The She Beast, 1966. 4/10

The curse in She-Beast that counts isn’t the one the witch lays on the villagers, it’s one of cinematic logic: horror and comedy don’t mix. A bunch of bumbling locals messing with tourists and cracking wise about their despised government is quite a ways from a 18th century vampire and witch story. The hammer and sickle falling together on the floor was a worthy touch, though.

The acting is actually pretty good. Barbara Steele as the young reincarnation of the witch, and John Karlson as a Colonel Sanders-esque Van Helsing keep things tolerably watchable. And Van Helsing’s car is very cool. Otherwise, the plot keeps sabotaging itself, and the pacing is as slow as the two centuries since the witch’s death.

Good special effects though: “Creature, return to hideous mortality!”
intones Van Helsing as he brings the witch back to life. He’s not kidding when he says hideous. As long as the witch is skulking about, all is well. But why the smutty scenes, the cockfight, the and all the goofy political innuendo?

The car chase scene, between two toy-like vehicles, was really too much–the guy on the mo-ped passes them at one point. It is funny, even well-done, but it cuts up the tone completely. It seems that just as She-Beast builds up a bit of horror the Borat-like plot takes over again.

This is worth a look for the decently funny stuff; and also for the nicely-turned-out witch. But it’s a lot less than the sum of its parts. 4/10.

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