The Astounding She-Monster

The Astounding She-Monster (1957)

Genres - Mystery, Science Fiction, Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Alien Film  |   Release Date - Apr 10, 1957 (USA - Unknown), Apr 10, 1957 (USA)  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Bruce Eder

Ronnie Ashcroft, an editor-turned-producer, made his directorial debut with The Astounding She-Monster, a shoestring-budgeted sci-fi film that was shot in a total of about eight days. Kenne Duncan, Ewing Miles Brown, and Jeanne Tatum play a trio of hoods who kidnap an heiress (Marilyn Harvey) and try to elude the police by hiding out in a lonely mountain cabin, holding geologist Robert Clarke hostage. They arrive just as a mysterious alien visitor (Shirley Kilpatrick) lands in the nearby countryside; totally mute, clad in a shimmering silver suit, and possessing a lethal radioactive touch, she wanders around the woods, and the kidnappers and their victims are now trapped, Key Largo-style, in the cabin. The film isn't terribly good but it is diverting and moves at a reasonably brisk pace, and it has a certain appeal unique to its low budget. Shirley Kilpatrick -- who some sources claim later changed her name and became a more substantial actress as Shirley Stoler -- was a well-endowed performer (a real-life stripper, in fact) who split the back of her skin-tight costume on the first day's shooting, which is why her character only backs out of scenes, her front to the camera, for the entire movie. The budget was so low that a break-away window intended for an important stunt got broken prematurely and couldn't be replaced, and was used in already broken form. The script was being written as the movie was being shot, according to Robert Clarke in his autobiography, the writer delivering the pages as they worked. And Ashcroft was so new to directing, and his skills were at such a low level, that he reportedly asked Edward D. Wood Jr., of Plan 9 From Outer Space fame, to serve as a consultant -- and, strangely enough, the plot does have a pacifist angle to its science-fiction element that is also reflected in some of Wood's work. Shot for a total of $18,000, the movie's distribution rights were purchased by American International Pictures for $50,000. Robert Clarke, who got a percentage of the profits for his work acting in the movie, was inspired by this experience to produce and direct his own science-fiction thriller, The Hideous Sun Demon, which is actually a much better movie.




accident, alien [not human], bomb-shelter, censorship, evil, forest, geology, government, monster, ransom, space