Color, 1992, 95m. / Directed by John Miller (H. Tjut Djalil) / Starring Tonya Lawson, Kristin Anin, Joseph Cassano, Amy Weber / Mondo Macabro (US R0 NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9)

Fleeing from the police, a carload of robbers exchange semiautomatic shots with the pursuing cops and punch each other out as blame for a diamond hesit gone awry. It all ends, as such things must, when a passing motorcyclist smashes through the robbers' windshield and sends them tearing off into a spooky graveyard. Still pursued, they wreck their car in such a spectacular style that one criminal's arm and fingers wind up scattered on the pavement. Goopy blood from the wreckage seeps into the ground, causing one of the fingers to come to life and wander over to a cursed compact mirror. Lightning strikes, the earth opens up to disgorge smoke and disco lights, and a skeleton rises to congeal into the form of a beautiful, evil, and quite naked Queen of Darkness (Weber) who promptly knocks off the head of a curious German Shepherd.

Cut to a brightly lit mansion in Los Angeles (sort of) where blonde Susan (Lawson) has an anniversary spat, some slurpy kissing, and rough non-consensual sex on the dinner table with her smarmy husband, John (Cassano), who for some reason offers her a sparkly ring and starts punching the back of her head. After whacking him very softly with a shower pole, Susan flees the building in a panic. Now cut to a party in Jakarta where everyone stands around watching Linda (Anin), Susan's sister, dance with her boyfriend; afterwards, friends show up to give her an ancient Sumatran text on Eastern mysticism ("How great!") and another book on Indonesian cosmetics, since they're shooting a movie on Indonesian occult practices. Susan collect calls to Linda, who wires enough money to get her sister across the globe. Of course Linda welcomes her sister by taking off to Bali for a film shoot, leaving the occult book lying around for Susan to peruse. Her incantations result in the Queen (sporting glowing nipples and occasionally a flying, disembodied head) invading the house and taking control of Susan through a mirror. Now sporting a magical rose tattoo on her breast, the possessed Susan dresses up in some spiffy duds (accompanied by the requisite sax music) and hits the town in search of fresh male prey. A couple of British businessmen try to pick her up by offering Sex on the Beach ("What an interesting proposition!") and fight for her charms on the dancefloor; when the loser tries to chase them in his car, Susan whammies him by splashing blood all over his windshield and sending him off the road in flames. The winner doesn't fare much better, as their passionate night aboard his boat is cut short when she harpoons his leg to the wall and pierces his skull with her stiletto heel. Now filled with bloodlust and sometimes sporting vampire fangs, the unstoppable blonde minx seduces and destroys every man in sight, including a trio of teens in a meat packing facility. Things get even weirder when John shows up and tries to strangle her with a necklace before running into a potted plant, Linda enjoys her plotless film shoot by showing off lots of different outfits, and a nosy cop with cameltoe tries to make sense of it all. Cue the cataclysmic finale, filled with flying glass, beheaded chickens, levitating cleavage, and plenty of sparkly lights.

After aping American sci-fi with his incredibly sleazy Lady Terminator, director Djalil (Mystics in Bali) only restrains himself slightly with this delirious spin on the erotic thriller genre. Surprisingly heavy on Caucasian actors (to increase the film's export potential without any messy dubbing), the film is nevertheless Indonesian exploitation to the core and delivers the goofy goods in spades. Despite some hysterically obvious padding (lots of dancing and party footage, travelogue interludes, etc.), the film packs in plenty of action by combining chases, erotica, and unintentional comedy in equal doses. The three female leads are all fairly representative of late '80s glamour ideals, emphasizing lingerie and kink more than overt nudity and sex. Note that this film was screened in its native country with the aforementioned glowing nipples, though some export versions removed the effect to supply more traditional T&A. The former version is the one present here, complete with whatever merits that may carry.

In a worthy companion piece to their other Djalil releases, Mondo Macabro offers a deluxe edition complete with plenty of extras to put the whole weird experience in context. The director appears for a solid 14-minute video interview (complete with English voiceover) in which he talks about his first forays in the horror genre, the commercial considerations of Indonesian cinema at the time, and the censorship hassles surrounding Lady Terminator, all complete with highlights from the three titles under discussion. "I'm not satisfied with any of the films I've made," he claims at one point, though many sleaze fans will beg to differ. Hollywood FX artist Steve Prouty contributes an on-camera interview as well and provides running commentary over a reel of his effects shots, primarily the memorable regeneration sequence at the beginning. The package is rounded out with the text history "Indo Exploitation," a Djalil filmography, and a Mondo Macabro promo reel. As for the technical qualities of the film itself, the anamorphic transfer looks appreciably superior to past video incarnations; the diffused lighting and flat cinematography easily betray its age, but the transfer itself can't be faulted. The English audio sounds fine, with every canned punch and laser zap coming through nice and clear.

Color, 1988, 80m. / Directed by Jalil Jackson (H. Tjut Djalil) / Starring Barbara Anne Constable, Claudia Rademaker, Christopher J. Hart / Mondo Macabro (US R0 NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9)

A century ago in a desolate castle by the sea, a capricious and sexually insatiable creature called the South Seas Queen lures men to their doom with the promise of a night of passion. If not satisfied, the predatory she-beast permanently removes their manhood through means best left as a surprise for unsuspecting viewers. Finally one brave male is able to perform up to her standards and, in the process, extracts from her nether regions a magical snake/dagger that supplies her power. Enraged, the queen vows vengeane on his great-granddaughter. (Why the long delay? Who knows). Flash forward to the late 1980s as bikini-clad anthropologist Tanya (Constable) coerces a boat captain to dropping her off at the watery South Seas Queen lair, where our heroine is soon trussed up on a mattress and sexually violated by a squishy snake. Now possessed, she returns to the big city and, inexplicably armed with an AK-47, decides to fulfill the ancient curse by targeting an aspiring pop singer (Rademaker) hellbent on stardom.

As one might guess from its English-language title, the incredible Indonesian mind-bender Lady Terminator spends much of its running time aping the popular James Cameron/Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi: a kitschy nightclub massacre by machine gun, a gory eyeball removal and replacement with a scalpel, a frantic nocturnal car chase, a police station massacre, and of course, the grand finale in which the villain is charred away by flames but still keeps coming back for more. However, this Indonesian cult favorite (originally titled Pembalasan ratu pantai selatan and banned in its native country) stands apart from its source by removing any science fiction elements and replacing the muscleman cyborg with a sexy, leather-clad nymphet who still takes time to snag a few guys in the sack. Add to that a host of zero-budget laser effects, entire rooms filled with dry ice, and some of the funniest dialogue this side of For Your Height Only, and you've got a sure-fire winner for your next midnight movie fest. Though the leads were speaking English, the dialogue is still painfully dubbed; however, even without this liability, the performances could never be taken seriously thanks to the bad fashion and even worse mullets on display. Don't say you weren't warned!

Scavengers of home video oddities have known about Lady Terminator for years, and its escalating reputation will no doubt grow exponentially thanks to Mondo Macabro's DVD release. At least two tapes have been floating around, a widely available but atrociously censored version and a rarer, dismal quality uncut print; thankfully the DVD offers a better transfer (about as good as one could expect given the elements and some dodgy post-production work) and a completely uncut edition, all the better to appreciate the barrage of snake-boinking, private-snatching, and blood-splattering mayhem. Those hot neon blues and pinks never looked better.

Not surprisingly, the biggest extra on the DVD is the Mondo Macabro episode on Indonesian horror featuring interviews with all the big players in the field. Unlike many of their other specials, this one comes to disc with clips from other key films intact and offers a tantalizing glimpse of such goodies as Devil's Sword. More, please! Other goodies include alternate footage shot for some of the film's stronger moments, a theatrical trailer (about as ridiculous as you'd expect), a stills gallery, and text supplements offering a solid intro to the world of Indonesian exploitation cinema. Note that the menus also make hilarious use of the film's most immortal line: "I'm not a lady, I'm an anthropologist!"

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