The She Beast


Year 1966

Barbara Steele as   Veronica
John Karlsen as Count von Helsing
Ian Ogilvy as Philip  
Mel Welles as Ladislav Groper
Jay "Flash" Riley   as She Beast Bardella
Richard Watson as Comrade Police Lieutenant  
 
Director - Mike Reeves
Screenwriter - Michael Byron

The She Beast is an Italian movie. How can I tell? I mean there aren't any Italian names among the major stars. The director, who used an alias and is also the screenwriter, isn't Italian. How can I tell? There's a Mandatory Midget in an early scene. If it's an Italian movie, there MUST be a midget in it. It's like a law or union requirement or something.

Mike Reeves, a.k.a. Michael Reeves of Witchfinder General fame, directs and he's British. But the movie was filmed and made in Italy and it's obvious when you watch it.

The plot is an old one. A mob-executed witch from an earlier century decides to take over someone from today and someone else must prevent it. The plot is really this sad. The witch Bardella, the She Beast in the title, was drowned and now she wants to come back to life using the body of Veronica (Steele).

It's all pretty hokey and would be Under A Rock except for a few things. Bardella, due to usually being seen in dim light, is pretty hideous in an unusual way. The acting is uintentionally campy, and that's the most entertaining kind of camp. The movie's actually pretty funny. Except for the She Beast's looks, it's not what I'd call a scary movie. It's short and, at under eighty minutes, it's over before it becomes tiresome.

The main characters of Veronica and Philip are sarcastically entertainting when they're together but Veronica is only in about fifteen minutes of the movie. Still, there's a near nude scene of Steele and she's flat beautiful.

It's the characters of the aptly named Groper (Welles), the nearly inebriated Count von Helsing (Karlsen), and the communist Police Lieutenant (Watson) that keep this lively. Lots of jokes are at the expense of communism. The location of events is Transylvania, which is part of Romania. Romania was flexing its independence from Russia around 1966, so the jokes are about Romania not being communist but really being communist.

I'll try to give examples of the humor, but the words may not be verbatim.


Policeman on bicycle talking about the government:
It's a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Veronica: And they're going to deliver the new roof tonight?
Groper: Maybe tonight. Maybe in two years. The government decides who needs the roof most.

Philip: Are you the manager?
Groper: This belongs to the government and they told me that I am the owner.
Police Lieutenant: Is he talking?
Police Officer: He's dead.
Police Lieutenant: That's obstruction of justice.

Philip: Are we going to the police?
von Helsing obviously lying: Oh, yes. Of course.

Philip wanting to go to the police and everyone assuring him that they will, "...later," is a running gag for the middle third of the movie. As icing to the cake, there's a Max Senet inspired chase scene near the end of the movie.

If you think of this as a monster comedy, it can be entertaining if you can handle the dark and washed out digital transfer. It's a public domain movie, so you can watch it any time at https://archive.org/details/PhantasmagoriaTheater-TheSheBeast1966215-2.

There's near nudity and a failed rape, but no profanity. I think there's some blasphemy. Chick flick potential is below average. If you're in the mood for camp, it's entertaining enough.


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