Sunday, October 28, 2007

31 Days of Halloween - Day 28 - Movie 1

The last time I wtached "The She-Creature" (1956) I found it to be somewhat slow and a bit dull. What compelled me to watch it again after such an initial assessment, I couldn't tell you. I'm glad I did though as my reaction was a lot different this time. While I wouldn't make any suggestion that this movie even approaches being a masterpiece, it's a very watchable and somewhat entertaining movie. The plot combines hypnotism, past life regression, reincarnation, spiritualism, psychology and wonky evolutionary theory. Dr. Lombardi (Chester Morris), a sideshow hypnotist, has made a name for himself by putting his assistant Andrea (Marla English) into a trance state and regressing her to a past life as an English woman. He also predicts horrible murders supposedly committed by some prehistoric creature, a primordial sea ancestor of human beings, and allegedly Andrea's first life. The police and a rival psychologist (Tom Conway) don't believe Lombardi's claims, though they believe he's behind the murders anyway. Eventually, the She-Creature rears her head for even the skeptics to see, with one last murder to perform.

The real treat of this movie is Paul Blaisdell's She-Creature. Blaisdell created some of the most iconic, and imaginative, movie monsters of all time on a shoe-string budget. Their effectiveness on the screen, like any monster, depended on lighting, composition, and the length of time they appeared in any shot. Often, the film makers didn't take this into consideration, and the results became more comedic than terrifying such as with the monster in "It Conquered the World." Here though, the She-Creature looks pretty impressive except for one brief shot where you can see styrofoam block lifts, on the monsters feet, worn by Blaisdell to give him more height. Blaisdell also created the aliens in "Invasion of the Saucer Men," the mutant in "The Day the World Ended" the oversized props for "The Amazing Colossal Man" and "The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes."


Stephen said...

John, I've enjoyed all of your film reviews, even if I haven't commented on them. This is going to give me good fodder for the video store since I haven't seen most of them you've reviewed. I realize this has all been a lot of work for you, and I for one appreciate it. I hope you can continue it next year.

Rozum said...

Thank you, Stephen. It has indeed been a lot of work, and every now and then I think I must be nuts trying to do this, but it's also been fun, and the rest of the daily Halloween countdown circle have inspired me to keep going. I plan to do it again next year, but recognize I'll have to approach it differently, either by scaling back, or trying to get as many of the posts ready in advance as possible.

No matter what I will do the daily movies again. It's a tradition I've had since even before the internet, just without my commentary.