The She-Beast (1966)

THE SHE-BEAST (1966)
aka La Sorella di Satana
Article 2210 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-4-2007
Posting Date: 8-31-2007
Directed by Michael Reeves
Featuring Barbara Steele, John Karlsen, Ian Ogilvy

A young married couple honeymoons in Transylvania. When they crash their car into a lake that served as the execution spot for a witch, the woman becomes possessed by the witch’s spirit, and sets out to kill the descendants of those that executed her.

Though he did some uncredited direction on CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD, this is the first feature fully directed by Michael Reeves, who is best known for WITCHFINDER GENERAL and for his untimely death at the age of 25. I’m not sure what I was expecting going into this one, but I will say this; I wasn’t expecting a comedy. For, despite a grisly execution sequence near the beginning of the movie, that is what this movie becomes, including odd characters such as John Karlsen’s eccentric nobleman named von Helsing and Mel Welles’ stupid voyeur (it’s the closest I’ve ever seen him to reprising his Gravis Mushnik character from LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS ), and full of clearly comic situations (including a corpse kidnapping sequence / car chase). As a comedy, it’s only mildly funny at best, but there are times where it is visually interesting; some moments definitely recalled Roger Corman’s low budget comedies of the early sixties, while others even reminded me of German silent movies. The script is a mess and it’s rather hard to follow, but it’s certainly Michael Reeves’ most lighthearted effort. If anything, this movie makes me regret his early demise; even in this ragged film he showed some real talent, and had he lived, I suspect we would have seen some very interesting work from him. Though this is far from a great movie, I certainly found it interesting enough.

 

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