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Saturday, February 2, 2013

THE ASTOUNDING SHE-MONSTER -- movie review by Squashpants



Mid 20th-Century was a great time for low-budget filmmaking, and some of the "best" of these products ended up flickering on the screens of black and white TVs worshipfully watched by teenage boys like me.

One of these jewels was Ronnie Ashcroft's 1957 sci-fi movie, THE ASTOUNDING SHE-MONSTER.

This was a sure fire choice for the late night horror/sci-fi movie programming of the 1960s. It's cheap. It's shot on black and white stock. And it's scary, if you are about 12 years old. But it is also chock full of unintentional hilarity.

It is the story of a geologist and his trusty dog, a spoiled rich girl, er, woman, and two gangsters and their moll. They all end up in a cabin in the California woods fighting off a mute female humanoid alien. When it is all over and the good guys are the only ones left alive, you get a twist, a doozy of one that is just unbelievably hokey.

The most recognizable face in this mess is Robert Clarke (THE MAN FROM PLANET X) who was inspired by the money that TASM made enough to produce his own little slice of dung (THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMON, 1957). Ed Wood fans will recognize former cowboy picture fixture Kenne Duncan playing the head gangster.

Two different narrators provide mostly unneeded exposition for a third of the movie. The music blares at you insistently and inanely (although the damn soundtrack actually grows on you after awhile). The classic cars used in the production are simply wonderful. The special effects are anywhere from pathetic to unexpectedly effective.

But the greatest part of this little coprolite is the dialog. To give you just an example, the gun moll, a real lush played serviceably by Marilyn Harvey, is pleased to find that she will be able to get as drunk as she wants while she, her mates, and the heiress they kidnapped hide out at Clarke's cabin. Duncan's character tells her "You can get fried for all I care."

To which she grinds her hips a little and replies: "How would you like me? Pan fried or french-fried?" The way she delivers the line is hilarious. Trust me.

Beyond dialog, there are a number of set pieces that seem to have wandered off a David Lynch production. A scene towards the wrap-up where a bear is irradiated lethally by the alien lady is unbelievably weird, ludicrous, and suggestive.

This is only a few of the treasures that this movie contains. There is much, much more to marvel at if you dare to sit through the short (62 minutes) feature.

If you are a fan of movies that are "so bad, they're good", then THE ASTOUNDING SHE-MONSTER is made to order for you.


Buy it at Amazon.com


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