She Demons (1958)

She Demons (1958) movie poster

director  Richard E. Cunha
viewed: 06/03/2018

“The body of a woman with the face of a demon!”

She Demons is cheap pulp horror/adventure featuring a mad Nazi scientist based in an underground island volcano laboratory, experimenting on kidnapped girls, turning them (temporarily) into She Demons. A shipwrecked pleasure crew (including ultra-vixen Irish McCalla, Victor “Number 2 Son” Sen Yung, and Tod Griffin) land on the island and discover its bizarre secrets.

First they encounter the all white native girls, “The Diane Nellis Dancers” dancing up a storm. Then the Nazis.

It’s cheap and corny and wooden at times, but it also occasionally perks up as fun. The make-up effects are hilariously camp, yet a genuine S&M undercurrent suffuses the Nazi villains. It also features some insinuated violence that seems pretty strong for 1958.

I was also struck that this vague twist on The Island of Dr. Mureau might also have influenced the films of Eddie Romero and Gerardo de Leon.

Richard E. Cunha is a deeply anomalous 1950’s horror/sci-fi director. He made four flicks, all in one year Giant from the Unknown, She Demons, Frankenstein’s Daughter, and Missile to the Moon, 1958. And then he stopped.

She Demons, for my money at least, is some pretty decent late Fifties junk.

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