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Travelling through (communist) Transylvania for their honeymoon,
British newly-weds Philip (Ian Ogilvy) and Veronica (Barbara Steele)
accidently drive their car into a lake in which a witch was drowned 200
years ago, and when they are saved from the lake, Veronica is not only
dead, she has also inexplicably turned into an old hag. And that old hag
soon enough returns to the land of the living, walks off and starts
killing the villagers whose ancestors have been responsible for her
demise. Philip wants to report everything to the police, but everybody
seems to be more than eager to not involve the authorities, especially
professor Van Helsing (John Karlsen) - yup, a descendant of the Dracula-killer
-, the only one who seems to have at least a vague idea about what's going
on. Van Helsing seems to be the best option for Philip though, since he
promises to return Veronica alive once the exorcism is performed on the
witch, and the two of them even manage to capture and sedate the witch ...
but then the authorities get their hands on the body after all, which
amounts to our heroes stealing a police car followed by an extensive chase
sequence until they reach the lake and manage to exorcise the witch for
good - and wouldn't you know it, that really does return Veronica, with
not a single memory of what had happened.
The first film of the
soon-to-be-celebrated horror genius Michael Reeves - who took his life way
too early - is still basically a cheap piece of Euro schlock: The story is
formulaic, the special effects are not always up to their goals, and the
whole thing could have done with a higher budget. But to dismiss She-Beast
as nothing but another piece of trash would be wrong nevertheless, this is
a film with its highlights: Where other films of its ilk take themselves
way too seriously, She-Beast puts an ironic spin on the on-screen
goings-on, where other movies feature bland characters portrayed by a
wooden cast, the actors here do their (hammy) best to bring the roles to
play alive. Add to this a Keystone
Cops-like carchase and a handful of jokes about the communist
system, and you've got ... well, not a masterpiecebut a film you won't
regret watching nevertheless.