Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

SHE DEMONS


SHE DEMONS (1958). Director: Richard E. Cunha.

A spoiled heiress, Jerrie (Irish McCalla), is shipwrecked on an island with a small party where she discovers that a mad Nazi, Carl (Rudolph Anders), is conducting terrible experiments. These have to do with "thermal energy" (actually, lava) but Carl seems more obsessed with what he calls "character X" (actually, genes). Seems his wife Mona (Leni Tana) was horribly burned and disfigured in a lab accident, so hubby experiments on beautiful native girls who all turn into big-toothed, scaly horrors that the hero Fred (Tod Griffin) calls "she demons" [to Carl's delight]. The film is reasonably entertaining to start, but the fun eventually peters out. Anders is a bit hammy (even for this kind of film) but he's effective as the slimy Nazi wannabee lover boy. Hopeless Irish McCalla gives a performance like you would expect of an 8-year-old child. Tod Griffin, who did a lot of TV work, is at least professional, as is Victor Sen Yung as Sammy. [Yung is better known as "Number Two Son" of the Charlie Chan films.] The picture picks up in the last few minutes as the good guys try to escape from the island. Stock footage is judiciously blended with some new, credible FX work and there are some reasonably exciting scenes. The she demons themselves don't have much to do.

Verdict: Okay for about 30 minutes but the film runs 80. *1/2.

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