A New York City career woman becomes a vigilante after being raped by two car thieves.





Cast overview, first billed only:
Denise Coward ...
Valarie Wells
Detective Marty Lowery
Robert Trumbull ...
Rebecca Hollen ...
Arnie Mazer ...
Gary Majchrazak ...
Tony Jaffe ...
Van Driver
Doug McCoy ...
Cooch Elliot
Steve Wise ...
Bruce Ryan
Detective Carter
Mischa Bogin ...
Hot Dog Vendor
Timothy Roselle ...
Gun Salesman (as Tim Roselle)


Valarie is a happy, successful career woman, engaged to a charming and handsome man. She drives a great car and lives in a beautiful apartment. Then one night she hails the wrong taxi. She is brutally raped by the two car thieves who were taking a joyride. They leave her on the sidewalk to die after they're done with her. When she recovers, her fiancée abandons her, and with the police unable to help much in tracking down her attackers, Valarie buys a gun and takes to the gritty streets after dark, luring and killing street thugs who accosted her while searching for the two thugs to get her revenge. She becomes known in the press as the 'Dum-Dum Killer' because of the hollow-point bullets she pattens out and uses. At the same time, she begins dating a sympathetic police detective, named Marty, who takes an interest in her rape case, while tracking down the 'Dum-Dum Killer', and when he begins to suspect her, he is torn between upholding the law and protecting his newest love interest. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The First Woman Vigilante See more »


Action | Thriller


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 September 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dirty Harriet  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Valarie Wells: Why do I have a gut feeling that there's not much interest in the police department in finding the two men who attacked me?
Detective Marty Lowery: Miss Wells, we want to catch these guys but there are more criminals than there are police, and nobody wants to hire more cops.
See more »


Referenced in Remote Control (1988) See more »


Into The Night
Performed by Xenobia
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Sudden Death Wish: Revenge of the Female
3 August 2011 | by (the Doomed Megalopolis of Blasphemous Technoids) – See all my reviews

A tale from the vile city about rape & revenge. The gorgeous Denise Coward gets brutally raped by two crazed criminals in a stolen taxi. She barely survives. With the police investigation slacking, she decides to go after the criminals herself in true Charles Bronson style. Instead of finding them, she encounters several more sleazeballs that try to rape her. So she blows all of their guts out in slow-motion with dumdum bullets. Then goes home each time, satisfied and relaxing with a mixed Martini on the rocks. Halfway the movie something strange happens with the plot. She shows remorse, throws away her gun, thereby ending her killing spree. But the plot picks up with a police officer, her love-interest (yes, sex scene!), being on the trail of the two initial rapists. Beautiful Denise decides to tag along and brings with her... a shotgun. All this on the tunes of a groovy '80s electronic soundtrack, as if Herbie Hancock was goofing around with a cheap Casio keyboard.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Sudden Death(1985) Soundtrack aniyamonae
Film ending did not really deliver pv416
Discuss Sudden Death (1985) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: