A hurricane, island castaways, dancing native girls, female monsters, Nazis, a mad scientist, weird surgical experiments and a volcano--all prime ingredients for horror exploitation films. Or, in the case of "She Demons," ... more »one horror exploitation film. This lively, lurid shocker from writer/director Richard E. Cunha managed the remarkable feat of cramming all of these plot elements into its 76-minute running time.« less
"First off, I'll admit that this is one of my long-time favorite cheesey movies. It's got just about everything you could want in a B-movie: a shipwreck on an uncharted island, spunky heroine (Irish "Sheena" McCalla), stiff-as-cardboard hero, nubile native dancing girls, papier-mache cave walls, lecherous evil scientist, whip-cracking Nazis, embarrassing racial stereotypes, pasty-faced monsters, heart-touching sentimentality, low-key humor, volcanoes, lava, and a Hideously Disfigured Wife, whose face the scientist is trying to restore, natch. This heady mix of numerous beloved B-genres remains probably Richard Cunha's most technically accomplished work, and the most thought-provoking in his oeuvre. ...not as dizzyingly awful as an Ed Wood film, or as leaden as a Herbert L. Strock movie, but campy, enjoyable, rainy-Saturday-afternoon fare nonetheless. Bad film junkies cannot possibly be disappointed. As for the DVD, this has got to be the best presentation yet for this film. While the print is not perfect, it is a massive improvement over the VHS pre-record I own. There are some relatively minor flaws in the source print: light speckling/dirt spots throughout, sporadic short stretches of vertical/horizontal scratching or soiling, and at least one jump cut that I noticed. But overall, (and especially compared to the tape) the image looks terrific. The tonal values, brightness, sharpness, and detail of the DVD are a dramatic improvement over the VHS. It's like watching another movie entirely'I can't believe I paid money for the tape! It also blows away the taped-off-TV print that I had. So until Criterion jumps in I guess that this is about as good as it's gonna get. I'd give the disc 5 stars but for the minor problems with the print and the lack of any features besides the usual trailer (excellent quality also), chapter stops, and five "hidden" trailers advertising other Image releases. All in all you can't go wrong if you're a fan of this movie."
A fun blend of schlock and sex appeal
horrorpunk | Las Vegas, NV United States | 06/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has a nazi mad scientist, crazy gestapo henchmen who don't seem to know that the war is over, lots of beautiful, scantily clad women, some of whom change into ghouls, and an unintentionally funny heroic leading man with skinny arms and a funny looking chest that looks like he shaved it all except for a little oval of hair right in the middle. With all this going for it, how could I give this movie anything less than 4 stars? The funniest part of this movie is a fight scene between this "macho" man and one of the nazis in which the hero's stunt double looks nothing like the actor he is replacing. The stunt double is about 6 inches shorter and his hair isn't even the right color! You notice it right away when you see it, and it's hilarious. The only bad thing about this movie is that it has one of those sickening love story endings that plagues so many otherwise great, entertaining B movies. I highly recommend this one though, despite the ending."
Everything a cult B movie should be
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 03/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"She Demons turned out to be a much better film that I expected it to be. While there is absolutely nothing original about the plot, the film manages to retain one's interest from start to finish. Native girls, a mad Nazi scientist, atavistic she demons, bombs, volcanic eruptions -- what's not to like?
The film opens sort of strangely, with a news report about a recent hurricane followed by a plea for information from some rich guy whose daughter's boat is missing. Then we cut to our shipwreck survivors: poor little spoiled rich girl Jerrie Turner (stalwart blonde Irish McCalla, whom some may recognize as Sheena, Queen of the Jungle), scientist Tod Maklin (Tod Griffin), comic-relief sidekick Sammy Ching (Victor Sen Yung), and a native captain who doesn't even survive long enough to witness the big native girl dance scene. And what a native girl dance scene it is. These aren't your run-of-the-mill natives; these girls, made up of the Diana Nellis Dancers, include some real beauties. Unfortunately, beauty can be fleeting on this island. You see, twelve years ago the Fuehrer sent Colonel Osler (aka the Butcher), played quite smarmily by Rudolph Anders, to this uncharted island to continue his experiments on the exploitation of lava for the generation of electricity. The doggoned evil scientist has actually figured out the secret of perpetual motion, but this sort of plays second fiddle to his continued experiments to turn scar tissue back into healthy skin (the Fuehrer didn't want any of his master race soldiers baring scars when they came back from the war). In an unfortunate accident several years earlier, Osler's wife Mona was severely burned, and the Colonel is attempting to restore her beauty by extracting "character X" from the faces of attractive native females (whom his crack staff of clueless soldiers have somehow managed to capture) and injecting it into his wife's skin (underneath all those bandages). Unfortunately, the medical procedure tends to turn these hot island girls into grotesque monsters so ugly that they have to sneak up on the dipper just to get a drink of water. The special effects makeup is rather pathetic, but the girls definitely do look ugly after their visits to the lab.
Well, our heroes get captured, the scientist and the rich girl fall in love, Osler does the whole evil madman shtick, etc. You know. Surprisingly, it all ends up being pretty darned entertaining, and the big "reveal" scene at the end is something not to be missed. I do have to mention these soldiers on the island, though; these guys make Sgt. Schultz look like a prize German soldier. Hiding from them is no trouble whatsoever; they wouldn't even recognize Hitler if he came up and kicked them in the shins. Okay, I also have to admit that some of the dialogue is pretty cheesy, but it makes for some good laughs. The only real complaint I have with this film is the fact that the gorgeous native girls (in their pre-She Demon forms, of course) were not featured nearly enough for my liking. When all is said and done, though, She Demons is everything a 1950s B movie should be."
Ricard Cunha's Lasting Memorial to Cheese
Edward Garea | Branchville, New Jersey United States | 11/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First off, let me say that "She Demons" is a favorite Z picture of mine. As a kid I always looked forward to the times it played on "Chiller Theater." I mean, where else could you get mad scientists, Nazis, disfigured go-go dancers (with the phoniest make-up), paper mache scenery, AND Irish McCalla?To be fair, the film has a few scares at the end, especially when the mad scientist's wife discloses all too clearly her reason for not leaving with the heroes and the death of Mr. Nazi Mad Scientist himself. The DVD transfer is excellent, and though this is not the sort of picture in Ed Wood's league, it is still enough fun for inviting a few friends over and doing your own version of "Mystery Science Theater 3000." And the best reason for owning it? Where can you get such sublime awfulness..."
Bindy Sue Frønkünschtein | under the rubble | 06/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On a remote, uncharted island in the south pacific, strange things are happening. Nazis have set up camp, kidnapping a troupe of dancers (The Diana Nellis Dancers to be exact) and subjecting them to diabolical experiments at the hands of an evil SS officer / scientist named Osler (aka: The Butcher)! Enter 4 castaways, Gerri (Irish McCalla) and 3 guys to whom I paid little attention (when you see Ms. McCalla you'll understand why). Gerri's a rich, spoiled brat. Her zillionaire father footed the bill for the expedition which landed her and her cohorts on the island. Well, our heroine and friends soon encounter the lost dancing girls, and we are treated to a fairly good little jungle-hoochy-koo number! Then, those mean old nazi-boogers show up, pooping all over the party! It's a battle between the forces of good and evil, as Osler tries to get Gerri to be more than a friend! Unfortunately for Hitler jr., Gerri does befriend his wife, who's badly burned face is the reason behind Osler's experiments. The actual SHE DEMONS themselves (dancing girls turned icky through Osler's serum) don't do a whole lot, except for exterminating the worst of their nazi tormentors! The rest is pretty standard fair, but Irish McCalla makes it all seem worthwhile somehow! Check her out in her black evening dress! Wowzers..."