There are some things that one can add to a horror or science-fiction movie that will almost always automatically make it worth watching. Staples one could call them and She Demon from 1958 just happens to have a number of them, the first of which is a fearsome creature. The monsters in this film just so happen to be women, natives and otherwise from the island on which the movie takes place and all of them scantily clad as well, having had their faces transformed into beast-like caricatures by a mad scientist. This picture also has a crazy-mad Nazi overlord who is conducting experiments on the women in the hopes of curing his lady love’s facial disfigurements. Enter Jerrie, Fred and Sammy, three people who get marooned on the island and want nothing to do with any of the lunacy going on. Sadly, the Nazis outnumber our heroes, so they are going to have a hard time not only avoiding it all but surviving.
To say the least – She Demons is a lot of fun. Made on the cheap by Richard E. Cunha for Astor Pictures, it does seem so at times, but surprisingly, for the most part, it looks pretty good. The direction by Cunha is straightforward and without any frills which is what you would expect in a film such as this and the special effects, meaning makeup and stock footage for the volcano, is actually quite good considering. Yes, the women look a little ridiculous with their exaggerated features to make them seem more like an animal, but they were not all that terrible. What was truly scary in the film was the fact that long after World War II had ended; there was still a cell of Nazis in full operation as if the war were still going on. It is to be expected, of course, them being isolated on an island and all, but to think of what atrocities they might have committed in all that time is horrific. That particular scenario more than anything else that was shown in the actual movie would create fright in the viewer. To really top things off, there is even a Nazi named Igor, though hunchback he was not.
The film would famously star Irish McCalla, fresh off her role as Sheena and other than Rudolph Anders who would play Col. Osler, the lead Nazi, would give the best performance the film had to offer. Tod Griffin who was the male lead of the picture was decent but wooden at times, sometimes delivering his lines like a robot. Maybe it was the script, which could have been better, that dragged things down a bit for the actors but when it came to the story, the film could not have had a better one.
From beginning to end, the picture motored along at a good pace and it was so outrageous with the elements portrayed that one could hardly turn their eyes away. B pictures get a bad rap sometimes, but one can hardly go wrong with She Demons, a truly entertaining movie through and through.
3.5 out of 5