Title: She Demons
Year Of Release: 1958
Running Time: 77 minutes
DVD Released By: Image Entertainment
Directed By: Richard E. Cunha
Writing Credits: Richard E. Cunha and H.E. Barrie
Starring: Irish McCalla, Tod Griffin, Victor Sen Yung
1. Horrific Nazi Experiments Gone Awry!
2. Re-created half beast, half woman!
Review Date: 11.2.08 (updated 12.4.11)
Shadow's Title: "The Island of Lost Viewers"
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Fred Maklin – Fred here wants to find an island where animal-like people are purported to live. To further his quest, he convinces Jerrie’s rich daddy to fund an expedition, even though the basis for his search is nothing more than the second-hand drunken ramblings of various sailors.
Jerrie Turner – Meet Jerrie. It’s almost guaranteed that five minutes after meeting her for the very first time, you’ll want to strangle the life out of her with your bare hands. To say that she is a pampered, spoiled and over-privileged princess is like calling Ann Coulter slightly conservative.
Sammy Ching – He works for Jerrie’s father. We're never told exactly what he does, but given the times and his ethnicity, he’s either a cook, a gardener or attends to the laundry. Given the fact that he has a college education, this means that he didn’t exactly do very well for himself.
Kris Kamana – He works for Jerrie’s dad and carries a big knife. There's not much else to say about him. Given that at one point Jerrie mentions how much he loved the sea, we can surmise that Kris operated the family yacht. Not exactly the most professional looking seaman if you ask me.
Colonel Karl Osler – This moron is a Nazi fugitive that has set up shop on this particular island. Once he experimented on innocent people to help the Third Reich, now he does so to help restore the features of his horribly burned wife. Somehow thinks he has a chance to score with Jerrie.
Igor – Any villain worth his salt has to employ a number of henchmen. They have the uncanny ability to step right into the path of a bullet, while simultaneously performing rather crappy when it comes to their own marksmanship skills. This guy is the lead henchman.
Mona Osler – This poor woman is Colonel Osler's wife and was once his lab assistant. Eventually she was hideously scarred in a lab accident. This has led her husband to undertake an obsessive interest in restoring her beauty so that she no longer looks like Freddy Krueger’s grandma.
The She Demons - Natives brought to the island from a neighboring island, these once attractive ladies are used in Osler's experiments at restoring Mona's looks. This process temporarily turns them into feral, hideous beasts...not unlike the broads storming the latest shoe sale at the mall.
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The first thing we see are a pair of female hands beating on a primitive drum…the kind sold exclusively to native tribes in Africa, South America or on South Pacific isles. Is there like a factory in Michigan or something that cranks these things out by the thousands for subsequent shipment to primitive peoples worldwide? It seems any sufficiently sized group of people who have barely mastered the creation of fire – let alone the invention of stringed instruments, recording devices and mp3 players – just go nuts for these things! For them the animal skin drum is the very pinnacle of musical creation and expression. They compose lengthy and elaborate pieces of rhythmic music utilizing anywhere from one to dozens of the things, like some jungle-dwelling group of Giuseppe Verdi clones. Imagine what they’d think if they heard something like….say…Motorhead! Whoever is selling them these cheapo drums is making an absolute killing!
Often used in sacred rituals and ceremonies that more often than not end with some poor fool screaming in agonizing pain before dying horribly (alas, just like attending a concert by the aforementioned Motorhead), this time the drum is being used in some pagan ritual to call forth a great evil. How do I know this? Because within seconds, the film’s title has been called forth from the hellish plane of existence it was formerly inhabiting, materializing before our eyes and letting us know that we are in for some serious pain.
Once the title vanishes and our two headlining thespians are credited (much to their everlasting embarrassment, no doubt) a peculiar thing happens. The credits start to scroll up. Yes, up…just like credits are wont to do at the end of the movie. Could I have somehow blacked out from the sheer horror inherent in the notion of viewing this film, only to claw my way back into consciousness at the end of the movie and thus mercifully missing the entire sordid affair? Nah, I could never be that lucky. It turns out that this is still the film’s opening and after scrolling up one set of credits, the film decides to stick with the usual way such moments unfold and just have the rest fade in and out over the background provided by that cheap drum.
Wait! The text is scrolling again. Are we sure this is the beginning and not the end of the film? It’s like the filmmakers are toying with my emotions. Is the pain over or is it just beginning? I’m telling you, this is psychological torture of the type that is probably outlawed…somewhere. Oddly enough, the credits have now stopped scrolling and are back to fading in and out! The latter could be an apt description of my sanity at this point, as I can’t seem to tell at which end of the movie I am at. Finally, after what seems like forever, but which was really no more than thirty seconds, the director’s name comes up, signaling the end of the opening credits. Time for the movie to begin. We fade out on that cheap drum and then fade in on…
Stock footage! Holy crap, suddenly we’ve been catapulted into an episode of Victory At Sea, for all we see at this point is the choppy surface of the ocean taken from some boat. This shot doesn’t last very long and soon we see more stock footage shots lifted from old newsreels: big waves pounding a rocky coastline and super strong winds blowing rain through the deserted streets of some town. In fact, numerous more shots of hurricane-strength winds blowing through town are shown. These are accompanied by a voice that is obviously that of a TV newscaster. He blathers on about the damage being done to the area by Hurricane Emily. What about the damage being done to my psyche by this movie?!! Mr. newscaster also mentions that at least twenty people have died due to the weather and scores more have been injured, including the cameraman who filmed these images. The voiceover wraps up when the newscaster announces that the bulk of the danger is over, the hurricane having dissipated and moved about fifty to one hundred miles offshore.
Now we jump to a shot of Mr. Newscaster himself in his studio at WDTV. He rises from his desk and makes a plea on behalf of a Mr. Leslie Turner – a local bigshot who is the president of Turner Electronics Corporation and one the most prominent citizens in Surf City. He would like anyone living along the coast to keep their eyes out for a water craft by the name of Del Paso, which was on a cruise when the hurricane hit. On board was Turner’s daughter Jerr…wait a second! Surf City?! What the hell kind of name for a town is that? It sounds like the founding fathers found more inspiration in The Beach Boys than anywhere else. Isn’t naming your coastal community Surf City akin to christening a farming town Dirt City or bestowing the name Thin Air City on your mountain top town? It just seems an obvious and easy name to pick...and yes, I know there is an actual town in North Carolina named Surf City.
Anyway, this bigwig Turner’s daughter Jerrie has gone missing on her boat along with her pal Fred Maklin. Also missing are two employees, Sammy Ching and Kris Kamana, but we all know this Turner guy doesn’t give a rat’s ass if they survive or not. All he wants is his daughter. I doubt he even cares if that Maklin guy makes it back to shore. Hell, he might even be more concerned with the lost boat rather than his daughter. It seems the boat has been missing for two days and its last known position was directly in the path of the storm. Anyone with any information should contact the Coast Guard. Then Mr. Newscaster previews some upcoming segment as if preparing to go to commercial. The shot fades away and when we fade back in…
We’re looking at some tall, leggy blonde woman in shorts as she sits on a beach and imperiously brushes her hair. Not far off, three men are struggling with various large and bulky items. Why…I think these are the people from that missing boat! Ya think?! Blondie here must be Jerrie Turner, which must make the Caucasian guy approaching her that Fred Maklin dude. The two guys in the distance must be the expendable minorities, Sammy Ching and Kris Kamana.
Fred walks up and drops a large sack on the beach, informing Jerrie that he managed to save some clothes for her, though if there are formal dances being held on this island, they are all out of luck. She doesn’t find his humor very funny and then after looking through the clothes, testily inquires into the whereabouts of her powder blue cashmere shorty (whatever that is). Then she bitches about how the clothes are all wrinkled. Fred just looks at her like he desperately wants to reach out and touch her…with five knuckles across the face, that is.
So we’ve already established a few facts from these brief seconds. First, we know that the storm has caused these folks to wash up on an island somewhere. Whether their boat sank or just ran aground is not known at this time. Second, we’ve learned that this Fred guy has more freckles that a room full of Conan O’Brien clones. Not exactly the bare flesh I wanted to see. Third and most importantly, we realize that Miss Jerrie Turner is a self absorbed, whiny bitch. Having a wealthy daddy, she probably has a raging sense of self entitlement that is only eclipsed by her general disregard for anyone around her.
Fred – no doubt fighting the urge to grab the hand mirror out of her hand and then smash it across her head – reminds Jerrie that she is lucky to be alive and that she should come down off her high horse. There were more important things that needed saving other than her wardrobe, like the ship’s radio. To emphasize this last point, Sammy and Kris walk over, carrying the large radio between them. Fred tries to get Jerrie to soften up and smile, but she claims that she hates cheerful people. Hon, the feeling is mutual!
Fred then praises Sammy for saving the radio when the storm hit. Sammy talks some, saying nothing really important, but he emphasizes one point by gesturing sharply with his hands. Jerrie recoils from the movement and seeing her reaction, Sammy instantly shuts up. Jerrie tells him to be careful as he almost covered her with sand. Well, you are on a beach, lady! For a minute I almost expected her to produce a gun from somewhere on her person, level it at Sammy and then blow the poor bastard away. He certainly had a look on his face that seemed to indicate that such a fate might not have been such a stretch.
Fred now says he wants a word with Kris, so the two men get up and walk away. Alone with Jerrie, Sammy apologizes for his action, saying that he will be careful. She tells him to forget it and encourages him to call her Jerrie, as their current surroundings don’t exactly seem that formal. Sammy dons a pair of earphones and begins fiddling with the radio.
Down the beach a ways, Fred asks Kris where they are at, but the other man has no idea. Fred reminds him that he knows “this group of islands” like the inside of his hat. Kris replies that this island has never appeared in his hat and he believes that it may not even be charted. In fact, he is pretty sure that this is the case. “This may be it,” remarks Fred. What “it” may be is unclear. Their imminent deaths? Fred’s chance to score with Jerrie? The island where pirate treasure is buried? Who knows. Whatever “it” may be, Kris agrees with Fred that “this may be it.” I must say, the guy playing Kris is a horrible actor. So far he has recited his lines with that hesitant quality that makes it clear that he is just waiting for the other guy to finish his dialog before spitting out his own, with no care given as to how it sounds, just as long as he gets it out.
Fred returns to Jerrie and Sammy, the latter now monkeying around with the radio – which looks like it weighs about a hundred pounds and is the size of a suitcase. Sammy informs Fred that the radio will only receive and will not transmit. That seems pretty dire, but before anyone can comment on that unlucky turn of events, Jerrie pipes in, now bitching about the lack of a varied wardrobe from which to choose and getting on the men’s’ cases for not saving more of her pants and shoes! Fred then says that they may have found the island for which they were looking. Ahhhhh! So that what the “it” was that Fred and Kris were talking about. Maybe my guess about buried pirate treasure wasn't so far fetched after all.
Jerrie sarcastically congratulates them on finding the island, adding that if anyone should be found, it needs to be her. Fred mentions that her father was the one who financed this trip, so at least he’ll get something for his trouble. She adds that her daddy already got what he wanted: rid of her. Then she launches into a rant, blaming Fred for their predicament, as it was he who wanted to find an island reportedly home to strange creatures. An island full of strange creatures? Try Manhatten! She tells him to get her out of this mess, NOW.
Sammy suddenly interrupts and says, “hey, listen!” They look up and see four stock footage jets flying through the sky. Jerrie thinks this is a search party out to locate them, but Fred points out that the planes are too high and would never be able to spot them from such an altitude. This doesn’t deter dumb-dumb…er…Jerrie from jumping up and down, waving her arms and yelling “here we are!” She actually looks put out when the jets fail to acknowledge her presence.
Sammy now calls Fred over to the radio. With each one using one end of a pair of headphones, they listen to a transmission from one of the planes. In it, one of the pilots is instructing his companions to aim for the patch of rock at the center of the island. Further comments on their eventual bombing run are overheard, then the jets turn and had back to their base. Fred informs Jerrie of this latest piece of bad news. Sometime soon – perhaps in the next day or two – the island they are standing on might no longer be around. Since he figures the Navy would have investigated the island before choosing it for target practice, Fred thinks the place is uninhabited. Kris says that this is not the case, as he has found fresh footprints. Human footprints at that. Cue the ominous music. Jerrie looks at Fred in alarm. Probably not because she fears who these mysterious people may be, but most likely because she’d be mortified to be seen by others without the proper attire.
Next we see the four castaways looking at some footprints in the sand. Sammy notes how they seem to be going in a circle and wonders if the natives “are getting on to this rock and roll kick.” Fred suggests that the tracks go in a circle because whoever made them was engaged in some sort of dance or ritual. Kris thinks that it is a bad sign. Fred presses him for further information and Kris says that a woman made the prints. Sammy asks if they are recent. Hello? Didn’t Kris just say moment ago that they were fresh tracks? Fred points out that the tide doesn’t reach up this high, so the prints could be days old. None of them seem to notice when Kris wanders off.
Jerrie says that she is glad the prints are Human, but Fred isn’t so sure. There is a peculiar depression around the toes that could indicate the presence of claws. Jerrie wants to know if he is trying to scare her, but he says that he is just trying to prepare her for any possibility. Before he can answer, chanting interrupts them. Looking down the beach, they see Kris on his knees, arms outstretched and making repeated bows while chanting. They walk over to him and when Fred calls his name, Kris looks at him and says “this is island of evil.” So it is Manhattan!
Naturally, Jerrie thinks the whole thing is an overreaction on Kris’ part. She starts chastising Fred for convincing her father to fund this little trip in search of “animal people.” Now they are stuck in the middle of nowhere and she wants to go home. Fred explains that there have been too many reports of these animal people for it all to be hoax. Kris even spoke to a fisherman who saw these creatures once. He then tells Jerrie to stop being a spoiled brat and to pitch in. After all, it will be dark in another hour or so and they need to make camp. Jerrie’s eyes nearly bug out of her head at this point and she announces in no uncertain terms that she is absolutely not spending the night on this island. HAHAHA! And just how do you suppose to get off this island and to a suite at the nearest five star hotel, sweetie? Tired of her crap, Fred tells her to go ahead and take a big leap into the nearby ocean, and if she does, to make sure to give his regards to the sharks. Then he stomps away, leaving her to pout. Fade out.
Fade in. Night has now fallen. Strike that. Night has supposedly fallen. Despite the presence of a campfire and a day for night filter over the camera lens, it’s obvious it still daytime. We’re just supposed to think that it is now night. Sammy is still monkeying around with the radio and the meager supplies they have rescued from the boat are now arranged around the fire. Fred asks Sammy how he is doing, but the other man has had little luck in getting the radio to transmit.
Sitting on a blanket with her back against a large boulder, Jerrie is using a hairpin as a sewing needle and is trying to repair some article of clothing. I’m shocked that she even knows how to sew! She has come off as so spoiled and privileged, the only thing I figured she’d know how to do is spend her daddy’s money. Fred sits down next to her and she asks what is going to happen to them all. Not being prescient (and not having read ahead in the script), he says that he doesn’t know. Maybe Sammy can get the radio working and save their asses. Maybe the bombers will return and blow them all to hell. Maybe the animal people that are supposed to be living on this island will do away with them. He just doesn’t know.
Sammy gets all excited now and calls everyone over to the radio. It must be time for the top forty countdown! Alas, the news isn’t that good. Sammy has overheard a news report that indicates the wreckage of a boat was recently found. The authorities think that it was their boat and are now listing this little foursome as missing and presumed dead. Not good. Fred explains that if they are believed to be dead, no further searching will be carried out. D’oh! Fred reiterates to Sammy the importance of getting the radio fully functional, so that they can call for help (and maybe call in a request or two on the radio). Jerrie announces that she is tired. Figuring that there isn’t much more they can do tonight, Fred suggests that they all turn in. Once morning arrives, they can begin scouting out the island.
Fred and Jerrie now enter a cave. Well, I think they entered a cave. The actors have obviously gone from a location shot on a real beach to a cheap studio set. There is a rocky wall behind them. I don’t know if it is supposed to be a cave wall or just the face of the rocky ledge that overlooked the beach. There are plenty of plants around, so maybe they are still outside. I guess it doesn’t really matter. The point is, Jerrie looks at where she is supposed to bed down for the night and snootily asks, “I’m supposed to sleep on this?” Fred says that she could try sleeping on one leg like a bird.
Fred flops down on the ground and Jerrie hands him the end of a blanket. He pulls it taut, creating a curtain behind which she can change clothes for the night. She says that she will feel a lot safer once she is tucked in for the night. Yeah, cuz that millimeter or two of blanket will pretty much protect you from anything. She brings up their exploratory plans for the following day and Fred says that only he and Sammy will be venturing forth to check out the island. She can stay and help Kris around camp. Naturally she plans on going with Fred. He starts to say something that begins with the words, “I don’t think,” but she cuts him off and plainly says that she is not interested in his opinion. Since her father paid for this trip, she's going to see everything there is to see. He tries to explain that he was only interested in her safety, but if she wants to tag along, he won’t stop her.
Ugh. This movie has not even been on for fifteen minutes and I’m already hoping some native tribe shows up to abduct the annoying blonde woman and offer her up as a sacrifice to their god…preferably by tossing her into a volcano or something. Jerrie looks at Fred and says that he must think that she is a pretty big heel. He shrugs and says no and that he only thinks of her as a medium sized heel. HA!
Having stripped out of her clothes, Jerrie is now clutching the blanket around her like a towel. She looks at Fred and worriedly asks where he plans on sleeping. Does she really think that with her attitude, he is remotely interested in cozying up to her? Ok, maybe he is. After all, she is not bad looking and seems to have a pretty nice figure, but I doubt he is planning on doing anything tonight. He probably wants to wait and make sure she is liquored up something fierce before he tries anything. Not only will she be more pliable, but no doubt the alcohol will soften that stinging tongue of hers. Fred tells her that he will be catching his Z’s over by the fire with the other two men.
Just as he is about to leave her to snuggle up in her blankets, the sound of drums can be heard. They only last a few seconds, but Jerrie looks around in alarm, wondering what it may be. Fred tells her not to worry, that it was only the surf. He advises her to go to sleep and to yell for him if she needs anything. Then he gets up and leaves. Alone, Jerrie looks around as the sound of drums starts up again.
Fred rejoins the others – which entails him moving from the studio set back to the location shot at the beach. Sammy and Kris can both hear the drums as well. It’s obvious that they are not alone on this island, as Sammy so sagely notes that he “never saw a drum that could beat itself.” Fred says that they will need to stand guard through the night. He asks Kris for his knife and when the other man hands it over, Fred states that he will take the first watch and that he will call Kris to relieve him when he starts to feel tired. Fade out.
Fade in. We see Fred, Sammy and Jerrie walking through a tropical jungle. How do we know it’s tropical? Cuz there is a parrot sitting in a nearby tree. Not far off in an other tree is a constrictor snake of some kind. See? Tropical! We get several shots of the trio walking around. At one point Jerrie stops to examine some flowers and sniff their fragrance, unaware that she has chosen to stand right under the tree with the snake in it. Fred remarks on the progress they could make if they were not saddled with her and her need to stop so often. A scream gets their attention. It seems Jerrie has spotted the snake.
They haul ass to where she is cowering. They see the snake hanging from a tree. It just looks at them as Fred grabs Jerrie’s hand and pulls her to safety. She buries herself in his embrace, apparently traumatized by her ordeal. Sammy notes that “that was too close for comfort.” Fred adds that she was very brave. She replies by saying that she didn’t think she had it in her. WTF?!!! She saw a snake, screamed and got pulled away. It’s not like the snake was actually trying to attack her! If that was the case, it no doubt would have taken her completely by surprise, dropping on her from the tree and wrapping her in its death grip before she could wheeze out a scream. Everyone is acting like she just went ten rounds with Thulsa Doom himself and came out of it unscathed.
Fred seems rather taken by Jerrie all of a sudden. With her arms wrapped around him and her face so near to his, he almost seems to be enjoying the moment. Then Jerrie remarks that once they are all safe, she will see to it that her father financially compensates him for all his efforts. Stung by her words, he pushes her away and then says they had better continue on, so that her father will get his money’s worth. Sammy and Jerrie just exchange puzzled looks and then follow after him.
They emerge into a small clearing that is adorned with two large boulders. Using them as seats, they sit or lean against them, taking a breather. The jungle surrounds them, filled with the sounds of animals and birds. Jerrie looks at Fred and asks, “now what?” He grumpily tells her that if she thinks she can lead their little party any better, she is welcome to the job. At this point, Sammy finds something in the dirt, which he claims is a clue to what they are looking for on this island. The object is a shiny button-like piece of metal, featuring a skull and crossbones on it. Fred says that he has seen that insignia someplace before. Duh! It’s only been in every pirate movie ever made!
Sammy realizes that it is the exact same insignia as his college fraternity. Now they’re getting someplace! Fred asks if Sammy has his fraternity pin on him and the other man says yes, he never goes anywhere without it. He searches his pockets but cannot locate his pin. He says that he is sure he had it on him. “You did,” states Fred. Looking at the pin in his hand, he reads off Sammy’s name, which is inscribed on it. Proving to the audience that he only went to college to get drunk and score with chicks and not exercise his gray matter, Sammy wonders what this could mean! Is there another Sammy Ching on this island? Nope. It means they have been walking in circles and Sammy no doubt dropped it earlier in the day. I cannot believe he wasn’t smart enough to figure that one out on his own.
“I’m surrounded by idiots,” Jerrie remarks. Annoying as she is, she is at least half right at this point. She suggests they return to the beach and that she will lead them. She covers her eyes and goes “eenie meenie miny mo,” choosing a direction at random and then stomping off. The two men have little choice but to follow her. Fade out.
Fade in. The three of them are now back on the beach, returning to their camp. As they spot their gear and gleefully head in that direction, they note that something is wrong. They race on and discover that the camp is a mess, stuff having been tossed about all over the place. Sammy notes that the radio is smashed, while Fred wonders where Kris is at. They start calling his name, but a scream calls their attention. They race over to where Jerrie has found Kris, stretched out on his back on top of a large rock. Two thin spears are piercing his body and the poor bastard is staring off into space with that blank look that means one is very, very dead (or else from Arkansas). Fred notices that Kris’ knife is missing.
Sammy notices bloodstains on the ground and footprints that lead away from camp. He plans on following them, but Fred advises that they all stick together. Since they cannot do anything to help poor Kris – and no one seems interested in burying the body before it starts to stink up the place something fierce – they all decide to follow the footprints. So off they go down the beach once more.
Eventually they see the body of a native woman lying face down near the water’s edge. They rush over, pull her up the beach and then turn her over. YEESH! Talk about one fugly chick! This is the kind of face that no amount of alcohol is ever going to make attractive. The woman’s skin is so badly scarred, Freddy Krueger would make a good skin cream spokesman in comparison. She doesn’t seem to have eyelids and her eyeballs are great big protruding suckers that bulge out of her face much like those of a man undergoing his very first prostate exam. The teeth? Let’s just saw that the long, jagged things sticking out of her mouth look like they could saw through marble. All in all, not the finest specimen of the female gender. Ironic, really, since only the face is so horribly jacked up. The body is slim, lithe and tanned. Protruding from the chest is a knife…Kris’ knife. This must be who/what killed him. Jerrie notes that whoever this female was, she had the body of woman and the face of a demon. “A She Demon” Fred says, no doubt wishing he could find a way to copyright the name.
The next thing we know, the three survivors are standing over a makeshift grave where Kris’ body has been interred. Jerrie has decided to change clothes for the occasion, opting to forego the white shorts she has been wearing up until this point in favor of a long skirt. She notes how Kris had worked for her father for as long as she could remember, but she only got to know him over the last two days. Now he’s dead. She seems suddenly pessimistic, figuring that one of them will be next on death’s list. Then she notes that at least Kris is buried near the sea that he loved so much. Sammy asks what they are going to do next. Fred thinks that staying there is a bad idea and that they should take their chances in the jungle. Sammy agrees. The three of them walk off. Fade out.
Fade in. The three amigos are stomping through the jungle yet again. Fred calls a halt and the three of them listen to a rumbling sound nearby. Fred thinks it’s the sound of water, so they walk a little further and come across a bubbling stream. Yes, bubbling. There is even steam coming off this thing. A minute ago the noise they heard sounded more like a waterfall crashing over rocks, yet now that they have found the water, it’s nothing more than a slow, moving stream of water. Sammy points out that the water is boiling and Mr. Know It All – AKA Fred – says that it is mostly due to some volcanic activity.
Fred now strikes upon the idea of following the stream, thinking that it may lead them to something. “At least we won’t get lost,” says Sammy. So the three of the set off again and as we see them walking through the jungle, we hear that same sound as before – like a waterfall crashing over rocks. Where is that sound coming from?!! After more walking they stop again for a break. Jerrie wonders where they are. Fred says that he doesn’t know and Sammy says that he doesn’t care.
While resting, Jerrie mumbles, “if my friends could see me now.” Then she wishes aloud for a nice chilled glass of champagne. Sammy walks over, drapes a large leaf over his arm like it’s a towel and pretends to be a waiter, asking her what she’ll have. She places her imaginary food and drink order. When we see Fred, he has this funny look on his face. I don’t know if he’s sickened by their little game or is just desperately wishing for some real food himself. It turns out to be a case of the latter, as he asks them to stop their game, as his stomach is doing back flips. Sammy then chimes in and says that he can hear Fred’s stomach doing those back flips. In fact it sounds like…drums. Suddenly, drums can be heard through the jungle. They listen for a few seconds and then once they have determined from which direction the sound is coming, they march off to investigate.
Now we get to see who it is that has been banging these drums and hot damn, if it ain’t a bunch of super hot chicks! Two are beating their bongos, while six are seated on the ground around a fire, swaying with the rhythm. A ninth gal can be seen stretched out on some rocks nearby. All of them are clad somewhat scantily and not a single one of them looks like they are native to the region. Hell, some of them are so white, it looks like they just got of the plane from Wonder Bread Falls, Montana. The next thing you know, the six gals that were seated are now on their feet and engaged in a funky dance. At this point we must surmise that a sixty-four piece orchestra is hiding just out of sight in the jungle nearby because the music now changes to a loud, bombastic tune that seems straight out of some Vegas stage show. There’s no way two chicks with drums could create that cacophony. Hell, they aren’t even beating their bongos in time with the music.
As this ludicrous dance continues, Fred, Sammy and Jerrie come stumbling through the trees and spy the proceedings, remaining hidden while watching from the cover of the jungle. Jerrie notes that the women are “She Demons,” but Fred notices how their faces are not all fuglied up like the dead one on the beach, even though they are all dressed similarly.
We return to shots of the women dancing, where at least one looks directly into the camera for an instant. The music and dance then reaches a changing point and all the dancers drop to the ground. The orchestra stops and now just the women drummers can be heard, though they had altered their beat. The woman who had been reclining on some rocks now rises and starts dancing. She actually looks like she has darker skin tones that the others. She does a goofy dance, looking straight into the camera the entire time. Didn’t anyone tell them not to do this? Sheesh.
About now, the horn section chimes back in and all the women are once again dancing…and I must say, their dancing is just terrible. There is no synchronization between any of them. At one point, the choreography calls for them to make this little jump and few seem to do it at the same time. Even worse, they all seem to be facing different directions, destroying any symmetry their positions may have created. Terrible! Finally, the dance comes to an end and the women drop to the ground. Sammy notices that the event has become “open to the public” and gestures with his head.
Walking into the clearing and wielding a pistol is a Nazi! How do we know he is a Nazi? Cuz his freshly laundered uniform bears the tell tale swastika armband on his sleeve. In fact, given his uniform, it’s clear that this guy is a member of the Schutzstaffel AKA the SS. More Nazi soldiers arrive and Sammy notes that they are members of the Gestapo, which was the official secret police of Nazi Germany and was under the overall administration of the Schutzstaffel. The word Gestapo was a contraction of the words Geheime Staatspolizei or “Secret State Police.” Um…what? I’m digressing? Sorry. Didn’t mean to go off on a historical tangent.
So Nazi’s converge on the women. One guy with a whip yells something and waves his whip around, but never actually cracks it at anyone. Naturally, whatever it is he yells is punctuated with liberal uses of the word schnell (which means fast). I think that is one of the laws of making films: if your film ever features German soldiers or Nazis, then the word schnell has to be thrown in there in at least every fourth or fifth sentence. Fred, Sammy and Jerrie sneak through the bushes, watching as the Nazi’s lead the women into a tunnel that leads to some secret destination.
Figuring the time has come to show everyone just how big an idiot he truly is, Fred decides to go explore the tunnel and see where it leads. He tells the other two that if anything should happen, they should make their way back to the beach. And do what, I wonder? They have no boat, no radio, no food and at any time the Navy will be bombing this island back into the sea. Jerrie tells Fred to be careful and he asks her if she really cares. She explains that she has gotten used to him. Gee, what a ringing endorsement and display of affection. I’m sure my wife would love to hear that on our anniversary rather than say, “I love you.”
So Fred now takes off down this tunnel, which looks like it was constructed from paper mache. At the far end he looks out and sees more jungle. The Nazi’s are rounding up all the women and putting them in a large bamboo cage. Fred runs back to Jerrie and Sammy and tells them that there is some sort of camp “in there” and that he can’t figure it out. Hello? Nazi’s?! Hasn’t this guy ever seen an old horror flick? If there are Nazi’s hiding out on this island, it’s an obvious sign of trouble. You can bet your ass that they are up to no good. They’re either building giant killer robots, breeding an army of aquatic soldiers or have Hitler’s brain in a glass jar as part of some scheme to conquer the world.
Suddenly we jump to a lab somewhere. A dude decked out in white is prepping a big needle. This would be Colonel Karl Osler. Seated nearby – but with her back to the camera – is his wife Mona. She has a veil draped over her entire head. A couple feet away there is one of the native girls tied to a gurney. Mona asks how long things must continue and Karl tells her that the experiments are almost completed. See? I told you these Nazi’s were up to no good. Goodness knows what fiendish experiments have been carried out on this island. They could be planning on crippling America by lacing cigarettes with addictive drugs! No…wait, the tobacco companies already do that. Maybe their plan is to create a monopoly in the computer industry, thus requiring people everywhere to buy their operating systems, web browsers, word processors and other programs unaware of the subtle glitches and sabotage placed in each one. Nope. I think we all know who is already on that road. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what these particular Nazi’s are up to.
The SS officer we spied earlier with the whip now enters the room. Mona conceals her face with her hands and turns away from him. Karl chastises this guy – whose name is Igor – for entering when he has been told not to do so without permission. Mona screams at her husband to, “Get him out! Get him out!” Igor says that he will not look at Mona. Rather testily, Karl now asks why he has come. Igor explains that he has re-captured the native islanders that had escaped. Karl seems annoyed by the interruption for such a trivial piece of news. Mona cries again for Igor to leave, so Karl tells him to split.
Once Igor has left, Karl tries to calm his wife. He looks over at the girl strapped to the gurney and comments on how she is such a healthy specimen (indeed, she is quite attractive). He tells his wife that soon she will be beautiful again then injects the native girl in the neck with the contents of the syringe. Then he hooks a plastic tube to the area he just injected (logic says that he connected it to the needle, which must still be inserted in the girl’s skin). This tube is connected to some other “scientific” stuff on a nearby desk (some beakers). A second tube runs from this stuff to Mona. He fiddles with this gear, then removes the tube attached to the girl. He tells his wife that it is all over and asks if she feels ok.
Before Mona can answer, a growling sound can be heard. We are shown the girl on the gurney and GREAT GOBS OF GOOSE SHIT!! Her face is now hideously scarred and her teeth have somehow grown into fangs! Seriously, she looks like the world’s worst acne-scarred vampire. Her fingernails have also grown about four inches each, though oddly enough, her toenails have not been affected. Likewise, only her face is scarred and ugly. The rest of her body is still tanned, toned and attractive. Karl looks over her and remarks, “always the same reaction…a mindless animal.” He pats her on the arm as she struggles against her restraints and he assures her that in a few days she will be Human again as she was before.
So…the Nazis’ plan is to transform all American women into ugly beasts? That might actually work in toppling the country. Think about it! All those fugly women will never get laid again. Like I mentioned earlier, this is an ugly so bad, no amount of alcohol will ever make it better. There is no man that is gonna hit that. Not ever. No sireee! Thus, no more children will be born and the American population will dwindle to the point where we’ll be easy pickings for some evil masterminds. Yep, that is an ingenious plan if I do say so mys…wait a sec! Only the women’s’ faces were made ugly. They still had nice bodies. In fact, they still had super hot bodies. I see a problem. Fugly or not, there will be tons of guys still willing to score with such a gal. Paper bags were invented for a reason and it wasn’t for kids to take their lunches to school or for drunks to hide their liquor bottles while they drank. Methinks this plan for world domination needs some re-thinking.
We now return to Fred, Sammy and Jerrie. The trio is walking down that phony looking cave passage. The sound of a whip cracking can be heard as well as screams of pain. When they reach the end of the tunnel and peer into the Nazi camp, we see that Igor has removed one of the gals from the cage, had her strung up to a wooden post using some iron chains and manacles, and has been whipping her. He looks at the other captives and tells them that if they try to escape again, he will give them some of the same.
Fred, Sammy and Jerrie have now stealthily made their way through the tunnel and are now hiding in the foliage near one end of the big bamboo cage. Igor takes one last look at the woman he whipped, spits at her in disgust and then stalks off, no doubt to find some kittens and tie firecrackers to their tails. Jerrie looks at the abused woman and wonders if there is anything they can do for her. Fred tells her to keep her eyes open and then leaves their hiding place. He approaches the woman and tries to free her from her chains. He manages to unhook her, but since she has long since passed out, all she can do flop over onto the ground. Fred examines her more closely and then returns to Sammy and Jerrie to report that the woman is dead. Jerrie wants to know what kind of place they have stumbled onto. Fred suggests it is some kind of torture camp. Sammy chimes in that the Nazi’s were experts at it.
Long about now, the three of them have turned their backs to the cage, so no one sees the hands that emerge from between the bamboo bars to grab Sammy by the throat. His eyes bulge, but Fred is able to free them. In this particular cage are about four of the She Demons, their butt ugly visages staring out at the three newcomers. Even though the trio is beyond their reach, the She Demons continue to claw at them and make growling noises. If weren’t for those faces, I’d be sooooo turned on right about now (note how in one shot, the caged She Demons are clustered together, while in the subsequent shot, they are spread out). Fred figures all the noise will attract the guards, so suggests they skedaddle. Of course, any sane person would accomplish this by running back the way they came. Not Fred. No, he wants to run through a door that leads deeper into the mountain. Is this guy insane?
So the three of them head through the door and find themselves descending some stairs into chambers that have been dug right out of the rock. Naturally, this is what we are meant to think, with the large rocky walls on one side and the big brick wall on the other. However, this set just looks ultra cheap. The rocks look like paper mache or Styrofoam, while the brick wall looks like painted cardboard. A flaming torch affixed to the wall looks like it could very well bring the whole thing down in a conflagration of fire and balsa wood. Cheap!
Sammy comments about the time it would have taken to carve out all these rooms, but Fred says that since the island is volcanic, these are probably lava tubes that have been converted into rooms. Well, thanks a lot pal for shooting down my (and Sammy’s) idea that this place was carved right out of the rock. Fred picks a door and decides they really need to see what is on the other side. Isn’t this guy the least bit afraid of being caught by the Nazis that are roaming around? I don’t know about you, but for me they are not exactly the friendliest bunch of folks on Earth.
Behind the door in question is a lab. Why it’s Karl Osler’s lab from earlier. Only now the place is deserted. The three of them walk around, looking the place over. There are bubbling test tubes and other things from a junior chemistry set, some “scientific” machines lined up against one wall (and which are probably cardboard), lots of jars and several cages containing a variety of birds. The general creepiness of the place begins to take a toll on Jerrie, who is clinging to Fred like vines on a wall. Eventually, when some birds get agitated and flap around in their cage, she spazzes and throws herself into Fred’s arms.
Fred tries to comfort her and tells her that they will find a way off the island, but she asks why he keeps saying that since he knows it isn’t true. She now begins to cry and starts listing off all the horrible things about this island, such as the big snake that almost got her, those fugly She Demon broads and the threat of an imminent bombing run by the U.S. Navy. Uh….you forgot to mention Sammy and his lame jokes! She says that she has tried to be brave. Fred agrees, but says that he is now seeing the real her, the person she hides behind that tough, cold exterior.
Now comes the part where Jerrie gets all self reflective and begins pondering her life and how she has led it up until now. She mumbles something about how the events of the last couple days have given her true strength. She talks about how before she wanted for nothing, but now her experience on the island has gained her something money could never buy: courage. She realizes what an empty, self-centered person she has been. She looks at Fred and tells him that whatever may happen, she wants him to know that she loves him. With that the two lock lips with all the force of a hydraulic press. Seriously, I think they may need a crow bar to separate once again. Fred looks like he is doing his best to stick his tongue so far down her throat, he could sample the remnants of her last meal. The whole scene is rather silly. The acting is horrible and the kiss just seems forced and over done.
Meanwhile, outside…the She Demons are continuing to shake their cage and growl. Igor appears from somewhere, in the process of tucking his shirt into his pants. So either he was sleeping, taking a crap or was flogging the dolphin. He snarls at all the females in the cages - both normal gals and She Demons – to be quiet. He stalks around and then notices that the woman he whipped to death earlier is no longer hanging by her restraints, but is now sprawled out face down on the ground. Realizing that someone must have let her down, he calls out for the other guards/soldiers (getting at least one schnell in there for good measure). He orders them to secure the area and then begins searching for whoever cut down the dead girl. Just as quickly as they appeared from one end of the stage, all the soldiers now vanish in the other direction.
Igor now looks around and notices that the door leading underground is hanging wide open. Think about it. Fred, Jerrie and Sammy passed through that door just a few minutes ago, but despite their fear of the Nazis and the consequences of being caught, they were still sufficiently retarded to leave evidence of their passing. Igor shuts the door and is about to step away when he no doubt realizes that the potential intruders may have gone this way, so he opens it again and descends the stairs, grabbing the wall mounted torch on his way down. He makes his way to the lab and begins walking around. Is it just me, or do you think it’s really a good idea to be walking with an open flame that close to some of the chemicals that are likely to be present there?
As he walks around, we see Fred hiding behind some shelves. Since these shelves are spaced about a foot apart and are not overly crowded with objects, it really doesn’t afford him much in the way of cover. One has to wonder why the idiot doesn’t try ducking down and hiding. One also has to wonder why Igor is incapable of seeing him through the shelves. Then again, if one is worried about such things, then one has to wonder why they are even watching this film in the first place. Personally, I want to know where Sammy and Jerrie are hiding. It’s not like they can climb in with the birds and pretend to be a pair of oversized pigeons.
Speaking of Sammy and Jerrie, we now see where they are hiding: right out in the open. Well, damn near! Sammy is pressed up against the wall next to a big piece of machinery while Jerrie is taking refuge behind the lip of an archway that has been built in the room. Igor passes about three feet from Sammy, but fails to see him. This guy has some of the worst peripheral vision ever. Naturally, this being a 50’s movie, the women have to be portrayed as clumsy and incompetent, so it should come as no surprise when Jerrie leans out from her hiding spot and accidentally knocks over a beaker on a nearby table. She quickly hides again, but the sound alerts Igor. He looks around but fails to see the beaker in question as it rolls back and forth. Attributing the noise to the caged birds, he exits the room. Alas, he has barely gotten out when the beaker rolls off the table and shatters on the floor. This sound instantly draws Igor back.
He walks over and sees Jerrie hiding. Calling her Fraulein, he tells her to come out. He tells her that Herr Osler will be pleased to meet her. He has her come further into the center of the room so he can better see her. He comments on her beauty and brings up the possibility of Osler presenting Jerrie to Igor as a gift – and yes, he refers to himself in the third person like that. He asks her how she got there and I just now realized that this fool has been speaking English for her to have understood him. How did he know to speak English?
Anyway, in response to his question about how she got there, she looks at him and says that she supposes he wants the truth. He says yes, that would be a good idea and adds that he will know if she is lying. Oh yeah? How? Is he telepathic? Can he read her thoughts and know she is lying? Maybe he’s empathic like Deanna Troi and just gets the feeling that she is being untruthful. I know! He has one of those lie detectors that the Professor built on Gilligan’s Island with coconuts and bamboo!! She informs him that she just swooshed in on a dry martini (one of which sounds very appealing at this point of the film). He asks what “swoosh” means and assumes that a Dry Martini is some sort of vehicle. There is some more of this goofball exchange that almost borders on Abbott and Costello’s Who’s on First territory…only not anywhere near as funny.
Igor is losing patience with her and tells her so, reminding her that she is a prisoner of the German Reich. She responds by calling him fatso, a tactic that Neville Chamberlain should have used when dealing with Hitler in Munich in 1938. Naturally, this angers Igor, so he decides that he is going to teach her some respect. He stands back, uncoils his whip (not that one you pervs) and extends his hand back in preparation for letting her have it. However, before he can crack his whip, Fred steps forward and grabs it away from him. Igor turns around to see Fred and Sammy, the former wielding a large knife (the one he took from dead Kris). Noting aloud how well Igor fared against those helpless women, Fred wants to see how he does against him. He tells Sammy to get Jerrie out of there and to wait at the top of the stairs for him. Sammy hesitates for a second and then ushers Jerrie towards the door.
Igor now calls Fred an American Swine and swings the torch at his head in a move so stunningly slow, I think my grandfather could have easily dodged it…and my Gramps is dead. Needless to say, Fred avoids the blow as well. Heck, it’s almost as if he was expecting the swing and was just waiting to duck, but that can’t be true…can it? Regardless, the fight is now on between Fred and Igor. Well, more to the point, between their obvious stunt doubles. Even more to the point, between their badly matched stunt doubles. Really, these two look nothing like the actors that they are standing in for. Hell, the guy doubling Fred has different colored hair…and it even looks pretty thin and wispy on top where as actor Tod Griffin’s mop looks like the proverbial hair helmet.
Not only are the stunt doubles a poor match, but also the fight choreography and continuity is horrendous. At one point, Igor has Fred backed up to a table. Then we cut to a reaction shot of Sammy and Jerrie, the two of them standing by the door and staring slack-jawed at the fight. Then when we cut back to the combatants, it is Igor who has his back to the table. How and when did they switch spots? The fight rages on, cutting back and forth between close ups of the actors and wide shots with the crappy stunt doubles. At one point Igor tries to stab Maklin with the torch that he is using as a melee weapon, but runs into the wall. Look closely and you can see the “stone” wall shudder and move under the impact. Either that wall is much more flimsy than it looks (most likely since it is probably cardboard) or Igor is packing more mass that The Hulk. Finally, Fred lands a punch, which sends Igor into the floor, dazed but not unconscious. Sammy calls for Fred so they can scram and the three of them haul ass back up the stairs and outside.
Notice anything odd there? That’s right, Fred’s punch only stunned Igor and did not knock him out. Even as Fred was running out of the room, Igor was picking himself up off the floor. This begs the question, if your opponent is still conscious, then why are you trying to make a break for it?! Naturally he is going to summon help or do something to hinder your escape. Make sure he’s out cold and then make your getaway. Sheesh, these people are thick! Once outside, Fred tells the other two to run and that he will meet them in the tunnel. He plans on staying and slowing down Igor. Well, ya should have done that when he was laying in the floor! Then it would have been easy to hit him over the head with a jar or two.
No sooner have Sammy and Jerrie run off than Igor appears at the top of the stairs and forces his way through the door. Fred sucker punches him, but Igor recovers quickly and sends Freddy Boy sprawling on the ground near the ladies’ cages. The fight continues and finally, finally, finally, Fred punches Igor and the other man staggers back and collides with the cage door. This opens the door and allows the She Demons inside to grab Igor. Meanwhile, Fred has made like Barry Allen and covered the distance from the cages to the tunnel in a millisecond. Joining Sammy and Jerrie, he watches as the She Demons attack Igor. The big guy eventually falls to the ground. Whether he is dead or just passed out is unclear. Take note that the door to the cage opens inward, so with Igor sprawled on the ground, there is no way to close it. The camera cuts away and then back to the cage and now the gate is closed even though his body is in the same position. There isn’t any way for the door to have been moved with him there. What is clear is that with the cage open, all the females – She Demons and normal hot chicks alike – are now free to exit and make a run for it.
Fred, Sammy and Jerrie just stand there gawking as all the native women bust loose. They talk about how bad things are going to get and finally decide they had best leave. Any person with the slightest lick of sense wouldn’t have stuck around to chat about the situation like these morons just did, but rather, would have been three blocks away and still running. Needless to say, they procrastinated just a wee bit too long and when they go to leave, a guard catches them. He points his rifle at them and says something in German that isn’t schnell. The three morons raise their hands in surrender. Fade out.
Fade in. Karl Osler is in his lab, sitting at his desk and smoking a doobie. Ok, ok, ok…maybe that huge thing he lights isn’t a joint but a hand rolled cigarette. Then again, this is a tropical island we’re on. Osler here might have his own private gardening project somewhere around here. Also in the room are Fred, Sammy and Jerrie. Osler tells them that someday he may return to the Fatherland. Fred doubts that, as he has recognized him as Colonel Karl Osler AKA The Butcher. He just happens to be one of the most wanted men by the war crimes commission. Fred then explains to a clueless Sammy and Jerrie that Osler was well known for using Nazi prisoners as guinea pigs in his experiments.
This seems to upset Osler, who stands and says something in his native tongue. Then he calms down a little bit and says that those stories about him are all lies. He further explains that he was just fulfilling his job as a soldier and his duty to the Fuhrer as part of the quest to develop a master race. Sure, pal. Just how many times did we hear that at Nuremberg? Then Fred asks about all the women on the island, including the She Demons. This gets Osler laughing, as he thinks the name Fred has bestowed upon those fugly chicks is quite funny. Fred asks is these are the women who disappeared from some other island about ten years ago. Osler now stops laughing and notes that Fred is very well informed. Too well informed, in fact. He asks Fred how much the outside world is aware of his actions on this island. Fred tells him that there are just rumors and nothing more before asking Osler to give them the facts of the situation.
I have a small observation at this point. Surf City has to be somewhere on the Gulf coast or Eastern seaboard in order for it to be affected by a hurricane (and note that there is a Surf City in North Carolina). Yet, when Fred, Jerrie and the others get blown off course, they've wound up in an area with native islanders that look more like they hail from the South Pacific. Now that is one hell of a hurricane! It either blew them all the way around the bottom of South America or else it physically lifted them up and transported them over the Yucatan and into the Pacific! Either than or Osler abducted these women from a Pacific island and brought them to one in the Caribbean or Atlantic. Regardless of where they originated, why don’t these women try to flee the island after escaping from their cages? Why in the hell did they find a small clearing and then begin dancing?!!!
In true villainous fashion, Osler agrees to tell them the truth, as in his mind, they won’t ever get the chance to tell anyone else. He admits to his part in experiments during the war that some may have deemed “unethical.” His job was to find a way to replace scar tissue on the human body with new skin. After all, members of the “master race” were to look perfect and not be marred by skin deformities. Osler and his pals had succeeded in their task, changing scar tissue to clean skin in some women through the use of radiation. Unfortunately, the radiation always killed the patient. He is sure that if given the time, they would have worked out what the proper dose of radiation would have been. That’s like saying that in time, they would figure out how many blows to the head it would take to fix a headache.
Jerrie now asks what all that has to do with whatever it is he is doing on this island. He says that it was during that earlier work that they discovered how lava could be used as a power source. Yes, you read that right, lava. No, not that abrasive soap, but actual molten rock. Osler now walks over to some of his scientific gizmos and flips some switches, activating something. He gestures to a viewing lens set in the wall. Fred, Sammy and Jerrie take turns looking through them and see some stock footage of a volcanic eruption. Osler starts babbling total nonsense now and says that the lava has a temperature over 65,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Then he says that if it were to cool by as much as one thousand degrees, it would cause the surface of the earth to freeze over. Um…WRONG. Molten lava on the surface is only about 1,200 to 2,200 degrees and even at the Earth's core it is estimated to be not much more than 10,000 degrees.
Osler now says that he was sent to this island during the war to continue research into what they called Thermal Energy and what everyone else calls Geo-Thermal Energy. Sammy now chimes in and admits to being lost, but encourages Osler to continue. I’m surprised the Colonel hasn’t shot Sammy by now. Anyway, Osler explains that they are electronically extracting the heat from the center of the Earth and converting it into power. Fred seems to grasp what the old dude is saying: they use the heat from the lava to create electricity. Then they use the electricity to extract the lava. Then the process begins again. It is what Fred refers to as Perpetual Motion, or what the rest of us call bullshit. Osler confirms this and says that he is a bit sad that they cannot share what they have discovered with the rest of the world.
Fred asks Osler if he is aware that the Navy uses this island for bombing practice. Osler says yes, but this far underground, they are quite safe. Huh? They must be all of twenty feet underground! Yeah, that will really protect you from a couple dozen bombs. Sammy asks if anyone else has found the island and Osler says that yes, from time to time, some poor fools have stumbled accidentally onto this little installation, but were never permitted to leave alive. Most everybody else stays away due the island being restricted by the military.
At this point, the door opens and Osler’s wife, Mona, enters. She still has her entire head wrapped in bandages as if she just stepped out of z grade production of The Mummy. Osler seems a little surprised to see her and asks what she is doing there. She says that she heard there were visitors on the island and since it has been so long since she had company, she wanted to see them. She comments on how beautiful Jerrie is, but before she can go any further, Osler chases her out of the room, saying that they are busy and there will be time later for socializing since their new “friends” are planning to stay on the island “for a very long time.” Mona submits to her husband’s will and slowly walks out of the room.
Seeing that the others have noticed Mona’s bandages, Osler explains that she was once his laboratory assistant before they were married and that she was very beautiful. She continued to help him even after they came to the island. One day there was a terrible accident and she was severely burned. He vowed then to spend the rest of his life in a quest to make her beautiful again. This is where the She Demons come in, as Fred surmises. Osler babbles some more about an exchange of something he calls Character X between a healthy specimen and his wife.
Jerrie now asks what Character X is, causing me to shake my head in denial, for I know the answer will only involve a bunch of made-up bullcrap. Sure enough, Osler talks about how this Character X stuff is some sort of secretion everybody creates and which gives a person their appearance. Removing it from a person would be fatal, but he has developed a process by which it can be swapped between two people. Thus, the fugly She Demons are a reflection of his wife’s burned appearance. However, while that may explain their desperate need for a dermatologist, it doesn't explain why they have fangs and are so vicious. Osler goes on to say that a full infusion of his wife’s Character X would kill one of these girls, so he supplements it from Character X from a variety of animals. Fred pretty much repeats all of this out loud in more simplified language, for the audience’s benefit.
The others seem aghast at this revelation, but Osler assures them that as time goes by and the subject girls rebuild their own Character X, they return to normal. This is a good thing in Osler’s eyes, as it means he can use them again and again in his experiments. Jerrie predictably calls him mad at this point. He denies it and mutters something about shortsighted people who cannot imagine man being able to improve upon nature. Fred now asks about Mona, but Osler says that they have discussed enough and he has told them far more than he intended.
He snaps his fingers and a guard, who was obviously standing behind the camera crew, appears. Osler orders him to take Jerrie to the women’s’ isolation room as a precautionary measure. Precautionary for what? Is he afraid that Jerrie has the clap or something? She looks worriedly at Fred, but he just nods that it is ok for her to go (maybe he also thinks she has the clap). Once the guard has ushered her out of the room, Fred asks what happens to them now. Osler mentions the damage and inconvenience they have caused him, which includes killing his favorite guard (I guess Igor is dead after all). He says that their punishment will be rather lenient given the circumstances. Oh, no! He’s gonna make them watch the director’s other movies!
Fred makes a bold speech about how Osler can do anything he wants to he and Sammy (I’m sure Sammy would not agree), but if he had any decency left in him, he won’t hurt Jerrie. Osler tells him not to worry, as he has something special planned for her. Oh, yeah? Like what? A drink, some roofies and a one-sided shag in his bedroom? Fred warns him that if he hurts Jerrie, he will kill Osler even if it is the very last thing he does. The guard now returns and ushers Fred and Sammy out another door. When they have left, Osler mutters to himself how his soldiers will see to it that they do not have the same exuberance the next time they meet. Fade out.
Fade in. Fred and Sammy have had large 4 x 4’s strapped across the shoulders and their arms lashed over the tops. They are also chained to that same tree where Igor whipped that one girl to death and are being made to walk in endless circles around it as guards laugh, taunt them with water and whip them. The two are eventually unchained. Look close and one of those 4 x 4’s changes position from the ground to Sammy’s shoulder in shot to shot. Sammy promptly falls to his knees and one of the guards yells at him to get up. Sammy calls him a dirty slob and promises that he can take all they can dish out…and more. The guard punches him right in the gut and Sammy collapses into a heap. So much for his iron will. Fred helps him stand and the two are pushed into the nearby cage that held a bunch of women earlier.
In the cage, trying to recover from their ordeal, Fred asks Sammy if there is anything he can do for him. Given their situation and lack of personal items, I had a momentary fear that Fred was offering to do something “special” and that Sammy would take him up on the offer. Alas, Sammy asks Fred to make sure that in the future, Sammy keeps his big mouth shut. In the adjacent cage, a pair of fugly She Demons watches them. Sammy wonders if he and Fred somehow figure into Osler’s experiments, but Fred rhetorically asks who would want a wife with one of their faces. Not realizing the utter obvious – that Osler may very well like a wife with Jerrie’s face – the two discuss their options for escape. Then they finally think of Jerrie, but rather than conclude the obvious, they assume Osler must be torturing her in some fashion.
Jumping over to Osler’s dining room, we see exactly how he is torturing Jerrie: with fine champagne, good food, a fancy dress to wear and sparkling jewelry. Yeah, the poor woman. He apologizes for the glass in which he is forced to serve the champagne and asks her to accept it, laying on some sweet talk. She just stands there with this look of distaste and disinterest as if the world’s biggest nerd just asked her dance. He wants to toast to a long and plentiful association, but she refuses to take the offered rink, or even turn and look in his direction. Getting nowhere, he now talks about all the effort that went into preparing this room for this moment. She still isn’t impressed.
After some more whining on the Colonel's part, she finally speaks and asks where Mona and Fred are, wondering why they aren’t there. Not a single mention of Sammy. I guess she doesn’t care if they flayed him alive and used his skin as a rag to polish the silverware. Osler tells her that the late hour prevented Mona from attending. After all, she needs a full night’s rest. On the other hand, Fred wasn’t feeling well and asked to be excused. Yeah, right! She may be blonde, but even Jerrie isn’t quite that stupid. She looks at Osler and asks him what he has done to Fred. Osler tells her not to worry, as her two companions are being well cared for, receiving special treatment on his orders.
Jerrie now says that she would never have come if she’d known the two of them would be alone. Um…sure. Like Osler would have just let her kick back for the night in a room somewhere. She calls the dress she is wearing a “mothball monstrosity,” which prompts Osler to impart to her the history of the dress, how it belonged to Mona, how Jerrie looks so striking in it, blah, blah, blah. My eyes are glazing over at this point. Will something, anything, please happen in this film?! Osler begins to lose a little patience at this point (he’s losing patience??) and tries a different approach: he says that he just wants to please her. Jerrie responds by informing him that if he really wanted to do that, he’d drop dead. HAHAHA! Shot down in flames, pal!!
He tells her that he can employ more persuasive methods if he chooses, but then decides to go ahead and drink without her. He instantly downs both his glass of champagne and hers. Deciding he needs more, he wanders over to the booze cabinet, grabs the bottle and begins pouring himself more glasses of champagne, barely chugging one before filling the glass again. He starts babbling about all his accomplishments. He fumbles his way through some other boring talk and finally mumbles about how lonely he is, even though he is fond of his wife. We get the picture pal! You love her, but with a face like that, there’s no way you’re gonna sleep with her. Jerrie decides she has had enough and opts to return to her room.
Before she can take three steps, Osler grabs her by the arm, whirls her around and has her look out of the window at the island outside. He says that it is all hers, to rule over as his queen. As he is promising her everything that he has, they are both unaware that Mona has cracked open the door and is listening in to his spiel. Osler says that he “must have” Jerrie and tries to kiss her. SLAP! The tall blonde gal bitch slaps the Nazi! Naturally, he is not pleased. Now he tells her that she may change her mind once she realizes that the lives of her friends depend on her decision. Mona continues to eavesdrop as Osler admits to having Fred and Sammy tortured (no doubt by forcing them to listen to some Yanni albums). Then she quietly leaves.
Osler makes it clear that if Jerrie refuses his advances, not only will her friends die, but she herself will be utilized in Osler’s experiments with his wife. In other words, she would be fated to become a She Demon. A tall, leggy, blonde She Demon, but a She Demon none the less. Again, Osler tries to convince her to acquiesce by putting the moves on her and again she pushes him away. Now with her back to the table, she secretly grabs the champagne bottle as Osler moves in for another round of “no means no.” As he tries to embrace her, POW. She clobbers him with the bottle. It shatters and Osler falls to the floor, unconscious.
Jerrie wastes no time in fleeing the room, but is forced to momentarily hide from a Goose-stepping soldier in the hallway. This gives Osler time to come to and start screaming for help. The soldier comes running, not seeing Jerrie as he passes her hiding spot. The coast clear for a few seconds, she runs off, heading through the lab on her way to…wherever the hell she is going. Seconds later, Osler and the soldier are in hot pursuit. Eventually, Jerrie makes her way to the stairs that lead to the surface and heads on up, stopping only briefly to discard the high-heels she had been wearing.
You know, I just realized something. Earlier Osler said that all of the installation was underground (with the exception of the bamboo cages where prisoners are kept, of course). This has been proven true by the number of times we have seen people going up and down those stairs. There is just one problem! We just saw Jerrie ascend the stairs, so we know that previous to that, she was below ground. That means the lab as well as the room where Osler was trying to wine and dine her were both underground as well. If that is the case, then how could that dining room have a window that looked out over the island? We could even see foliage right outside the window!
Anyway, Jerrie comes flying through the door and is spotted by Fred and Sammy in the bamboo cage. Fred calls to her and they have a short exchange through the bars. She wants to help them, but he says there isn’t time. He tells her that she needs to go hide in the jungle and find some other way to escape. Sammy reminds her that some of the escaped She Demons are also running loose in the jungle, so she should be careful. Then she hightails it out of sight, promising to come back for them. Osler arrives on the surface a moment later, shouting that the girl has escaped. The soldier accompanying him begins blowing a whistle, summoning the other guards.
In the jungle – or at least, the studio set made up to resemble a jungle – Jerrie hears the whistle, but keeps going. Soon she is out of earshot. She slowly makes her way through the dense foliage, unaware that a She Demon is also wandering around nearby, possibly even tracking her movements. Now we get alternating shots of Jerrie walking through the jungle, the She Demon slowly following her and several Nazi soldiers out looking for her as well. Just as it seems the She Demon may have Jerrie cornered, a whistle blown by one of the soldiers frightens the fugly chick away. The soldiers continue to close in on Jerrie, who just stands there next to a large rock, doing nothing. Not running, not hiding, just standing there. Like an idiot. I think Helen Keller could have located her!
A hand now grabs her from behind. However it is not a soldier, but Mona Osler! Mona tells Jerrie to be quiet and that she is there to help her. She relates the tale how the last time she wore the dress that Jerrie now has on, it was in the same dining room and that Karl had promised her the island as well. Now all she lives for is the day she can take off her bandages. Jerrie asks how bad her face really is. Mona explains that after the accident, her husband destroyed every mirror on the island, thus she has never seen her face. Jerrie mentions a compact mirror she left in her room and tells Mona she is welcome to it. Gee, thanks. How generous of you.
Mona now tells her that on the other side of the island is a small rowboat and that Jerrie should use it. Jerrie wants to know why Mona is helping her. After all, if she escapes, she is obligated to inform the authorities as to who exactly resides on the island. Mona doesn’t seem to care. Jerrie then says that she cannot leave without her friends. Mona gives her a key to their cage and says that she will show her an easier way back to the compound. Jerrie asks if she can help her regain her clothes, as getting around in that tight dress is rather difficult. Also, according to Jerrie, Mona might be able to wear it again herself quite soon. Mona just says that if anything should happen when they return to the compound, she will not be able to help Jerrie any further. With that they head back to the installation.
Next, we see Jerrie sneaking up on the bamboo cage. She is in her old clothes, so I guess Mona helped her change after all. Once the closest guard has moved out of sight on his rounds, Jerrie emerges from her hiding spot and heads over to the cages. Fred sees her and says that he thought he had lost her. Sammy calls her a sight for sore eyes. Fred then asks what she is doing there. She just holds up the key. When Fred asks where she got it, she promises to tell him later. The guard then approaches again and everyone freezes. Really, this is just idiotic. Why doesn’t the guard question the fact that the prisoners have gone from being flopped out on the ground, to standing in the corner, all in the space of a minute or so. Is he really that blind?
After the blind guard has passed by, Jerrie whispers to Fred that she knows where there is a boat and that she’ll lead them there. Fred tells Sammy to look for the guard. Sammy takes two steps to the other end of the cage then instantly returns and says that it is clear. What the hell? Do they really need a lookout at the opposite end of the cage that just happens to be all of three feet away? To cut to the chase, Jerrie uses the key given to her by Mona and unlocks the cage. With Fred and Sammy now free, the three of them slink away into the bushes.
Once they have gone a short way, they stop and give each other big shit-eating grins, like they just pulled off some grand scheme. The sound of a gun being cocked brings their good mood to an instant end. A few feet away, sitting on a rock, smoking a cigarette and decked out in his Nazi uniform, is Colonel Osler. He is pointing a gun at them. He asks if they are out for a walk and wonders if he can join them. Then noticing that someone is trembling, he asks if they are cold. He suggests they all turn in for a “good night’s rest.” Yeah. I’m betting a good night’s rest for Fred and Sammy will involving being whipped while in Jerrie’s case it will mean being subjected to the sight of Osler’s Lil Colonel. Osler says that he has some important work scheduled for the next day in the lab. On that ominous note, we fade out.
From the cell, Fred begs Osler to let Jerrie go and says that the mad Nazi can do what he wants to he and Sammy. Odd, how Sammy isn’t saying anything like that. In fact, he’s not saying anything at all. Somehow, I don’t think he really agrees with Fred’s sentiments. I would not be surprised if he decided to start shouting the exact opposite!
Osler now tells Jerrie that in a few minutes, she will be butt ugly, but in a few days her looks will return to normal. Alas, the procedure tends to wipe out a person’s memory, so Jerrie will live out her days never remembering who she really is. He gives her one last time to change her mind about the offer he extended to her on the previous evening. Jerrie just turns her face away from him in disgust. Seeing that he has been denied yet again, he plans on proceeding with the operation.
Fred and Sammy watch helplessly from their cell. Then Sammy hears a distant roaring. Nope, it’s not the sound of the audience stampeding for the exits, but rather, the Navy jets come to bomb the island. Explosions can be heard and Sammy says that they have started to bomb the island. Well, no shit, Sherlock! The place starts shaking and bits of rock and dirt begin falling from the ceiling. Osler looks a little surprised by the intensity of the bombing, but then tells Mona that they are safe, as they have survived bombing runs before.
As he turns to continue with the experiment, Mona jumps to her feet and tells him to stop. She tells him that he has done enough harm and that these experiments will not continue. He assures her that everything he has done has been for her. Yep, just like how he offered to make Jerrie his jungle queen last night. That was really thinking of his wife. In the background, we can hear bombs continue to fall and detonate. Then we get some World War II stock footage of explosions as seen through a window. Odd, as how the lab is totally underground. The place continues to shake. Mona tells her husband that it was she who gave the Americans the key to escape. When he asks her why she has done this, she tells him that it is because of what he has done to her.
A stock footage bomb explodes in a field that looks like it is nowhere near a tropical jungle island. Apparently this bomb detonated right over the lab, as the place really shakes now and the lights even flicker. After a little more shaking, things in the lab start to collapse: some shelves, a support beam, etc. The place is beginning to crumble. Osler shouts something unintelligible (I think it was something about the volcano destroying the island) and then runs over to the machines that have something to do with his lava power generation systems. There he flips switches, turns dials and begins wigging out.
Meanwhile, Fred and Sammy have taken advantage of all the shaking to push over the bars lining their cell, which were weakened and loosened by the bombing. As they free Jerrie, Osler is screaming something about a “lifetime of work” and punctuating his rant with liberal uses of the word schnell. Another explosion rocks the place and the wall separating it from the chamber beyond where the lava is located cracks, allowing molten rock to coming pouring into the lab. Colonel Osler is covered and falls to the floor, screaming. He is soon buried in the stuff. Fred yells for everyone to leave, including Mona.
The four of them flee the lab, but right outside in the hall a soldier up on the stairs spots them and aims his rifle in their direction. BOOM. A shot is fired, but it did not come from the guard. Nope, it came from the gun in Mona’s hand. She says that she had intended to use it on Karl if necessary, but could not bring herself to do it. Well, then thank goodness for the lava! She hands the gun to Fred and says that the others might have better use for the weapon. She points them in the direction of a tunnel that leads to safety, as ascending the stairs and exiting the camp by that route may prove dangerous. She wishes them luck, then hands Jerrie the mirror that was mentioned earlier and thanks her for it.
Jerrie says that Mona should come with them, but she says that her place is there, by her husband’s side. Jerrie asks why. Mona then asks Jerrie, “would you go, if you looked like THIS?!” The music flares and she dramatically removes some of her bandages, revealing part of her face. Not much, just her nose and the area around the eyes. However, what we can see is enough for us to realize that Mona is so utterly revolting in appearance, she makes the average She Demon look like a top model. Then covering her face again and weeping, Mona turns and walks back into the lab. The place is on fire and she no sooner has entered and taken a few steps than the room begins to collapse around her and on her.
Seeing that Mona has decided to stay, and with the earth beginning to shake even stronger than before, the others now decide to get their asses into gear. They enter the tunnel as stock footage collapses around them. In the tunnel, a support beam falls and knocks Sammy to the floor, trapping him. Fred tells Jerrie to go ahead while he helps Sammy, but she refuses. Together they work to free their friend…and just in time, too! A wall behind them collapses and we see some rear screen projected lava flowing nearby. The trio then race for the exit.
The exit is apparently at the end of a very long tunnel in Bronson Canyon. A few shots of them running through caves now follow, some of which seem to drag on forever, even though it’s really less than thirty seconds. They emerge from a cave mouth that looks suspiciously like the one where Ro-man stashed his bubble machine. The trio are confronted with even more stock footage of a lava flow. They debate for a few seconds on which way to go and decide to re-enter the caves and follow the passage even further.
After another shot of them stumbling through a cave, they exit from a different cave mouth. Fred realizes that they are standing at the bottom of an old volcanic crater. The way things are going, the place is going to be filled with lava at any minute. In other words: move your ass! They pick the side of the crater that looks like the easiest to climb and make a break for it, not seeing two Nazi soldiers nearby that have spotted them. The soldiers get off numerous shots with their rifles, but all these years on the island have obviously caused their marksmanship skills to deteriorate, as they can’t seem to hit the broad side of a barn with an elephant.
Fred, Sammy and Jerrie race on, dodging bullets. Jerrie spots a soldier far above them on the lip of the crater. Fred takes aim with his little peashooter and POW. He hits the soldier. In fact, he hit the soldier in the mouth! The guy covers his mouth and we see blood pouring out between his fingers. Then the guy falls over and plunges to the crater bottom. Well, a dummy dressed in his clothes plunges to the crater bottom.
Fred now exchanges shots with the first two soldiers that spotted them, killing one. As he and his two companions race on, the volcano erupts in a flurry of stock footage. A big wave of lava takes out the other soldier that was pursuing them. More stock footage follows, including that same old shot of the earth splitting in two, taken from One Million B.C. The three of them are forced to struggle momentarily with the ground sinking beneath them, but have soon climbed up high enough to escape the crater.
At the top, they spy the beach on the other side. Note that despite the significant amount of seismic activity, the waves are as peaceful and tranquil as those found in your average water park. Fred sees the rowboat and says that they have it made now. Jerrie warns them to not start counting their fortune cookies before they’re baked. HUH?!! She says she isn’t too thrilled about having to row three hundred miles back to the mainland. Well, isn’t that what Sammy is for? Ha!
Fred tells her that as soon as the planes report the volcanic eruption, they will have the whole fleet for company. Um…why? Is it standard practice for the Navy to investigate volcano activity? Why would the “whole fleet” be involved? Fred sure is making some wild assumptions. He and Jerrie embrace. Sammy, ever the more pragmatic one, says that he is going down to the boat and begins climbing down. Fred and Jerrie continue to hold each other until Sammy calls for them to get moving. Really, how stupid can you be? The whole island could go up in one big pyroclastic cloud at any moment and these two are cuddling! MOVE!
They finally get their butts into motion and the last shot we see is of the three of them pushing the rowboat out to sea.
was truly prepared for some awful crappiness the very first time I saw
this film. You see, as a huge fan of 50’s genre films, I had seen
almost everything that graced the silver screen in that decade and called
itself science fiction or horror. Alas, there were still a few that
had escaped me over the years and this film was one of them. As I have
located and watched many of the movies that eluded me in days past,
I discovered that most of these films were rather crappy. In some cases,
super duper crappy. Eventually, I reached a point where I expected crap
when finally getting a chance to view one of these films. So the day
I popped She Demons into the DVD player, I was not expecting
much. In the end, I didn’t get very much, but at least I was entertained
by the sheer absurdity of it all.
The real stand out is Jerrie Turner. When we first meet her, she is a spoiled rich girl who thinks everyone should be bending over backwards to please her. By films end, we are meant to believe that the hardships of the island have had a positive affect on her and that she is a new person. I’m calling bullshit on that one. First, a lifetime of snobbery can’t be undone in a couple of days. Second, the time they spent on the island wasn’t that trying. At least, for Jerrie is wasn’t that hard to endure. Sure, she went a night and a day with no food, but soon enough Osler was trying to wine and dine her, even providing her with spiffy clothes to wear. Compared to Fred and Sammy, who were brutally beaten, or even Kris, who was horribly murdered, Jerrie’s time on the island was like a stay at Club Med. I just don’t see her changing much. Maybe a little at first, but get her back home to her privileged lifestyle and I’m sure she’d revert to being an uber pain in the ass. Watching her whine and complain through most of the movie really stirred within me a desire to see her engulfed by lava at film’s end.
Compared to Jerrie, Fred is rather dull. In fact, compared to Al Gore, Fred is rather dull. The first question that probably pops into the mind of anyone watching this movie is something like: what does he see in Jerrie? The woman is a colossal pain in the ass. What sane male would put up with her attitude? Well, I’m guessing that there are two attributes about Jerrie that prevents him from dumping her in favor of someone else: her looks and her bank account. I’m sure that there are plenty of shallow guys out there that would think those to be the makings of their perfect woman. Me, I want a lady to have more than one pair of synapses firing in her gray matter. Anyway, Fred doesn’t exactly strike the most heroic figure and never really comes across as the capable protector he is meant to be. He spends most of the film reacting to things that are happening around him rather than taking action and as a result, he comes off as someone who is in way over his head…like a well-meaning Boy Scout told to guide a hundred blind people across Times Square at the height of rush hour.
Now we come to Sammy. In a word: ugh. Sammy is a stellar example of an early version of a character archetype that would flourish in subsequent decades: the odious comic relief. Sammy’s sole purpose it seems is to offer up a plethora of lame, unfunny and dull remarks at everything that happens in the film. The sound of drums heard in the distance? Asinine remark. Spying a troupe of horrible dancing girls? Time for a stupid joke. Nazi’s running around in subterranean labs? A series of bad quips. Unlike such characters in films of later years, Sammy’s comedic purposes do not automatically guarantee him an early demise…or any kind of demise in the grand scheme of things. I was shocked and amazed to see Sammy survive through to the end. Not just because of his status as odious comic relief, but also because he is an ethnic minority. Minorities were rarely (if ever) portrayed as competent in horror films from this era and more often than not they came to bad ends rather quickly. I think I would have liked Sammy a lot more if he had not been such a joker. That way he would have come across as more capable that Fred (after all, it was Sammy who saved the radio from the sinking boat and who was college educated) and more worthy of being the de facto leader.
Finally we come to the Germans, who all seem to suffer from a raging case of being stereotyped. The exception may be Mona Osler, but only because she is portrayed as an accidental victim of Nazi science and thus we are supposed to feel pity for her. Taking into account the fact that she was a key component and player in scientific work that led to the horrible deaths of an untold number of people, and one can see why she really engenders very little, if any, sympathy for her plight. In fact, some may call her fate some twisted sense of poetic justice. Her husband Karl on the other hand, along with every other German male on the island is portrayed as cruel, taunting and utterly compassionless. I’d venture to say that making them Nazi’s was secondary, a move made to ensure that the audience would understand that these folks were evil. A few generic scientists and soldiers would not have conveyed the same sense of danger and unease as a few former members of the Gestapo parading around in their uniforms. The end result wasn’t a feeling of dread, though. It was more like inconvenience. The Nazi’s in this film were more like a gang of bothersome punks rather than a cold-hearted bunch whom believe in racial purity.
The budget for this entire film looks like it was barely into the five figure range (actually it was 80k, but director Cunha says only 65k was used), so there wasn’t money for anything fancy. Hell, there doesn’t appear to have been funds for anything somewhat fancy. What we have are some make-up FX that look to have been achieved with marginal amounts of silly putty and a few plastic Dracula fangs bought at the local drugstore. As for visual FX, the producers relied on a tried and true method: stock footage. Who knows how many vaults were raided in order to procure the stock shots needed to bring to life such things as a hurricane, a squadron of jets, the inner workings of a volcano, exploding bombs dropped by the aforementioned jets or the results when the volcano blows its stack. No doubt his time working on newsreels during WWII served Cunha well in that department.
As for the music, there isn’t anything here that will stick in one’s mind after the film is over. The opening theme does have a certain “tropical” vibe to it, in a big band kind of way. In fact it reminds me of the theme from Monster From Green Hell, which I jokingly referred to as “Tarzan Takes Broadway” in that review. Similar music is hauled out when the castaways are spying on the group of native girls engaged in their horribly choreographed dance. Since all we see are a pair of gals banging on some crude drums, one has to wonder where all the horns and added percussion were coming from. Was there a sixty-four piece orchestra just off screen, behind some jungle trees? To sum it up succinctly: the music, like the FX, was nothing special.
When viewing a low cost (cheap) genre film from the 50’s there is a part of me that wonders if the producers were either blind to many of the apparent problems or unable to do anything about them due to budget and time constraints. When taking into account a movie like She Demons, a third option presents itself: they just didn’t give a shit. This film is an excellent example of how the word continuity just didn’t exist in some filmmakers’ vocabularies. I lost count of how many times people and objects changed position from shot to shot. If it were not for the staggering amount of times this happens throughout the film, I almost made the drinking game based on spotting these lapses. Alas, if I had gone that route, I probably would have been blamed for numerous instances of alcohol poisoning. Again, I don’t know what the root cause of this may be, only that it imparts a certain feeling of inadequacy, making the film seem worse that perhaps it should be.
Though low budgets don’t always translate into a crappy film and can often be overcome by skilled and/or passionate people, whenever a film utilizes too much stock footage, it cannot seem to escape the specter of being lumped into such a category. While plenty of science fiction and horror films from the 50’s relied on stock shots (even some of the “big” budget flicks), an over abundance of stock footage in lieu of original FX work only makes a movie seem less special. This is certainly a factor that plagues this movie. Stock footage is hauled out to help convey anything that might have cost money. All of it just re-enforces the fact that the movie was a cheap affair and ends up being more of a distraction than actually adding anything to the movie.
late Cunha may never be accused of making good films, but certainly
his movies were fun, entertaining and showcased the B-Movie
charm that so many of us hold dear when it comes to films from the 50’s.
When watching She Demons or any of his other films, it may
be best to remember the words of the man himself: “There was X
number of dollars, and you don’t run over on those low-budget
films – you shoot the opening scenes and the end scenes, and then
you fill in the picture in between. And so if you run out of days, somehow
they’ll dissolve between what you missed and the next scene in
there.” Now how can you go wrong with a cinematic philosophy like
that? Cunha finishes: “Fortunately we didn’t miss anything,
or if we did, it wouldn’t have been missed. Believe
Comic Relief – Sammy, who always has a smart-ass or joking remark to make. The only problem is, Sammy is about as funny as a bunch of festering boils on the crack of your ass.
Jungle Hijinks – On several occasions we are treated to the sight of characters, be they castaways, Nazis or She Demons, stumbling, bumbling and stomping through the jungle.
Monsters – Technically, the She Demons can be considered monsters. However, they spend most of the movie caged up, so they are not very effective monsters in any case.
Science – Good old Colonel Osler spouts enough techno babble for ten Star Trek episodes and yammers on about a bunch of made-up gibberish.
Skin – The She Demons may have some fugly faces, but they still sport lithe, athletic figures. Being islanders, their fashions dictate that they prance around in rather skimpy outfits.
Stock Footage – Naturally, on a film produced on such finite resources (AKA cheap as hell), studio vaults were raided for stock footage. This we have in abundance.
Underground Hijinks – Osler and the rest of his Third Reich leftovers have constructed their base in the caves beneath a volcano. Here they torture guests by talking endlessly.
Violence – A stabbing, a lame fist fight, several whippings, people shot and engulfed in molten lava. All of these warrant this icon, though none of it is that horrifying to behold.
Alcoholic drinks consumed: 3
Fade outs used for scene transitions: 7
Times “Schnell!” was yelled: 6
Different outfits worn by Jerrie: 3
Times actors look directly in camera: 16
Crappy dance numbers: 1
Most She Demons seen at once: 4
Times viewer wishes to slap Jerrie: Too many to count
Min – Drums provided by Pottery Barn.
Shadow's Drinking Game: Every time Sammy makes a "funny" remark, take a drink. Trust me, you'll need it.
for larger image
Sammy uncovers a clue.
Comment: So Sammy went to Pirate school?
recalls his past work.
Film & Me
As anyone who is a regular reader may know, I grew up in the 70’s watching reruns of old horror and science fiction movies from the 50’s. Thus I have always loved films from that decade and made it a point to see all of them. In the early 80’s I got a book about movie monsters and by reading it, I learned of numerous films from the 50’s that I had never seen. She Demons was one of them. As the years went by I checked TV listings and later, video store shelves, in hopes of finding and seeing these films. I scratched numerous off my list, but several continued to elude me well into the twenty-first century. However, the DVD boom has helped me narrow that list down even further. On one of my DVD-buying binges, I saw this film and snatched it up. A few days later I gave it a look, expecting it to be a snooze-inducing yawnfest. Imagine my surprise when it held my interest all the way through. I figured that sooner or later I’d review it here at the Graveyard. Little did I know that halfway through my review, I’d lose nearly all interest in finishing it and it would take me over three months to complete it.
Shadow's rating: Three Tombstones