Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring John Karlsen, Lucretia Love, Ian Ogilvy, Jay Riley, Barbara Steele
Directed by Michael Reeves
Distributed by Dark Sky Films
1965’s The She-Beast is a bizarre little film that is extremely close to my heart. Fun, sleazy, and riddled with some lighthearted scares, it’s hard not to find something to like about it. But … I have found something to dislike about Dark Sky Film’s DVD: the inclusion of producer Paul Maslansky on the film commentary. But I’ll get to that in a minute. I’ll let my rage boil a bit before I start pouring it out. Let’s start with the story …
Way back in 18th Century Transylvania a small town is being terrorized by a witch with what looks like silly-putty glued to her face (you just gotta love the F/X). Eventually our meanie kills a child and is then captured by the townsfolk and sentenced to the dunking chair. Before she gurgles her last breath, however, she manages to curse the townsfolk and their descendants. Two hundred years later(!) a newly wed couple (Steele and Ogilvy) unwittingly pass through the cursed town while touring the Carpathians and meet with a supernatural incident involving their car and a lake. The old hag is at it again, and this time she’s possessed the body of Barbara Steele (who wouldn’t want to do that?). With nowhere left to turn our hubby implores the great grandson of Professor Van Helsing to set things straight.
In a nutshell, there you have it. It’s nothing new and certainly nothing you haven’t already seen eighty-five times since you first discovered your love for horror movies, but The She-Beast has tons of charm going for it. At just seventy-nine minutes long, about ten of which are dedicated to a completely ludicrous and borderline slapstick car chase, you’ll find yourself reveling in this delightfully stinky slice of Sixties cheese. That is, until the commentary. I don’t remember the last time one has left such a sour taste on my tongue. Let me get this out of the way immediately before my head explodes into a fountain of gray matter, spurting gore, and lightning fast viscera ….
Attention producer Paul Maslansky — Fuck you.
Toward the end of what was otherwise a really good commentary track with Maslansky and stars Barbara Steele and Ian Ogilvy, Paul decides to get all holier than thou by telling us all about how horror movies are not for “serious people” and fans of the genre are nothing more than “grown-up children” with “lower standards” and no “critical faculties”. Excuse me? Who do you think is going to be buying this DVD? You didn’t seem to frown upon us while you were collecting the cash made from the other horror films you were involved in. Thanks for smacking your core audience in the face, you smarmy prick. Obviously all those Police Academy sequels you produced were for you and your intellectual peers! In short … on behalf of horror fans everywhere, once more with feeling — Fuck you.
Do yourselves a favor, fans. Don’t even listen. Don’t give that guy the satisfaction. Just watch the movie and dig on the still gallery. You’ve been warned.
The She-Beast is a must own for fans of Sixties schlock. In the end it was even more fun than I had remembered. Not good, mind you. Hell, not even mediocre. Just fun.
3 1/2 out of 5
2 out of 5
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