The Astounding She-Monster

Year Of Release: 1958
Running Time: 62 Minutes
DVD Released By: Image Entertainment
Directed By: Ronald V. Ashcroft
Writing Credits: Frank Hall, Ronald V. Ashcroft (uncredited)
Filming Location: Frazier Park, California / Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California

Starring: Robert Clarke, Kenne Duncan, Shirley Kilpatrick, Marilyn Harvey, Jeanne Tatum, Loraine Ashcroft, Ewing Brown, Scott Douglas

Tagline: A creature from beyond the stars. EVIL... BEAUTIFUL... DEADLY...!

Alternate Titles:
Astounding She Monster, The (1957)
Mysterious Invader (1957) (UK)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
During filming, Shirley Kilpatrick's costume ripped, and since the film was done on a low budget and on a tight schedule she couldn't get a new one - this is why she walks backwards as she leaves a room.  Shirley only ever appeared in this one film.  Robert Clarke began his film career in 1944 with his role as Perc Saunders in The Falcon In Hollywood.  Throughout his career, he appeared in eighty-eight films including such notable B-Classics as The Man From Planet X, From The Earth To The Moon, and The Hideous Sun Demon, which he also wrote and directed.

 

 

Rogue Reviewers Round Table Review: December 2003
Review Topic: "Caped Critics vs. The Superheroes"




Cast Of Characters
The She-Monster: Ok seriously now, doesn't this chick look like a young, thin version of Divine?  Look at the face and look at the eyebrows and tell me that doesn't look like Divine.  If you don't know who Divine is, then you've obviously never seen a John Waters film.  Anyway, this is the dreaded she-monster.  It's probably not a good idea to let her touch you because she gives off more radiation than a fifty thousand watt microwave oven.

Dick Cutler: "Hi, my name's Dick Cutler.  You may recognize me from my earlier role as Beaver Cleaver in tv's hit family comedy, Leave it to Beaver.  Things kinda fell apart for me after that show ended, so I had to take roles in crappy movies like this one.  Won't somebody please shoot me???"

This is Dick.  He's a geologist who works in the mountains studying rocks and minerals and what not.  Obviously he doesn't have a woman or anything, because if he did he wouldn't be hangin' out by himself in a cabin in the mountains.  Lucky for him, the big bad kidnappers brought him a girl to hook up with.  And hey, she's rich too!

Please Note: This is not actually Jerry Mathers who played The Beaver.  I just thought he looked like a grown up version of The Beaver.  Seriously now though, don't he?

Nat Burdell: Whoa what a snappy dresser this guy is.  This is Nat.  Nat's one of the kidnappers who snatched Margaret out of her car and took her off into the mountains for god knows whatever reason.  If he wasn't such a boring character, I'd probably have more to say about him.

Margaret Chaffee: In this screenshot, doesn't it seem like this chick should have a moustache?  I don't know why, but when I look at this shot of her, that's all I can think about.  It would just look so right if she had a moustache.  Anyway, Margaret is the socialite chick that got herself kidnapped by Nat, Esther and Brad.  She's not as bad looking as you'd think she'd be by looking at her in this picture, and she's not one of those chicks that's just constantly in the way either.  She's actually pretty smart.  Then again, she accepted a part in this crappy turd of a movie, so really, how smart can she be?

Esther Malone: She's kinda Nat's squeeze I guess and a total lush to boot.  This chick is a major serious booze hound to the point where it almost allows Dick and Margaret to get the upper hand on her.  Basically she's just a middle aged lady with booze on her breath that tries to act all tough when she's not boozin' it up.

Brad Conley: This is Nat's partner Brad.  He's also the guy who was driving the getaway car when he spotted the she-monster and ran it off the road, stranding them there in the mountains and causing them to all be killed.  I know he doesn't look very intelligent, but he really isn't.




Screen Shots

"Hey, you know it's been a while since we had anyone in the back seat.  Ya remember that Brad?  We had that kid Marvin in the back seat and I was turned around talkin' to him when you hit that speed bump and my gun went off?  Man what a mess that was.  I don't think we ever did get all of that kid's brains out of the back seat.  So if you feel like you're sittin' on somethin' squishy..."

Twiddle her knobs someone, she's out of focus.

Whoa, must be that time of the month.  Man, space cramps are a bitch aren't they?  No wonder she was walkin' around killing everybody, she had PMS.




Best Quote

Nat: "Now don't go shootin' at shadows out there or you'll have those fire wardens down here."
Brad: "Well what if this thing attacks me?"
Nat: "Spit in it's eye."



- Brad saw the she-monster outside and is about to go out to investigate. - (Reviewer's Note: Yeah that's good advice there buddy.  You go out and spit in it's eye and I'll just stay right in here with the chicks and the booze.  Oh, and here's a second reviewer's note: While he was outside looking for the she-monster, his hat fell off and he didn't even stop to pick it up.  Not that it matters though since he got killed by the she-monster about a minute or so after he dropped it.)




Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

The Astounding She-Monster
Dick cooks up a plan to destroy the she-monster. Notice how he mixes acid with no gloves on? Also notice how Margaret helps things along by asking brilliant questions.  Like, "How's it going so far?" when all he's done is to pour two acids each from one bottle into another. Hey that's helpful.  Way to go Margaret!  Too bad you couldn't driain off some of the chemicals you used on that funky "blond" hair of yours.  Those would be enough to kill any monster!



Summary and Conclusion
Well I just finished watching this film and now it's over.  Believe me, that's a good thing.  Why is that a good thing?  Because this movie was just completely and utterly boring as hell.  This was by far the stupidest movie of this type that I've seen in a very long time.  I mean, look at the screenshots I got.  There's only three of them and I had to struggle to get those.  Why did I have to struggle to get those you may ask?  Because about eighty-five percent of this movie involved scenes of this inane group of boring idiots all standing around together basically doing nothing all that exciting.

There's so many stupid things in this movie, I don't even know where to begin.  Basically, the whole gist of this movie was supposed to be that this chick from a planet called Antares comes to Earth to destroy it because the people of Antares believed that if they didn't destroy the Earth, that the Earth would eventually destroy the universe.  Ok fine, but here's what's stupid about that.  At the end of the film, they found out that the she-monster wasn't there to destroy the Earth at all.  She was there to bring a message from the council of planets inviting the Earth to join them in their galactic society of planets.  So basically...huh?  Another stupid thing is that they discovered this note in a medallion she was wearing after they killed her.  The note was written in English.  Dick theorized that they must have picked up our short wave signals and analyzed our language.  Yeah well fine, but isn't short wave just audio?  I mean, I could see them learning to speak English I guess by listening to it constantly, but how the hell would you learn to write it by listening to it?  There's this whole secondary plot going on about these thugs that kidnapped this society girl and blah blah blah.  I'm getting bored just writing about it.  Then there's the part where Brad is out chasing after the she-monster.  He drops his hat and doesn't even bother to pick it up.  He just keeps on going.  Not that it matters since he was dead a minute later, but still...  Then there's the part at the end when Margaret's all, "Isn't radium in a solid form a metal?"  Now where the hell did she pull that out of all of a sudden?  After that little exchange Dick starts mixing acids together to make a beaker grenade to throw at the she-monster.  So he starts dumping acids together in different beakers, but he doesn't even wear any gloves or anything while he does it.  Now I don't know if you've ever tried to pour anything from one container to another, but invariably it spills at least a little and you get it on your hands.  Oh and then there's the scene where he actually throws it at her.  He tosses it and then she acts like it hit her in the stomach when in fact you don't see anything at all hit her.  My god, the stupidity is just endless.  Stupidity in a film like this can either be fun or it can just make the movie even more painful to watch.  In this case, it kinda blends the two together.  Some parts are kinda semi-fun and some parts are just painful.

So let's talk about the characters a bit.  I guess I'll start with the she-monster.  All she did was walk around lookin' blurry and killing people.  And as if that's not bad enough, I was starting to think this was a John Waters flick, because the "she-monster" looks more like a "shemale-monster".  No kidding.  She looks like a young version of Divine, right down to the overly bizarre eyebrows.  The she-monster was played by Shirley Kilpatrick, who somehow miraculously managed to stay awake during the shooting of this film, which is more than I can say for most of the poor sods who ended up watching it.  Having trouble sleeping?  Well you can throw away those sleeping pills.  Pop this movie in the ol' DVD player for five minutes and it'll take a Sherman tank driving through your living room to wake you up.

As boring as this movie was, I can't fault the actors.  The actors in this film all did a good job with what little they had to work with, but even the most fragrant of perfume can't turn a turd into a rose.  It wasn't the actor's fault this movie was boring.  The real person to blame for this fiasco is the director, Ronald V. Ashcroft.  A good director could have made this movie work despite it's many flaws and it's overabundance of stupid dialogue.  Unfortunately, Ronald Ashcroft, at least in this case, dropped the ball big time.  In Ronald's defense, I do have to mention that his mentor was Edward D. Wood Jr., and this was his first film.  Still, Ed Wood helped him out at least a little with this picture, so you'd think it would have turned out even just a little bit better than this.  Despite Ed Wood's reputation for making schlock films, his films are almost always entertaining.  Unfortunately, the most entertaining thing in this movie is when the words, "The End" faded into view at the end of it.  No wait a minute now, I have to take that back because there was one thing in this movie that was entertaining.

The only real entertaining thing in this film came from the one person who wasn't in the movie at all.  The narrator, Scott Douglas, narrated through about the first five minutes of this film, and it was very reminiscent of the narrations done in the films of Ed Wood.  He spoke with a voice that was almost hypnotic in it's dullness, but the coolness of it made him quite fun to listen to.  His narration and the quality of the rest of the actors in this film are the only reason I gave it one and a half bees.  If not for them, this movie would have gotten a bat...big time.

Don't be misled by the exciting looking cover of this DVD or the interesting sounding description on the back of the box.  This movie is only mildly interesting at its best and completely boring at its worst.  I won't lie to you though.  There are a few amusing things in this film that will make you smile or laugh, but there's just not enough of them to make it worth watching.

B-Movie Central's Rating: 1½ Bees

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