The She-Creature


1h 17m 1956

Brief Synopsis

A mysterious hypnotist (Chester Morris) reverts his beautiful assistant (Marla English) back into the form of a prehistoric sea monster that she was in a past life.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 25, 1956
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Golden State Productions
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Paradise Cove, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 17m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Synopsis

As Dr. Carlo Lombardi, a practitioner of black magic and the occult, stares at giant fin-like tracks in the sand, wealthy businessman Timothy Chappel and his wife are hosting a cocktail party at their beach-front home. The Chappel's daughter Dorothy leaves the party to stroll on the beach with her fiancé, Dr. Ted Erickson, after Ted states that he feels uncomfortable around the wealthy, pretentious cocktail crowd. Lombardi follows the tracks to the Jeffersons' beach house, and when he enters, finds that the Jeffersons have been murdered. As Dorothy and Ted walk along the beach, the Chappels' dog, King, comes running after them and leads them to the beach house. They arrive just in time to see Lombardi leave, and after finding the bodies, Ted sends for the police. Lt. Ed James finds patches of seaweed strewn across the floor, seemingly corroborating a prediction that Lombardi had earlier made to Mrs. Chappel that "a creature from out of the pond is coming to live among us." From the beach, Lombardi goes to the carnival, where he and his assistant, Andrea, perform an act relating to reincarnation. As the doctor passes a booth, Johnny, the carnival barker, expresses concern about his habit of putting Andrea in a deep trance for hours at a time. Proceeding to the stage on which Andrea lies in a hypnotic state, Lombardi awakens her. Shrinking from the doctor's touch, Andrea declares that she wants to "get away" from him, to which he replies that he will possess her as long as she lives. Soon after, Ted, accompanied by Lt. James, enters the room and Ted confirms that he saw Lombardi leaving the Jeffersons' house. Lombardi then contends that the murderer came from the ocean and that he helped facilitate a "transmigration" of a prehistoric female into the body of a living woman. Lombardi's statement makes newspaper headlines, prompting Tim to decide to capitalize on the doctor's sensationalism. When Tim suggests that Ted, a psychic research specialist, give credence to the doctor's claims, Ted, who regards Lombardi as a charlatan, refuses. Tim then goes to the carnival to propose a business alliance with the doctor. Lombardi agrees to the partnership, but when he insists that he possesses genuine psychic abilities, Tim thinks he is joking. To publicize their new venture, Tim invites Lombardi to a party at the Chappel house that night. Once Tim leaves the carnival, Lombardi puts Andrea into a trance and sends her back in time to her prehistoric form as the sea creature. Ascending from the sea, the creature comes to Lombardi, who instructs her to kill Johnny. After Johnny's body is found, James arrests Lombardi for murder, but is forced to free him for lack of evidence. At the party, Ted finds himself mesmerized by Andrea as Lombardi puts her into a trance and regresses her back to a previous life in 1618, when she was an Englishwoman named Elizabeth Wetherby. To test her authenticity, Ted quizzes her on historical details of the period. Lombardi suddenly interrupts his act to announce that the creature is on her way, sending the partygoers scurrying home. Lombardi then walks down to the beach. Ted follows, and just as the creature is about to attack him, Andrea awakens, screaming. The next day, Ted tells Andrea that Lombardi has enslaved her and promises to help free her. Once alone with Andrea, Lombardi puts her into a trance, tells her he loves her and kisses her. Repulsed, Andrea pushes him away and declares her hatred for him. Under Tim's tutelage, Lombardi becomes a sensation, and soon the book he has written makes the bestseller list. Soon after, Tim presents Lombardi, who has taken up residence in the Chappel house, a checkbook in his name with a bank account of $250,000 and asks him to leave. When Lombardi refuses to go, Tim calls him a "dirty side show act." Offended, Lombardi tells Andrea that they will be leaving the country the next day. Andrea, who has become romantically involved with Ted, informs Lombardi that Ted has given her the power to resist him. That night, before a demonstration at the Chappel house, Ted and Andrea walk along the beach and Ted urges Andrea to help him expose Lombardi as a charlatan. Determined to eliminate his rival, Lombardi puts King into a trance and orders him to kill Ted. When the dog attacks, however, Andrea uses her powers to send the canine away. Later, at the demonstration, as Lombardi begins to put Andrea into a trance, Ted encourages her to resist him. Sensing that Andrea is disturbed, Lombardi announces that he feels a menace in the house and tells everyone to leave. Now believing in the doctor's powers, Lt. James fears that Andrea has regressed into the sea creature and sends for police sharpshooters to converge on the beach. Hurrying to meet them, Lt. James spots the creature on the shore and shoots at her. Impervious to the bullets, the creature continues advancing toward him, then knocks him down with a crushing blow. Hearing the sound of gunshots, Ted runs to the lieutenant, who declares that Lombardi brought the creature back. As police cars arrive at the beach, the creature approaches the house and attacks Tim. When Ted returns, Lombardi orders the creature to kill him. Instead, she turns and crushes Lombardi with a blow, then kneels over Andrea's unconscious body and lumbers away. As the creature wades back into the sea, Lombardi dies, after which Andrea regains consciousness, freed from his powers. Ted then reassures her that the creature will never return.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 25, 1956
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Golden State Productions
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Paradise Cove, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 17m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film opens as Chester Morris, who portrays "Dr. Carlo Lombardi," stares into the waves and in voice-over narration muses, "On this very night I have called her from the unknown depths...she is here, and with her coming the world will never be as it was and neither man nor animal will ever be the same. I, Dr. Carlo Lombardi, have brought her into being."
       According to an interview with producer Alex Gordon printed in a modern source, the idea for The She-Creature came from Jerry Zigmond, a Los Angeles exhibitor, who proposed making a film based on Bridey Murphy, a woman, who, under the influence of hypnotism, regressed into her past lives. For more information about the case, please see entry above for The Search for Bridey Murphy. Lou Rusoff, the brother-in-law of executive producer Samuel Z. Arkoff, then wrote the story and screenplay. Gordon said that he originally wanted Edward Arnold to play the part of "Timothy Chappel," but Arnold died on April 26, 1956, before the film began production. Gordon offered the role of the hypnotist to Peter Lorre but Lorre felt the production was beneath him and refused the role. John Carradine then was approached for the role, but he, too, turned it down. Gordon stated that location filming was done at Paradise Cove in Malibu, CA.
       El Brendel, who played "Olaf," and Flo Bert, who played "Marta," were husband and wife in real life. Although a Hollywood Reporter production chart places Felice Richmond and Mari Finley in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Judith Hart, who worked on the production as script supervisor, was the daughter of director Edward L. Cahn. The She-Creature marked the last film appearance of Luana Walters.
       Modern sources add the following actors to the cast: Suzanne Ridgeway and Harold Miller (Party guests); Edmund Cobb (Police sergeant), Kenner G. Kemp and Creighton Hale. Many modern sources refer to the 1967 television movie Creature of Destruction as a remake of The She-Creature. While Creature of Destruction is very similar in plot to The She-Creature, the screenplay for Creature of Destruction was written by Tony Huston, while the screenplay for The She-Creature was written by Lou Rusoff.