Mad Cowgirl

Apocalyptic carnal horror with a strong Alejandro Jodorworsky vibe, distributor-turned-filmmaker Gregory Hatanaka's second feature tracks the bloody spiritual and physical disintegration of a U.S. health inspector after she apparently contracts bovine spongiform encephalopathy — mad cow disease. Even before she falls ill, red-meat-loving Therese (Sarah...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Apocalyptic carnal horror with a strong Alejandro Jodorworsky vibe, distributor-turned-filmmaker Gregory Hatanaka's second feature tracks the bloody spiritual and physical disintegration of a U.S. health inspector after she apparently contracts bovine spongiform encephalopathy — mad cow disease. Even before she falls ill, red-meat-loving Therese (Sarah Lassez) is a wreck. She's divorced from her husband of one year, fellow meat-eater Charlie (Vic Chao), and suspects she's getting the heave-ho from her current lover, Pastor Dylan (Star Trek's Walter Koenig), a sinister televangelist with a dwindling flock. After a long day inspecting meat-processing plants — including the one operated by her brother, Thierry (James Duval) — and hearing news reports about government restrictions on Canadian beef in hopes of stemming a potential mad-cow-disease epidemic, Therese likes to cook a nice slab of steak and lose herself in the high-flying action of the Shaw Brothers' 1968 martial-arts actioner, THE GIRL WITH THE THUNDERBOLT KICK (here reimagined as a TV series starring one "Cindy Steele" and reshot with a U.S. cast). But Therese has troubles beyond stress and romantic disappointment: A routine visit to her doctor (Linton Semage) reveals a not-so-benign brain tumor, and Therese soon begins to manifest the sort of erratic behavior associated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Her increased craving for red meat matched only by her outsized sexual appetite, Therese even sleeps with Thierry, now wanted for selling dodgy Canadian beef — beef he fed his sister, and which might be the source of her disease. Convinced that she must slay the "Ten Tigers from Kwantung" (the heroes of yet another Shaw Brothers classic) in order to truly become the Girl with the Thunderbolt Kick, Therese embarks on a killing spree involving knives, power tools and the infamous flying guillotine. Dedicated to John Cassavetes and sexploitation filmmaker Doris Wishman, Hatanaka's film walks a self-consciously fine line between art-house aesthetics and grindhouse schlock, mixing social commentary, surrealism and media critique with the sticky tropes of porn and Asian trash cinema. Slick and often incomprehensible, it certainly gives you your money's worth, if blood, gore and blasphemy are what you're buying: For the price of admission you get a pregnant nun giving herself a sonogram with a computer mouse; a theater where porn loops run alongside kung fu movies on a 3-D split screen; a naked, satanically backward-masked father confessor urging murder; and enough meat-processing footage to turn Texas vegan. The soundtrack features the Fifth Dimension, the Pizzicato Five, ELO and assorted Asian pop hits, including a cover of Roxette's "The Look."

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  • Released: 2006
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Apocalyptic carnal horror with a strong Alejandro Jodorworsky vibe, distributor-turned-filmmaker Gregory Hatanaka's second feature tracks the bloody spiritual and physical disintegration of a U.S. health inspector after she apparently contracts bovine spon… (more)

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