The Vengeance of She provides a remarkable example of just how weird the movie ratings system was in its earliest days. The film is rated G, yet features a man attempting to sexually assault a woman, a buxom blonde main character who typically appears in various states of undress, a human sacrifice, an impaling, and several stabbings. You know – good old-fashioned family entertainment! Scream Factory brings this enjoyably nutty 1968 feature to Blu-ray on Feb. 26. You really have to see it to believe it.
The heroine is a beautiful woman named Carol (Olinka Berova). She is following the voices in her head that call her “Ayesha” and seem to be guiding her toward an unknown location. Along the way, she meets a psychiatrist, Dr. Philip Smith (Edward Judd), who feels sorry for her and attempts to help. Together, they make an arduous trek to the lost city of Kuma. The city's king, Killikrates (John Richardson), believes that Carol is the reincarnation of his beloved queen Ayesha. However, a high priest has a secret plan to deceive Killikrates and achieve immortality through her.
There is so much to digest in this film. Let's just say that Olinka Berova was not hired for her acting ability. She's humorously blank, rarely seeming to feel at home reciting dialogue. On the other hand, she does fulfill the requirement of walking around in revealing costumes. The Vengeance of She is, in many respects, something that was created solely for titillation. You can practically hear the filmmakers asking each other how they can come up with one more scene designed to show off her body.
Elsewhere, the film's cuckoo plot allows for cheerfully cheap special effects and sets. In one scene, Berova and Judd are shown entering a real cave. Then, in the next shot, they are standing inside what is clearly a set. Yes, that was the style of the pre-CGI era. Other films of the time were pulling such things off more seamlessly, though.
The plot builds to what is supposed to be a dramatic confrontation between Philip and Killikrates for control of Carol's mind. The sexual politics of this movie are obviously out of date. Women are sex objects and men make the decisions for them. The Vengeance of She's finale might seem offensive today, were it not for the pervasive goofiness of what transpires.
It's also rather amusing that the title suggests Carol will exact a form of revenge at some point. So does the poster image, which finds her wielding a whip next to a tagline that claims she “brings kingdoms to their downfall and men to their knees.” Nothing even remotely close to that happens because she's a wholly passive character, so what the title and marketing refer to is a tantalizing mystery.
The Vengeance of She is not very good, but it is bizarre/cheesy/goofy in a way that's entertaining to watch. Gather a few friends and prepare for a fun talk-back-to-the-screen experience.
Scream Factory's Blu-ray comes with a new 2K scan of the original film elements, plus audio commentary by the Monster Party podcast hosts Matt Weinhold, Shawn Sheridan, Larry Strothe, and James Gonis.
Supplemental materials include a 3-minute interview with assistant director Terence Clegg. He mostly talks about what a jerk Edward Judd was to the crew and how everyone hated him. In separate interviews visual effects artist Joy Cuff discusses the FX work, and clapper/loader Trevor Coop reminisces about working with director Cliff Owen.
Also present is a half-hour episode of World of Hammer that looks at the British studio's films (including this one) that have elements of previous time periods. The theatrical trailer, two TV spots, and a still gallery are here, as well.
For more information on this and other great titles, please visit the Scream Factory website.
The Vengeance of She is (inexplicably) rated G. The running time is 1 hour and 41 minutes.