This is horror!
Year of Release: 1966
Also Known As: Revenge of the Blood Beast, Satan's Sister, Sister of Satan
Running Time: 79 minutes (1:19)
Director: Michael Reeves
Ian Ogilvy ... Philip
Barbara Steele ... Veronica
John Karlsen ... Count von Helsing
Mel Welles ... Ladislav Groper
Joe 'Flash' Riley ... The She-beast Witch
Richard Watson ... Comrade Police Lieutenant
A small town in 18th century Transylvania is being terrorized by an evil witch. When a child is brutally attacked, the villagers capture the fiend and sentence her to death by dunking chair, but not before she casts a curse on them and their descendants. Two hundred years later, young newlyweds Veronica and Philip pass through the town on a tour of the Carpathians, only to have their car pulled into a lake by an unseen force. A passing truck driver quickly rescues two bodies from the wreck. One is Philip, battered but alive, and the other is... the witch, back from the dead to wreak havoc on the town once again! Can Philip and his newfound friend, the great grandson of Professor Van Helsing, capture the witch and bring back Veronica?
She Beast, remindin' us that a clove of garlic may ward off vampires well enough, but it's no match for a horny guy goin' for Barbara Steele's cantaloupes. Pretty sure that's why all the vampires left Transylvania an hopped the pond over to England back in the 50s. Transylvania's just too close to alla that Italian cookin', an fact is, sometimes on a bad day, the smell actually wafts its way through Serbia an even past Transylvania into Moldova. Better to have the North Sea between you an that stuff. Safety first, ya know? A ghoul can get killed by the smell of downtown Rome alone if he ain't careful. Rome Alone... huh. Sounds like a Lifetime original based on a Catholic priest scandal don't it? But anyway, discoverin' this one was actually a bit of a relief to me personally, cause up to this point I'd thought that we were the only town in America that had one of those gigantic seesaw Baptisizer machines made outta Linkin Logs that the church uses to pump out Baptismals on alla the prisoners who wanna become born again Christians so the parole board'll think they've reformed. It's actually such a big deal 'round here that we've got our hospital propped up next door to Lake Gunkamucka for convenience sake so the nurses can haul all the newborns outside an sit 'em down on either end of this thing to make sure their souls get saved right outta the coot chute while simultaneously washin' all the twat snot off of 'em. Course, since I came into this world in the bed of a 1968 International pickup that just happened to run outta gas while Mama was out cuttin' fire wood one afternoon, I'd never gotten my locally mandated savin', an so once the city council found out they stuck me on that Tamarack teeter-totter within minutes of the news becomin' public before I could contaminate anybody an get us put on God's shit list. Course they were in such a hurry they didn't bother to factor in that I was 9 years old an about 45lbs heavier'n the newborn on the other end of the contraption an well... fortunately little Fannie Oglesby, after breakin' the world record for the longest distance traveled by an infant outside of a Chinese sewer pipe, came to rest gently in the fishin' net of Aesop Marlin as he was just about to land a 58lb Muskie (or so he claims). Unfortunately, Reverend Dollarhide, who happened to be takin' admission fees at the time, took this weight imbalance as evidence that I was possessed by the devil an refused to raise my end of the seesaw up for about two an a half minutes til he was sure they'd drowned the devil outta me an by the time they finally pulled me up I'd lost about 18 points offa my IQ score an had three of my toes chewed off by a P.O.'d Northern Pike that I'd come down on top of when Fannie went soarin' majestically through the air like a Tomahawk missile. I guess what I'm tryin' to say is, it's just good to know that this kinda thing's a normal parta life that everybody goes through at one time or another.
But gettin' back to the specifics of what makes this movie a... oh lets just can the equal treatment facade. With regard to what it is that specifically causes this movie to nosedive headlong into a downward spiral that begins with the toilet an ends out at the sewage treatment plant, I have still taken the liberty of pickin' out a few items for you guys to soak up an integrate into your psyches. The fact that the movie's a constipated turkey whose dumplins're backed up so far that its breath smells like a port-a-john at The Gathering of the Juggalos doesn't mean that we can't learn somethin' from it, so try to stay awake for this next part an be sure not to let any pregnant women watch this thing due to the likelihood of a specific psychological birth defect. First, it's perfectly acceptable to pound the tar outta anybody you catch peekin' atchu after leavin' your window wide open with nothin' but curtains that're more transparent than the intentions of a wealthy climate change denier concealin' you while you're makin' the sign of the asthmatic tweaker gerbil. I guess I knew about this one ever since that kindly police officer who had his billy club wrapped around my windpipe explained to me that it's okay for a woman to show off as much of 'er anatomical wonders as she wants to, but that it's only okay to look at 'er if you're somebody she might like to go out with. So remember to always check out the face on a woman whose got 'er tube top torpedoes locked an loaded first to see how you stack up against 'er before oglin' 'er tether balls. Second, a witch's breathin' orifices are apparently located in their nether regions, cause if this weren't the case, the pious putz in the movie that's got 'er bobbin' up an down on the commercial Baptisizer woulda never been able to drown 'er on account of 'er nappy weave never actually sinkin' beneath the water. An third, deposed Counts spend a lotta their retirement hangin' around hotels with shoddy construction an even shoddier reputations, so ladies, I don't think I've gotta explain to you what a perfect storm that combination creates with regard to you workin' your way into a pretty sweet financial arrangement.
Those're all well an good, although the thing about this one that made me face palm so hard that people've been askin' me why I'd got the Body Glove logo tattooed on my face for the last three days was the obvious lack of a game plan this Van Helsing character who looks like Mark Twain had when wakin' the witch up from an extended nappin' period. I mean, we've all been there, this is the kinda thing that even a first grader learns after havin' to wake up the old hag that's supposed to be teachin' 'em their letters after she gets a little too deep into the bourbon bottle at lunch time. You never just shake the witch all gentle-like til she comes around. That kinda reactive approach'll get your wang doodle twisted into a balloon animal an your huevos kicked in so hard that you'll need a gynecologist to do your yearly physical. You've gotta be PROACTIVE. Map out a course of action an follow it, or you might as well start lookin' for a nice place to open up a hair salon. For instance, lately I've been leavin' the car runnin', settin' a trip-wire in the entry way at about shin height, an sprinklin' the room with Legos so that when she comes after you with eyes redder'n the votin' bloc in Tulsa, Oklahoma an fists flyin' like Bruce Lee after somebody ate his last egg roll, she'll step on a coupla those Mama jammers an barely be able to contain 'er full bladder long enough to make the toilet. Course, by that point you'll be halfway to the bowlin' alley where you'll be spendin' the next coupla nights sleepin' on the floor between the Galaga arcade box an the change machine safely outta harm's way. It also doesn't hurt to use the buddy system if that's an option, cause that way, you don't necessarily have to outrun the witch, you've just gotta outrun your buddy. This is only one of the countless options available when dealin' with this kinda situation, an I'd encourage everyone to get creative, but never use the same plan more than about five times. Otherwise you could very easily end up like Mr. Twain in the movie.
The movie begins in Transylvania where this old coot who looks like Mark Twain's goin' inside the hovel he's carved out in the interior of Erebor so he can read through Van Helsing's Big Book of Monstrous Meanieheads til he starts flashin' back to the good ole days before Tim Curry moved in an declared 'imself ruler of Trannyvania. So we watch this little kid runnin' as fast as his 16" legs'll carry 'im like Tony Stewart's barrelin' down on 'im in the #14 car til he makes it into this church an tells everybody that "they" got his brother. Course, the priest starts goin' apeshit til he realizes the kid meant the local witch an not him an once they get that straightened out everybody starts dual wieldin' torches an pitchforks an heads over to Glinda's cave an start yellin' for 'er to get 'er hiney outta the cave before they drag 'er outta there an ram 'er broomstick up 'er rear end til she looks like the impaled native girl from Cannibal Holocaust. Only Glinda looks more like Eartha Kitt after somebody lit 'er face on fire an beat out the flames with a morning star an she gets real P.O.'d when she sees alla these holy men tresspassin' on 'er ancestral child bakery an proceeds to start grabbin' people at random an initiatin' some separation of church an face til they dog pile on top of 'er an nail 'er to this high chair attached to a medieval seesaw. But once they get 'er wheeled down to Lake Witchatrough she finally quits screamin' like Dani Filth after realizin' his Nightbreed commemorative plates've been stolen an starts throwin' out more curses than Quentin Tarantino when somebody brings up City on Fire at a Reservoir Dogs panel before channelin' Arnold the Barbarian an lettin' everybody know that this glorified carnival dunk tank they've rigged up won't keep 'er down for long an that she'll be back. Elsewhere, in the present, this VW bug pulls off of a dirt road so Barbara Steele's husband (Philip) can ask this drunk on a bike how far it is to Boobrash. So the lush tells 'im it's just up the road a piece an that most people who don't lay their bikes down every twenty feet due to motion sickness an the most potent beer this side of the iron curtain should make it there in just a few minutes. Then Phil an Barb head up to the Chateau Cornblow an the owner (Groper) tells 'em they're just in time for tea an crumpets, only about that time Mark Twain hops offa the swing set an gives 'em each a garlic necklace so people won't realize they're British an spit in their gulag style goulosh. So after they get to know Mark for a while an become comfortable enough with 'im to ask 'im about some cultural stereotypes, he tells 'em that he totally knew who the Draculas were an that his great grandpappy exorcised the heck out of 'em, only now there ain't no vampires left an so he just kinda hangs out at seedy inns an tries pickin' up naive girls lookin' for youth hostels an keeps a sharpened oak stake inside one of those "break glass in case of Christopher Lee" dealies, just in case.
Then he tells 'em the story from the openin' flashback an explains that the townsfolk were apparently from Oklahoma cause they completely botched the witch's execution by tryin' to do it on their own without havin' the Count on hand to say the magic words right an they ended up Klaatu Barada Necktie'n the whole thing like Bruce Campbell. Course, by now Barb's elbowin' Phil's ribs so hard he looks like one of those sides of beef that Rocky was poundin' in the meat locker preparin' for the Apollo Creed fight an so they promise to let 'im finish his story in the mornin' an leave to go see how many pairs of Barb's panties're missin' outta their luggage. Then Groper busts into their room an returns their passports an reminds 'em that privacy breeds conspiracy, but that they shouldn't let his unfamiliarity with personal space get in the way of their doin' some breedin' cause he wouldn't mind checkin' that out on the closed circuit security cameras. So then they start makin' the sign of the sabre toothed chinchilla til Barb notices Groper outside the window wearin' a rain coat an Phil hasta become the first man in history to disembark Barb's ass without makin' like John Henry an becomin' a Steele drivin' man so he can pound the tar outta Groper for peepin' at the buns of Steele. A while later, Groper wakes up with a serious case of unresolved evenin' wood an decides to hold off on callin' his doctor about his erection lastin' more'n four hours so he can yank the distributor cap offa the VW bug an sabotage their departure. Only the next mornin' when they try to leave, Phil realizes Groper's been playin' touchy feely with his car an rolls his hairy ass outta bed an threatens to write up an unfavorable review to post on TripAdvisor if he don't return his cap an at least make an effort to hide the 12-year-old Romanian prostitutes. So once Phil gets the cap back on they charge outta there like Robin Ventura headin' for the mount after gettin' beaned by a Nolan Ryan fast ball, only about that time the steerin' column goes out an they end up takin' a header into Lake Witchatrough after narrowly avoidin' gettin' their Bug squished in a head on collision with a Mack truck driven by Bluto. Phil's able to backstroke his great white tail outta there, but Barb's stubbornly refusin' to abandon the picture of Mario Bava she keeps on 'er nightstand an after she don't surface for awhile Bluto dives in an drags 'er out. Unfortunately, Barb's sucked down a little more'n the recommended dosage of outhouse runoff, so Bluto drives 'em back to the inn an starts panickin' cause he's already got those two strikes against 'im for kidnappin' Olive Oyl an Groper promises to hide the body for 'im if he can take a peek behind the Steele curtain. A little later, Phil regains consciousness only to find 'imself starin' at Groper's Commiestache til he discovers Barb's corpse which now bears a strikin' resemblance to the sides of the pool over at Yurin's Water Park an Leptospirosis Treatment Center two weeks after they ran outta chlorine, causin' both Phil an Groper more confusion than Pat Robertson at a Bailey Jay modelin' shoot.
Then Mark shows up an gets Phil to tell 'im what in the name of Tepes' torrentially t.p.'d tomb of torturous transgressions is goin' on an they drive over to Mark's place til Phil starts worryin' that by the time Mark finishes explainin' that the witch has taken over his wife's body an how to reverse the process he's gonna be as old as Mark, an heads back to the inn. Course Mark's older'n Abe Vigoda's colon polyps, so he prattles on for quite a while before realizin' he's been ditched like your little brother after your mama told you to bring 'im along on a bike ride, an once he finally realizes it he drives back over to the inn to see how bad Barb's nappy weave's gotten. So once Mark gets over there he wakes up Hairy Daughter with some Epsom salts an she gets so P.O.'d she has to strangle 'im like she's tryin' out for the NYPD vice squad while she an Groper cackle like Ann Coulter watchin' the guy who mows the lawn next door get deported. Then Groper's niece shows up an he starts goin' for the groceries just in case anybody in the audience hadn't figured out he was a creep yet til she starts usin' 'er nails to prospect for gold teeth an manages to get away after strikin' a major vein. Shortly thereafter Phil an Mark show up an figure Pukie Fridgerot's hopped on 'er broom an bolted like Katie Holmes when Tom Cruise accidentally left the back door open a crack, only she's actually inside settlin' the bill with Groper who she eventually sickles into a pile of meat trickles. So Phil an Mark set out on their witch hunt an while they're stakin' out the Hot Topic an a coupla goth bars Mark tells Phil that the only way to get Barb back is to exorcise that harpy bitch proper so she'll projectile vomit Barb's soul out like a can of expired pea soup. Eventually, they find the witch attackin' this kid who's tryin' frantically to place a bet on a cockfight he's watchin' through this window that's dirtier'n the laundry in the incontinence ward of an old folks home til Phil sees what's goin' on an spears 'er like Bill Goldberg, allowin' Mark to shoot 'er fulla that stuff they had to use on Tom Cruise to make 'em quit jumpin' all over Oprah's couch. Then they dump 'er unconscious body at the inn like a buncha frat boys with their latest date rape victim an go to fetch Mark's tools an his copy of Exorcism for Dummies, only while they're gone the cops show up an haul Gagnes Boarhead over to the station. Fortunately, Phil an Mark get back just in time to see what's happenin' an while the cops try gettin' Elizabeth Montgomery on the phone to come identify the body they're able to brain the coroner an steal the REO Bleedwagon with the cops in hot, fast forwarded pursuit like some kinda hilariously morbid Jack Benny sketch. Gonna cut it here, though this one's in the public domain, so anyone interested can check it out via the link below:
Alright, well, what we've got here is a joint British/Italian monstrosity that has no idea which of those two countries' horror styles it wants to emulate an ends up turning into a major suck fest as a result. Though to be fair, the god awful chase scene at the end that looks like a Jack Benny routine that essentially destroys what little atmosphere the movie had going for it was done by an American. The British tended to make talky, atmospheric pot boiler horror, where the Italians made bloodier gross-out horror titles (though this was still the 60s so they hadn't gone completely nuts yet), and this thing ends up being some weird ineffective hybrid of the two. It's also got some bizarrely out of place comedic sequences, even beyond that insane car chase near the climax that the director didn't particularly care for but decided to leave in due to the already short run time of the movie; for instance, the weirdo on the bike Barb Steele and Ian Ogilvy ask for directions. There's a lot of weird dialog I didn't include in the review, but the guy essentially seems to have dementia and provides some really strange responses to their questions. Then there's John Karlsen (Mark Twain) playing on the swing set before he comes over to speak with Barb and Ian as they arrive at the hotel, I mean, the guy's supposed to be 70, what the heck is this? And later on there's another scene that I didn't include due to irrelevance, where the Bluto lookin' guy's in jail for allegedly running over a chicken. So not only does it not know what style it wants to be, it doesn't seem to know what tone it's intended to be using. Not to mention that scene where Mel Welles' character starts trying to rape his niece who shows up outta nowhere. So now we're trying to be edgy again? Fortunately, by the time it's over you couldn't care less that the ending is left somewhat unresolved. In all honesty, this is exactly the kinda movie I brace myself for anytime I watch a public domain title. The best motivation I can provide to persuade anyone to actually see this thing is that you get to see about 60% of Barbara Steele's ball bearings, and rest assured, there're better titles available where you can get that. Oh, and the blood looks like A&W root beer.
Yeesh, well, lets peel back the She Beast's skin and try to find 'er beauty layer. Though I suspect this is gonna be like Helen Keller tryin' to find a dime a the bottom of an Olympic sized swimmin' pool. The plot is alright, nothing super special, but one that has been used to make decent movies in the past; Superstition, for example, is essentially the same thing. But it's pretty tired, and even for its time wasn't all that original. It's okay, but that's all it is. The acting is alright, but not exactly spellbinding either. Barbara Steele's only in about a third of the movie, probably due to financial constraints. In fact, they had to shoot all of her scenes in one day because that was all the time they were allowed. Not too surprisingly, she got stuck on the set for about 18 of those 24 hours and was more than a little P.O.'d at the producer for quite a while after the fact. Also not surprisingly, with a 79 minute run time, you can't expect much in the way of character development. The characters are all pretty flat, uninteresting, and leave the viewer rooting for the witch on the off chance that if she's able to kill everybody off they'll have to end the movie. Here's who matters and why, with the exception of Barbara Steele whom any self respecting horror fan shouldn't need to be introduced to: John Karlsen (Frankenstein Unbound, The Church, Asylum Erotica, Spirits of the Dead, Crypt of the Vampire, Maciste in Hell, Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory), Ian Ogilvy (Puppet Master 5, From Beyond the Grave, Witchfinder General, The Sorcerors), Mel Welles (Raising Dead, Wizards of the Lost Kingdom 2, Invasion Earth: The Aliens are Here, Chopping Mall, Wolfen, Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype, Lady Frankenstein, The Little Shop of Horrors 1960, The Undead, Attack of the Crab Monsters, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy), Edward B. Randolph (Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype), Lucretia Love (Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype, Enter the Devil, The Killer Reserved Nine Seats, Battle of the Amazons), Ennio Antonelli (Warrior of the Lost World, Castle of the Living Dead), Charles B. Griffith (Eating Raoul, Death Race 2000 in 2008, The Little Shop of Horrors 1960, Attack of the Crab Monsters, Not of this Earth 1957, It Conquered the World). Some of these guys shoulda just stuck with Roger Corman.
The special effects you could maybe say were fair for the time. Looking at them now they pretty much suck butt through a straw. The witch's costume is alright, but the prosthetics on her face aren't all that hot. Admittedly, the opening flashback scene had some potential for a fairly memorable scene when they start nailin' the hag to the industrial Baptisizer machine, but what little blood is shown is brown, or at least looks that way on my half-assed Mill Creek print. I don't suspect that'd change much even on a remastered copy, though. And old as it is, you can't expect much in the way of special effects with regard to either quality or quantity, though in the print I watched, there's a tendency to cut away where they could have added some gore if they were so inclined. The run time on this version matched the IMDB run time though, so if it's cut, it's not by much. So, pretty pitiful on the special effects front. The shooting locations may be the high point, and that's pretty much the kiss of death for a horror movie. That always needs to go to either the special effects or the plot, with very rare exceptions where the acting proves the most pivotal. Course, that's not to say the shooting locations are anything sublimely memorable, they're just not terrible. The inn is probably the best, though I have my doubts about it having been an actual hotel. John Karlsen's little tomb of thought that looks to have rock walls on the inside isn't too bad either. Otherwise, you've got a lake, jail, and a few city shots when Karlsen and Ogilvy are tracking down the witch. Just fair. The soundtrack doesn't do it any favors either. Particularly the opening credits theme which legitimately sounds as though it should have been composed for a 40s horror flick and makes for a terrible first impression. A lot of the tracks also have that silly, comedic feel I mentioned earlier, which doesn't help. Pretty sure I've heard at least one of those tracks in a Looney Tunes cartoon, too. Though it did have one track just before the scene where Hagatha Crispy kills the innkeeper that featured bells and wasn't completely without redeeming value. Overall, it's a turkey. Not to be confused with a "so bad it's good" turkey, either. Just forget about this drivel and move on to the next title.