Not worthy of a last name, but certainly worthy of recognition among the elite 80s action one-hit wonderfuls is Mary (Terrie Batson), pictured here cradling her treacherous little sister in the 1989 Van Damme classic, Cyborg. We see her gardening. We see her sleeping. We see her fumble through what few lines she utters and then we see her die. Though overshadowed by Debbie Richter through most of the film, it’s our wide-eyed Mary who remains the driving force behind Van Damme’s blank stares, his murderous intent, and above all, his absolutely blazing, wildfire gayness. To put Mary’s importance in perspective we must recall what is arguably the most homoerotic scene in 80s action history. During an intimate moment by the campfire, Richter reaches into her shirt and presents JC with one of her tits— a lopsided, leathery thing assuredly, but a tit nonetheless. Without blinking, as if he were offended by the gesture, JC reaches over and covers up the cleavage with more conviction than anything he displays in his fight scenes. After denying Richter (and the viewer) the pleasure of his taut Belgian ass, he quickly flashes back to none other than Mary, the woman who persuaded him to give up the life, put away the knives, and forever put away his cock.
Mary hires JC to escort her and her siblings out of the plague-riddled wasteland, chock full of bandits, lowlifes, mercenaries, and some of the meanest mullets this side of the Double Deuce. After finding a quaint cottage in the countryside, she asks JC in the sweetest of voices to “stay awhile,” and so he does. Time passes, they get to know each other, settle down, and presumably have sex, though we don’t actually see any sex as this is a Cannon enterprise. Awkward sex is definitely implied though. So of course JC retires his weapons, trims the roadkill on his head and relaxes his guard. Things appear tranquil for a time; days, possibly even weeks pass until the “flesh pirates” show up and reduce JC to a bloody mound of whimpering pulp. Shortly thereafter they tie him to Mary and one of the children before hurling the trio to their muddy deaths at the bottom of an abandoned well. JC survives the fall through sheer cast iron will, emerging from the squalid pit with retribution on his mind, the kind of retribution that demands swiftness, savagery, and many ounces of baby oil.
Mary’s death, while tragic and gruesome, is necessary to bring our hero full circle and preserve his rippled abs. As a dutiful woman of the 80s action age she must die or be maimed, because to settle with a female is to toil in emasculation. Mary pays with her life for her seductive transgression, thus giving JC the option, the only option, to reinvent himself in the combative arms of another sweaty, grunting man. Be it her petite frame, her quiet desperation, or her ability to somehow slip in and out of a southern accent, Mary must be given credit because, after all, it is her memory that allows JC to kick through a boat mast and survive his crucifixion. Mary indeed. From what I gather Terrie Batson has, sadly, appeared in only three other movies outside of Cyborg as an “infected woman,” a “photo double,” and the all important “street person.” It is also possible she may have been a background dancer in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II. Likely saddled now with a throng of ungrateful children, a demeaning job, and a flabby husband, she can always return to her brief moment as our beloved Mary in a time of true purpose and sacrifice—a time before the darkened, bottomless, and boob-filled well of the 90s and beyond.