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Film / The She-Creature

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The She-Creature is an American International Pictures horror film from 1956, originally released in a double-feature package with It Conquered the World.

Inspired by the success of the best-selling book The Search for Bridey Murphy, this movie employs a premise similar to The Undead — using hypnosis to regress a woman back to one of her past lives. This is being performed by Dr. Carlo Lombardi, a slimy, repulsive stage performer with hypnotic mojo and a chip on his shoulder. Lombardi happens to be keeping a woman, Andrea, against her will as the star of his "past-life regression" act. On the side, he's trolling the local police about a series of mysterious murders happening around the carnival as he predicts each one. The lead detective can tell he's guilty but he's always got an ironclad alibi.

Timothy Chappel, a slumming businessman who hears about Lombardi's predictions, decides to make him into the next big thing. Predicting each of the continuing murders works wonders for publicity. It turns out that Lombardi uses Andrea to summon the titular She-Creature (supposedly a previous incarnation of her, from prehistoric times!) to emerge from the ocean and start killing people. It's up to the newly minted Love Interest of Lombardi's thrall, a calm "psychical" researcher named Ted Erickson, to save the day. Can he prevail?

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

The She-Creature contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abhorrent Admirer:
  • Agent Scully: Professor Anderson, the scientist who accompanies Dr. Erickson to a demonstration of Lombardi's powers. It's one thing to have curtains or windows close, but when an invisible force removes your glasses from your face, to dismiss it as "absolutely meaningless" without further investigation is scientifically unsound.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: Throughout the whole movie all the others characters think that Lombardi is just a creepy con-artist who is keeping Andrea enslaved, and all his magic tricks are just tricks, and that he might be committing the murders himself. Turns out that he does have psychic powers and a monster he summoned was committing the murders all along.
    Lombardi: Do you believe now!? Kill him!
  • As You Know: In the form of actual "maid and butler" dialogue as two Ethnic Menial Labor servants comment on everything going on at a party.
  • Expy:
  • Hellhound: King the dog briefly becomes this after being hypnotized by Lombardi.
  • Heroic Willpower: Andrea begins showing resistance to Lombardi's hypnosis near the end.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Lombardi should've known better than to try to have the monster kill her current incarnation's love interest.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: For all the power Lombardi has over Andrea the one thing he can't do is make her love him, so much so that she instantly snaps out of his control when he tries to make a move on her. This both infuriates him and makes him want her even more.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Despite being some amalgamation of fish and reptile, the She-Creature has a pair of highly visible lumps on her upper chest.
  • That Poor Plant: Dorothy's alcoholic Abhorrent Admirer pours out the contents of his drink on the landscaping as a sign of good faith to her after she was formally dumped by Dr. Ted.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Lombardi moves in to Mr. Chappel's house as soon as their partnership begins and immediately starts abusing his host's hospitality. Timothy eventually orders Lombardi to leave; the hypnotist doesn't take it well.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: After the She-Creature fatally wounds Lombardi, he frees Andrea from her trance with his dying breath, and even gives her one last command to make her immune to any attempts at hypnosis in the future to boot!
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Lombardi's entire motivation. He tries to kill people who wronged or humiliated him in some way, and goes out of his way to taunt both the respectable scientist hero and the skeptical police detective with the evidence of his hypnotic powers.