Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Monster Madness 2016: In B-Movies, Women Rule-Part 2

Note: As you can tell, this post isn't quite finished yet, but I'm posting it now before the clock hits 12:00 and May passes by. I'll fill in the gaps, and add in the images when I can tomorrow, plus finish something special to have at the end, too! What is that something special? Well you'll just have to wait and see. I promise it'll be worth it! This message will self-destruct by tomorrow afternoon...

Interlude 2

Satan's School for Girls

A woman is mysteriously killed, and while her sister Elizabeth believes it was murder, The police class it as suicide. In light of this, Elizabeth goes to the academy her sister attended, thinking there's something suspicious is going on. It soon turns out that she's right when various oddities occur, and students start dying. It's up to Elizabeth, and fellow student Roberta to uncover the sinister secret under the surface of Salem Academy...

An Aaron Spelling TV movie, Satan's School for Girl's is ok for the most part. It's got an ooky atmosphere, good direction, and the setting of the academy is quite fitting, though it's not used to its full potential, like say Suspiria did with its location. There aren't many effects on display here, but what there is is ok, particularly the spooky painting of Elizabeth's dead sister.

The acting is all serviceable, with Pamela Franklin making for a good lead, and Kate Jackson a good supporting protagonist. Cheryl Ladd is also here, as a more minor character. So that's two Angels in this movie!

The writing is decent, and the plot moves along nicely, until the climax. The ending is pretty annoying. It's anticlimactic, and a total downer! Elizabeth and Roberta confront Satan and his cult of six enthralled students, and then it turns out Roberta was mind controlled the whole time, which makes no sense! Then, instead of shooting Satan (who she thinks is just a crazy guy), or even trying to fight him, Elizabeth just ditches the girls there, including her new friend, and then sets the school on fire for literally no reason (with no opposition)! If she was gonna do that, then she could've just shot at Satan. Then she might've had a chance of saving everyone, particularly Roberta. But nope, they burn to death, and are probably going to suffer in hell for eternity. Jeez, the protagonist may have technically won, but this ending is friggin' depressing as hell!...No pun intended...

Hey, there is at least one amusingly little factoid to it though. It means that this Angel was once a satanist! Perhaps further credence to the theory that Charlie is an all-powerful eldritch creature with unfathomable abilities? I think so, and hey, it'd retroactively make this ending a lot more miserable!

Overall, Satan's School for Girls is a pretty decent horror flick, and fine for a TV movie, but it doesn't quite live up to its full potential in my opinion...

She Gods of Shark Reef

Two brothers, one a wanted fugitive, shipwreck on a tripical island, where a tribe of women live. Their queen is not happy at the presence of these two intruders,   and makes arrangements with the company she works for to   Things go awry, however, when thanks to the good brother's romance with young native woman, Mahia, superstition makes the tribe want to sacrifice her to appease their angry god, and improve the bad weather. Things get worse when the criminal brother decides to steal the village's valuable pearls...

At first, She Gods of Shark Reef is less a movie, and more an excuse to show off some exotic dancing and customs, to cash in on audience interests. Is this  good or a bad thing? Well that depends on the rest of the movie, I suppose. How does that fare, you ask? Eh, it's alright. It's not all that interesting, but isn't bad. Just a completely average way of killing an hour of time.

As some have pointed out, both this and Naked Paradise aka Thunder Over Hawaii (which Corman filmed side-by-side with She Gods) are among the more lush and pretty films that Corman has made, but the crappy old unremastered film stock doesn't do it any favours, making the movie look a bit ugly. What a shame, as I'm sure it would look much better with a higher-quality print.

The film is overall made competently enough, save for one moment when the camera goes up, and the boom mic doesn't do the same fast enough, resulting in an amusing flub.

The acting here is all pretty ok. Don Durant and Bill Cord, almost never wearing a shirt between them throughout the entire running time, are ok leads, though conflict between the two characters doesn't really start up again a little too late, so there's not a lot of meat for the two actors to dig into. Lisa Montell (later Janti) is just ok as the pretty subservient love interest. Onto another topic regarding this film's female cast-Are they actually Hawaiian? It's a bit hard to tell their ethnicity because of the film stock, but research was able to inform me that the two actresses playing Mahia, and the Queen are of Eastern European descent! Pretty far off base, I would imagine! I think the rest of the extras were actually Hawaiian though, thankfully. It's hard to tell thanks to the low film quality.

She Gods of Shark Reef in an entirely unremarkable film. I don't really recommend it unless it ever gets a spiffed-up re-release, and even then, it's not an urgent watch. You could always just go watch some Magnum P.I. instead...

She Demons

Sailing to an uncharted island on an expedition are Fred, Sammy, and Jerrie, the spoiled daughter of the man financing the trip, which is to investigate purported strange goings-on at this island. They get shipwrecked along the way by a tornado, but happen to make it to the island they're looking for, where they discover sinister forces at work. Nazis have taken up residence on this island, and are using it as grounds for experimentation, using the native tribal women as test subjects, all with the goal of curing the evil Col. Ostler's disfigured wife. The process leaves the women as terrifying monsters, but on an island full of nazis, the she demons might not be the most dangerous obstacle our heroes have to face...

She Demons is definitely one of the better movies I've looked at across this project! The movie actually seems a little self-aware at first, and has some humour to it, but unfortunately, She Demons doesn't really go far enough, and ends up being a pretty by-the-numbers B-Movie like so many others. It's ultimately nothing special, but despite a few hiccups here and there, it's not a bad movie.

The story is ok. The science is pretty bad, the effects are often hilarious for the wrong reasons, and the climax overly convenient in more ways than one, but it's a serviceable tale, and a fun enough way to spend your night.

Some plot points here are pretty interesting, but unfortunately, the tribal women are completely underused, and play very little part in this movie, even the ones transformed into monsters.

The acting in She Demons is good    Rudolph Anders is great as the villain! From what I've read, this guy was always relegated to playing secondary villains, as studios felt his facial features weren't main villainy enough. I've no idea what the he hell they were thinking though, because Anders has a ball in this movie, and is easily the strongest part of it.

The effects in this movie range from pretty good, to laughable, from the look of the titular she demons, or the caves obviously made from crumbled construction paper. The end reveal of what the sinister Col. Ostler's wife looks like under the bandages looks pretty neat, too.

I recommend She Demons. It's both good for a laugh, and decent as a movie overall...

She-Devil Island


She Freak

Fire Maidens of Outer Space


Wow. THIS is a REALLY bad movie! Made up largely of people talking about nothing, walking around, talking about nothing, and walking around, ad infinitum, it takes half an hour before the characters even get to Jupiter's moon, and when they do, things don't improve. What little plot is muddled and confused, with many things and characters going almost completely unexplained. Prossas, for example, is someone we never know is good or bad, and spends the majority of his screentime drugged, before waking up..only to be instantly killed.

As you can tell from the screenshots, I watched this via MST3K, and they were of great assistance throughout the movie. Not enough to cloud how bad the film really is though. Oh no, it's interminable as hell even with Joel and the Bots helping. So to finish, this is one movie you can feel free to avoid, unless you're keen on Mystery Science Theatre 3000...

Queen of Outer Space

Queen of the Amazons

Jean Preston is in Africa in search of her missing fiancee, Gary Jones. Aided by a few friends, and a guide, Gary Lambert, Jean travels the deadly plains of the continent, facing adversity from both nature, and unseen enemies, until she comes across the Amazon village where she suspects Gary to be...

This movie doesn't exactly get off to a good start. The main characters do NOT endear them to us at first! The guy Jean's looking for is an ivory hunter! And then there's when she asks a local, Tondra, about information regarding the missing safari, and is told the woman's husband has some information. Tondra is against the idea, warning that it could be dangerous, but Jean gives her some money, so the woman brings her husband over to the hotel to tell his story...and he's immediately murdered! That's pretty irritating, BUT the first point I mentioned is actually bettered as the film goes on, and we realize that Greg is actually working for the government to put a stop to an ivory smuggling operation.

Despite those first couple of annoyances, Queen of the Amazons is a fun little adventure flick, despite it being a teensy bit problematic by virtue of it being about Amazons in Africa, who did exist (labelled as Amazons by those in the West, of course), but casting (mostly) white actresses to play them. To be fair to this movie, it does bother to explain where the hell this white tribe came from, and it's not too bad or implausible an explanation. Also, at least there are plenty of black actors in the movie (though not as main characters). Pretty much everyone who isn't white is played by a non-white actor or actress, including Zita the Amazon queen, who's played by Amira Moustafa.

The plot to this movie is pretty simple, but it has all the ingredients of a fun pulp fiction romp through the jungle, with an added dash of murder-mystery to boot! The romance is well-handled too, though it falters in the mid-section. First of all, from the moment it's said that Gary dislikes women, you just know there's going to be a romance blossoming between him and Jean. They even address the chemistry, discussing both it, and her relationship with Greg. She basically says that she's in love with Greg, but that's no reason why she and Gary can't be friends. It's a good line, and simply showing men and women being friends rather than romantic partners is sorely lacked by many media. Unfortunately, the movie is NOT content with that, and decides to push their romance anyway, resulting in some awkward scenes. Thankfully though, once we find out what's become of Greg, the love story hits an upswing, and is better written from then on out.

Now let's discuss the Amazons...They don't appear until the last fifteen minutes! Still though, despite that issue, the Amazon stuff is pretty decent. Just badly underutilized. This is especially more egregious given moments like the lion hunt scene, which is superfluous padding, something I would've though unnecessary in a movie that's only an hour long! Especially considering that the Amazons haven't even showed up at that point! Funnily enough, when the Amazons do finally show up, and the two women talk, Zita guesses the romance between Jean and Gary with remarkable accuracy in no time at all! "You seem to know an awful lot", they say. Well she has to. It's in the script, and there's only 9 minutes left. Also, Queen of the Amazons is quite a fitting title, as we barely see any other amazon women besides her!

Given the status of Greg, the climax almost reeks of pointless-"We need to find this man. We trek through dangerous jungles and uncharted plains, all to...oh, he's alright, and doesn't want to leave. Ok, guess we'll be on our way then, g'bye.". It's not entirely anticlimactic though, as there's still the murderer/ivory smuggling plotlines to wrap up and wrap up they do in a pretty decent climax. Speaking of, I must say, I did NOT see that twist reveal coming!

The lead female character of Jean is pretty proactive, but the scene where Gary is attacked by a lion is a bit disappointing though, as she just freezes up and cries rather than use her sharpshooting skills, and the men solve the problem. I guess it could at least be explained why she didn't shoot, as she might hit Gary, but the scene still rubs me the wrong way.

The acting here is all decent, and the stock footage use is either minimal, and/or well-integrated.

Queen of the Amazons is a fun, largely inoffensive movie, which is certainly more than what one could say about other films of the era...

Final Interlude

Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory

Now THAT'S a title! Now you may be thinking "Does Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory live up to it?". The answer is no, sadly.

The Wasp Woman

The Last Woman on Earth


  1. Once again... I do adore those vintage posters! And I see you have 'The Wasp Woman' coming up... Another stellar example of false advertising in poster art. ;D

    'Satan's School for Girls' is just the best name ever! I would watch it just for that, and intend to track it down now. How interesting that Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd were both in it. I read somewhere that they didn't get along on 'Charlie's Angels', and that Kate was against Cheryl joining the cast from the outset. I wonder if the antagonism started on 'Satan's School for Girls'?!!

  2. Exactly, haha. If not for the fact that I'd seen the trailer, I'd have been skeptical if she ever DID turn into ANY kind of waspy maiden, as that doesn't start until the last 15 minutes. Haha.

    Definitely! Also, as these are all public domain movies, they're super easy and cheap to find on DVD, and all on youtube, too.

    Yeah. Maybe Kate still held a grudge for Cheryl's betrayal in joining a satanic cult... ;) Seriously, that's interesting food for thought (what you said, I mean, not my goofy joke theory. :D). I wonder too.

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