The Astounding She Monster/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Like all the best sci-fi movies from the 1950s The Astounding She Monster opens with a Criswell style narration which informs us that mankind’s meddling with nuclear energies has delivered us to the brink of “cosmic suicide”. We are duly warned that intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, or the planet Anteris in the Scorpio constellation to be exact, may have a thing or two to say about our threat to galactic peace and quiet.
“Young, beautiful and very rich” socialite Margaret is kidnapped by 3 hoods. Swerving to miss an Astounding She Monster on a remote country road they crash their car and are forced to continue through the woods on foot. Arriving at a cabin the crooks bust in on geologist Dick and his Lassie look-a-like dog. Earlier that evening Dick witnessed what he thought was a meteor crashing to earth but which was in fact the Astounding She Monster parking her spacecraft. The lovely Miss Monster is clad head to foot in a shiny silver cat suit, has extraordinary arched eyebrows and displays a talent for disturbing stock footage wildlife.
While roughing up Dick (yes, I really said that) one of the hoods spots the Astounding She Monster peeping in at the window. After much stumbling around in the dark he locates the “visitor from beyond the imagination” and unloads his gun at her but the bullets bounce off her shimmering radioactive all-in-one.
The leader of the gang, Nate, heads out into the woods to investigate the sound of screaming only to discover his partner’s corpse with a feminine hand print burnt into its throat and the Astounding you-know-what ready to pounce. Lassie pitches in but is also fried by the deadly cosmic squeeze of the She Monster. Back at the cabin Nate desperately promises to let Margaret go if Dick helps him make it out of there alive.
The 2nd half of the film is entirely made up of scenes where characters run away from the cabin, then run back to the cabin only to run away from the cabin again a few minutes later, all the while with the Astounding She Monster wobbling gingerly in high-heeled hot pursuit. ‘Who will survive and what will be left of them?’ I hear you gasp.
‘The Astounding She Monster’ was distributed to grindhouses and drive-ins by American International Pictures on a mind-boggling double bill with Viking Women and The Sea Serpent however, in true exploitation movie fashion, the low budget film cannot hope to deliver on the thrills promised by its hyperbolic title or its eye-catching poster.
As truly terrible as the film may be on a technical level (Ed Wood was supposedly, uncredited, creative consultant to his friend: 1st time director Ronnie Ashcroft) it none the less evokes nostalgia for an era when a dirt cheap, one location sci-fi curio featuring a silver suited lady alien with a sudden death caress could get released to cinemas. Now that is Astounding.
Narcan is the GCDb's esteemed UK contributor. As a youth his earliest exploitation film experience was a My Bloody Valentine/The Funhouse midnight double bill. Grindhouse icons that he holds in highest regards are Christina Lindberg and Frank Henelotter. Two of his favorite exploitation genres include Nunsploitation and Lucha Libre.