Move over, Eddie Wood fans -- here's another so-bad-it's good cult favorite from cheese director extraordinaire, Richard E. Cunha! SHE DEMONS ranks second most enjoyable of his four 50s horror/sci-fi forays, eclipsed only by his marvelous masterpiece, FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER.
Two guys and a gal (Tod Griffin, Victor Sen Yung and Irish McCalla) are shipwrecked on an uncharted island. One's a typical macho-type hero, the other is his oriental and comical sidekick, and the dame is a spoiled rotten bitch badly in need of a good slap or two. Just off the shoreline they discover the fallen body of what appears to be a beautiful woman; but upon closer inspection its face is revealed to be a fanged and mangled mess.
Hearing distant drumbeats, the wandering trio follows the sounds and wind up in what at first appears to be a jungle paradise. There, a dozen or so scantily clad females with well-proportioned figures and pretty faces to match are performing a wonderful exotic dance. But as soon as the show is over, a team of German officers in full Nazi regalia drive these "prisoners" back into their cages. Once head moron Gene Roth shows up with his bad accent, you can't help but expect Moe, Larry, and Joe Besser to blunder onto the cardboard set and trade eye pokes.
Elsewhere, a dopey Nazi war criminal named Karl (Rudolph Anders) is facing the classic mad scientist dilemma of coping with a wife whose face has been hideously burned and is hidden behind bandages. Hoping to restore her beauty, he is using the lovely dancing girls outside as guinea pigs in his lab experiments. The victims turn out to be the She Demons of the title, sprouting fangs and very bad skin while retaining their stunning bodies in the bargain.
When the island gets bombed by war planes and destroys the bad guy, our three heroes make a dash for it with the aid of Karl's wife, who opts to commit suicide by remaining behind to perish with her husband. Her last moment where she removes her bandages to reveal her deformity is the highlight of the picture.
As stated earlier, while SHE DEMONS is no competition for FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER, it's at least more entertaining than Cunha's GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN (its co-feature on the double bill) and his MISSILE TO THE MOON. This DVD from the Wade Williams collection is not its finest hour, however. The print suffers from minor damage here and there, which includes scratches and speckles on occasion. This problem is not constant, but it draws more attention to itself because it tends to come and go between many segments that look perfectly fine. Indeed, behind those fleeting imperfections lurks a very detailed picture waiting to be completely uninterrupted. Despite these quibbles, the movie is still able to be fully appreciated.
The mono sound is adequate, and a trailer is graciously included for the film. The cover jacket opens to present detailed liner notes from the essential Tom Weaver. In addition to production tidbits Tom has provided interesting memories from cast and crew members. (Joe Lozowsky)
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