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Astounding She-Monster

1 rating: -3.0
A movie directed by Ronnie Ashcroft

Edward D. Wood, Jr. served as "consultant" to first time director Ronnie Ashcroft for this Atomic Age cult classic. In it, a geologist living in the woods with his dog has his house taken over first by kidnappers holding an heiress and then … see full wiki

Release Date: 1958
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Astounding She-Monster

Astounding She Monster 1957

  • Nov 18, 2004
Pros: :::scratching my head:::

Cons: my, my, my

The Bottom Line: _________

Well I didn’t think I’d ever get to finish my pre-Halloween movie watching reviews. A little server problem and a trip to Reno has put me way behind. However, I certainly couldn’t ignore this wondrous release, including all the excitement and suspense and the behind-the-scenes trivia involved.

The Astounding She Monster was in black and white. Normally I’ll like an old black-n-white movie but since you are supposed to be getting the ~~glow~~ from this babe, it loses a lot in translation when it isn’t in color. Here’s our story, and she’s a sweet one!

To start with, a lot of this movie is done through narration, and a bad narration at that. We start with what is supposed to be a young, beautiful, wealthy socialite on her way to some soiree or another. We are talking Beverly Hills babe. This is where the narration starts, telling us how she is walking down this long sidewalk to her car, parked at the curb, on her way to some charity gig or another. Oh, please, didn’t they have driveways in Beverly Hills in the 50’s? Anyway, down she comes, dressed (as they say) to the nines, in what appears to be a white or light colored fur coat. I mention the color because it changes periodically during the movie from light colored to dark colored. Can you say continuity?

Anyway, lurking in the background are two ‘thugs’ and their ‘moll’. The idea is to ram or wreck the ladies car and abduct her for ransom.

First I might note that Marilyn Harvey, who plays the rich and spoiled Margaret Chaffee, is neither young or good looking. Perhaps times were rough and finding a beautiful woman to play in this miserable movie was impossible. But back to the drama.

They wreck her car, they steal her away, they drive off into the canyons, they wreck their own car, they start walking to find help.

Meanwhile, our hero, Dick Cutler, played by Robert Clarke, is a geologist that lives in a cabin in the hills. He lives alone with his faithful companion, a dog. He also watches for errant fires in the area for the fire marshall. In addition, I think he is doing some type of experiment on molecular make up of rocks, or something like that. It’s all very mysterious. While he and the dog were returning home after scouring the area for weird stones, he sees a flash of light in the sky, then --KABOOM! -- Turning to the dog he says, “girl have you ever seen a color like that before?” This leaves me puzzled and aggravated, I want to see the weird color too but all I’m getting is white on black. Darn!

Naturally the kidnappers end up at old Dick’s cabin. Now, turns out Dick has a jeep but it doesn’t have headlights. Can’t be driven at night on these dangerous roads. So it appears they might we stuck at this cabin until daylight. However, the leader decides to send the second in command, apparently a mechanic in another life, out to check it out and see if he can get the lights to work. While he is outside we get our first look at our Astounding She Monster. She also does away with the dude, in not a pretty way.

Now the leader, I think his name was Nat, decides he better go look for his fellow kidnapper. He’s been gone way too long. He turns over the gun to the ‘moll’ telling her to try to remain sober long enough to watch both Dick and Margaret until he gets back. Seems the moll, Esther, likes to curl up with the bottle now and again.

So Nat goes out, finds Brad’s body, and runs back to the cabin. On the way back he sees the She Monster and tells them about it when he returns. Naturally they decide to try to drive out of the area even though the jeep has no lights. They wreck of course, and the monster gets either Esther or Nat, I’m not exactly sure of the order of the kills.

The remaining people return to the cabin. Of course the She Monster follows them. Dick, our hero, concocts something in his chemical lab and throws it on her. Now you might think that is the end of the story, but far from it. There is no way I’d give it all up. Watch the dang thing yourself.

Let’s talk about the people a little. Not necessarily the people, but the She Monster. Really, I don’t know where the idea came up for this thing but it simply was not thought out properly. For one thing, to give the appearance that she is nude, she is wearing a one piece body stocking. Turns out she ripped the stocking, early on, and had to spend the rest of the movie always facing forward. Apparently no money was spared for a replacement outfit. Now it was form-fitting, I’ll give it that.

When she walked it was some type of two-step deal. Two steps forward, one to the side, one back the other way, two steps back - and so on, and so on. It took her forever to cover 5 feet. She always held her arms out like she was on a balance beam or something and she would duck her head appropriately, offsetting the change in movement of her body. She did not speak during the entire movie, not even a grunt or growl.

This weird ~~glow~~ surrounded her body, I think it was to represent radioactivity. I’m not exactly sure what the deal was with that other than to let you know when she was coming around a corner or something.

Other than that the balance of the production was just pure baloney and I’m not talking Oscar Meyer, more like store brand. The overall acting was just miserable and the story was just bad. But it finished out my pre-Halloween viewing and I’m glad it is done.

The movie was written by Frank Hall & Ronald Ashcroft, directed by Ronald Ashcroft. The She Monster was played by Shirley Kilpatrick, this was the only movie credited to her. I believe she later changed her name to Shirley Stoler and became a large woman, over 200 lbs, that would have tested the material on this outfit all the way. As Shirley Stoler, her career rose its ugly head in the early 70’s, mainly through TV sitcoms and the like.

No awards.



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