a good fight, the second to call police headquarters wondering if Max wants to party (when Max asks them if they are stoned again), and then finally they join in on the final battle.
Then there’s Erica. She’s the great granddaughter of the man who stole the South Sea Queen’s cooch snake dagger. She’s a singer, appearing on a famous show, and is obviously an up and comer. The first time we see her she’s stopped by a random woman to interview her while shopping at the mall. She doesn’t know about being famous though, just so the audience knows she’s down to earth; she doesn’t want glamour and glitter.
Well, of course it’s Lady Terminator’s job to, well, terminate Erica. She can tell that Erica’s the descendent she’s looking for because she’s wearing the necklace of the South Sea Queen. It’s not mentioned what would have happened if Erica had thought it didn’t go with her outfit that day.
What ensues is the bulk of the movie. It’s pretty much Lady Terminator rampaging it through the city looking for Erica to kill, akin to the movie it’s obviously ripping off. Though, in Terminator it was pretty obvious why bullets weren’t doing much to kill off Schwarzenegger. I mean, he’s a robot. In this… it at least seems like all the bullets that go flying through Barbara Anne Constable should at least leave a mark. Well, more than the front of her bra-like top being ripped slightly.
And, I’m just saying; we accept in Godzilla and its eleven hundred sequels, that this monolithic, yet organic, sea creature can shoot lasers out of its mouth. We can ignore it in the same way that we ignore the fact that when the King of Monsters falls over he waves around his legs in a distinctly human way. Yet, somehow… with Lady Terminator it’s not so easy to blindly accept when the Lady in question starts shooting lasers out of her eyes. The most prevailing question is really… why wasn’t she using those before? Why would anyone mess around with guns when they have lasers that shoot out of their eyes? Maybe she gets the power midway through in the scene where she cuts out her eye, rinses it off (possibly electrifying it?), and then pops it back in again. It seems like there must have been a point to that other than ripping off James Cameron further. But who knows. Somehow, even while we’re questioning the logistics of it, we realize that lasers only make this stinker even more epic.
At an hour in gear up for the obligatory, and incredibly awkward, sex scene between the two main characters who have known each other for half a night and even talk about how they don’t know anything about the other a moment before. They bond over talking about his dead wife, who was raped and murdered. How romantic. At least she’s calling him honey by the end.
Unlike some of the other films I’ve reviewed for this website; I’d say this is essential viewing. It’s so appallingly cheesy and terrible from start to finish that if you miss it you’ll truly be missing out. I watched this for the first time a couple of years ago when I worked at a movie theatre. We had a Sci-Fi marathon and this was on the bill. Sadly, I missed it, but so did a friend who then tracked down the DVD and a bunch of us gathered to project it on the big screen. I’d say if you have a chance to watch it with friends, take it, but if not… I’d watch it anyway. You’ll laugh your ass off.
“I’m not a lady, I’m an anthropologist!”
“We’ve seen more dead bodies than you’ve seen hot dogs.”
“Come with me if you want to live!” (They spent a really long time trying to think up this line.)
“Put these turkeys back in the ice box. They’re starting to get ripe.” (about said dead bodies)
“Yeah, eat it you bitch.”
“Tub. My buddy.”
“Shit, you’re still alive man?” “Sure, you think that thing could kill me?” “You know what? … I wanna live forever.”