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

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

SHE-GIANT VERSUS THE ELEPHANT WOMAN April 1st


SHE-GIANT VERSUS THE ELEPHANT WOMAN (1968). Director: Ricardo Mendez.

Galvanized by the success of American films The Amazing Colossal Man and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Mexican producer Gilberto Roland Young came up with the idea of an ill woman who takes a formula derived from elephant glands and turns into a giant monstrosity with a hideous face and tusks and thirty foot body. The film, the low-budget but zestfully made and acted Attack of the Elephant Woman (1959), was a big hit and engendered no less than thirteen sequels of descending quality. By the mid-sixties, Young had switched from black and white to productions in technicolor and CinemaScope -- but ran out of ideas and enthusiasm. In the 13th entry, She-Giant versus The Elephant Woman -- not to be confused with Rampage of the Colossal She-Giants (1962), the fifth in the series -- zoologist Doug Moore (Clark Young) comes to Africa to study elephants and encounters yet another mad scientist, Lillian Blake (Esther Ramirez), this time a woman, who is fascinated by Angela Waters, The infamous Elephant Woman (who was killed and resuscitated over and over again). Blake is a distant cousin of Waters and has somehow managed to get ahold of her frozen body, which she brings back to life via thawing, electrical charge and -- natch -- more extract of elephant. The "she-giant" that Angela fights is not another giant woman (been there, done that) but simply a very large female elephant who wants her hormones back -- or something like that. The film is surprisingly well-acted, has beautiful settings and wide screen photography, but the Elephant Woman takes too long to appear, her battles with the real elephant are too brief and unconvincing, the FX are poor, and the romance between Moore and Blake is not for a moment believable. Followed by the final entry, Colossal War of the Rampaging She-Beast (1970).

Verdict: Skip this and look for Attack of the Elephant Woman instead. **.

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