Cast & Crew
Bored and restless with the laid-back Hawaiian lifestyle, Lee Johnson participates in a gun supply robbery, which leads to the death of a guard. Fearful of arrest, Lee seeks help from his brother Chris, a naval veteran, who agrees to sail Lee with his accomplice Jim to the remote island of Raretu. On their way, a violent storm forces their schooner into a giant reef just beyond the island of Manikai, which is inhabited completely by women. After the schooner founders on the reef, they are threatened by sharks. Lee and Chris are then rescued by island diver Mahia, but Jim drowns. Although displeased by the men's arrival, the island's female leader, Dua, gives them their own cabin and advises them that the monthly launch will arrive in ten days to transport them off the island. Eager to find a way off of Manikai before the launch arrives, Lee questions Dua, who tells him that the island is isolated from civilation. Dua explains that the women are employed by an international company to dig clams for pearls, which are sold on the world market. After Dua comments that Lee and Chris were fortunate to survive Tangoroa, the destructive shark god of the reef, Lee dismisses the older woman's superstitions. Noticing Mahia's attraction to Chris, Lee encourages his brother to cultivate her friendship in hopes of discovering if there is a boat on the island. That evening, the women perform native dances, one of which tells the story of Lee and Chris's shipwreck. The harmony of the evening is shattered, however, when Chris accidentally breaks a lei offered by Mahia, after which Dua declares that the men are taboo and orders them to their cabin. The next morning, Lee insists that Chris seek out Mahia. When Chris finds her diving off a secluded beach, she admits that Dua ordered her there. Mahia explains that the broken lei indicates that Tangoroa has not been appeased by Jim's death and that the brothers' continued presence on the island is bad luck. After Chris walks Mahia back to the main camp, Lee excitedly informs him that he has discovered an outrigger they can use to escape. Chris hesitates, but when Dua rebukes him for his attentions to Mahia, he angrily agrees to leave with Lee as soon as possible. That night, drums and chanting awaken Chris, who investigates and finds the island women conducting a strange ritual. Dua prays to Tangoroa for forgiveness and declares that a purification ceremony will be held the next day. Confronting Mahia after the ritual, Chris learns that Dua believes that the god of death is angered that Mahia saved the brothers and must be appeased. Alarmed, Chris follows the women the next morning when they paddle several canoes to the reef and throw three bound women, including Mahia, overboard near a shark-infested area. Despite Dua's bitter protest, Chris spears a shark to rescue Mahia. While Chris takes the dazed Mahia to his cabin, Dua signals a nearby island by semaphore flag to call for a police launch. While the brothers work on the outrigger to make it seaworthy, Dua sneaks to the cabin to abduct Mahia. When she resists, Dua reveals she has summoned the police. Having fallen in love with Chris, Mahia warns him about the impending arrival of the officers. Panicked, Lee declares they must leave immediately and is angered when Chris asks Mahia to come with them. After she agrees, Lee declares that they must also take Dua to prevent her from informing on them. Mahia then sends Lee to the main building to retrieve a map of the remote islands. Upon entering the office, Lee searches for the pearls, and when seen by a guard, Lee takes the map and flees. The island women make an unsuccessful attempt to stop the men from taking Mahia and Dua out to sea, where the bound Dua accuses Lee of trying to steal the pearls. Chris decides the only way to navigate the reef successfully is to risk landing on it and await high tide, which will float them over in the safety of darkness. While the others wait on the reef, Lee declares he will find a high spot to watch for the police launch, then secretly swims back to Manikai. While Chris tells Mahia about Lee's involvement in the murder, Lee sneaks back to the camp office and steals the stash of pearls, then attacks the guard before leaving. On the reef, Dua cuts her bonds and swims back to the island. When Lee returns to the reef and finds Dua gone, he demands that they sail immediately. Angered by Lee's theft of the pearls and his callous assault of the female guard, Chris attacks his brother. Lee stuns Chris and attempts to flee in the outrigger, but becomes tangled in the mast rigging and falls overboard. As several sharks move in, Chris and Mahia rescue Lee, but when the pearls fall overboard, Lee attempts to reach them and is fatally attacked by sharks. With Tangoroa now appeased, Chris and Mahia decide to continue their journey together.
Ludwig H. Gerber
When Roger Corman needed to travel to shoot a film on location, he would put together a second feature that could be shot at the same location. This film was shot on the same location as Naked Paradise (1957). American International put this on the shelf for a year and a half before using it as part of one of their pre-packaged double features with Night of the Blood Beast (1958).
Working titles for the film were Shark Reef, Tangoroa and Shark Reef, USA. A written acknowledgment follows the opening credits: "The producers wish to thank the Territory of Hawaii, the Bishop Museum, and the people of the island of Kauai for their kindness and cooperation which has made this picture possible." Although a July 1956 Daily Variety news item identified She Gods of Shark Reef as a James O. Radford procution, he was not listed in the credits of the finished film. The film was shot in its entirety in Hawaii. Although it was released in 1958, it was shot in 1956, with the same crew and two common cast members as the 1957 American International Pictures release Naked Paradise. The film marked the debut of its stars, Bill Cord and Don Durant.
Released in United States Winter December 1958
Released in United States Winter December 1958