The Astounding She-Monster

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The Astounding She-Monster

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:26 pm

The early sections of this film or the first act remind of Ed Wood's films (I read somewhere that Wood was rumored to be involved). There's narration about cosmic suicide and that another planetary civilization of Antares decides that Earth must be wiped out before we wipe out the rest of the universe - it's nonsensical. The narration is also poorly worded and poorly delivered; the narrator sounds like he's reclining on a couch, sotted with wine. There is an interesting technique used for such a low budget film - the scenes of the alien female (Shirley Kilpatrick) usually fluctuate and warp, as if she's giving off waves of energy.

In the plot, the strategy of this more advanced civilization appears to be the sending of a female-shaped monster to the backwoods to terrorize a few animals and people who happen to be there. A couple of crooks kidnap an heiress and take her to a cabin in the woods where resides a geologist (Robert Clarke). I was quite bored by this up to this point but then something happens at around the 20-minute mark. The head crook (who looks like a slim Broderick Crawford, played by Keene Duncan) gets into this debate with the hero (Clarke). The crook obviously despises rich folk (hence the kidnapping) and also favors distribution of wealth, to the disgust of the hero.
The set-up is clear: the crooks represent the Marxists or the communists, though these days they would be liberals. The hero is the standard capitalist and the conservative. And the invading she-monster alien? Well, her touch kills - she dispenses radium poisoning to whomever she comes in contact with. Perhaps she represents military might or simply atomic weaponry, which kills regardless of political affiliation - though two guesses as to who manages to avoid her touch by the conclusion. There's some minor tension generated since the female alien is invulnerable to bullets and appears to get more motivated to touch others as the film progresses. There's an out-of-left field revelation at the end which also makes no sense. Directed by Ronnie Ashcroft. BoG's Score: 3 out of 10

Astounding Trivia: one of the lowest-budgeted films ever, even by the standards of low budget films in the fifties; in The American International Pictures Video Guide write-up, the figure mentioned is $18,000. Ashcroft drew inspiration from Roger Corman's The Day the World Ended, in terms of a small scope. Also, very short, at 62m. Ashcroft, also the producer, was on his last dollar by the time he finished this, but he managed to sell it to Sam Arkoff for $60,000 because Arkoff thought it cost $40,000 to make.
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