Sunday, March 23, 2014

The She-Creature!

The She Creature is yet another of those vintage monster flicks which has eluded me until I got hold of a copy and enjoyed it recently. The monster, designed by Paul Blaisdell, has been part of my imaginative world since I first got a look at on an old issue Famous Monsters of Filmland with a wonderful cover which I recently learned was by Ron Cobb.

Ron Cobb
The story is purports to be based on true event,  not quite what I expected. It has elements of The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, with a dash of Mandrake the Magician thrown in to boot. The story concerns Dr. Carlo Lombardi,  an unscrupulous tuxedo-wearing stage hypnotist (Chester Morris) who has under his thrall a lovely  young woman named Andrea Talbot (Marla English) and is somehow able to tap into her long-ago life as a prehistoric sea-monster and bring that monster into the modern world. The notion is that we all have lived many many lives over the eons, and some of those lives were not human. A rather severe and forlorn looking scientist, Dr. Ted Erickson (Lance Fuller) slowly discovers the situation, especially when Lombardi uses the beast to commit murders. The infamy of the murders cause mildly greedy publisher Tim Chappel (Tom Conway) to try and make Lombardi a celebrity and sell books on the back of that. Both men do quite well financially, but eventually it all goes to smash.

It's a much more complicated story than you'd actually expect for a monster movie. That is likely due to its source, the story it's based on, a notorious news item of the day in which a woman Virginia Tighe claimed to have been reincarnated many and once was known in years previous as Bridey Murphy. To be fair to the movie, there is some strong attempts to bring out some distinctive characters and explore some odd relationships. They fall short, but they try. But the story really picks up when the monster appears out of a hazy mist and wreaks whatever havoc is called for. The monster design is an oddity. It's not really good, but it's incredibly memorable and while there's little time explaining it all, the whole of the yarn does add up.

This isn't by any means a bad movie, but it's not really a good one either,not in any objective sense. But it is entertaining at times. It performs as genre flicks of this kind ought, supplying the necessary distractions at the proper moment.  It's well worth checking out.

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