THE VENGEANCE OF SHE. (1968) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

THE VENGEANCE OF SHE. (1968) A HAMMER FILMS-SEVEN ARTS PRODUCTION BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY H. RIDER HAGGARD. DIRECTED BY CLIFF OWEN. STARRING OLINKA BEROVA, EDWARD JUDD, JOHN RICHARDSON, DEREK GODFREY AND ANDRE MORELL.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This fantasy adventure film is a sequel to the 1965 Hammer film, SHE, starring Bond Girl Ursula Andress in the titular role. The original SHE ends with Ayesha, the immortal queen-goddess of the ancient lost city of Kuma, accidentally and horribly dying in the immortal flame after waiting several thousand years to be re-united with the love of her life, the blond stud known as Kallikrates. Now, ain’t that a kick in the head…?

Now, Kallikrates is the One Who Waits, and in this instance it’s Ayesha he’s waiting for. In a parallel universe somewhere, in modern day Europe, the most beautiful girl alive, an unknown quantity called Carol, wanders through the countryside looking for something, but she doesn’t know what it is or how to find it.

She’s the image of Ayesha, though, the ancient goddess-queen, and strange voices and faces in her dreams are constantly trying to pull Carol back to Kuma, where Kallikrates waits impatiently for her.

It’s enough to drive a girl insane, so it is, but don’t worry. She has her very own personal shrinky-dink, in the form of beefcake Edward Judd’s character, Philip. He’s completely besotted with Carol, and he’s prepared to follow her anywhere, even all the way back to ancient Kuma, if necessary.

Here, however, only pain and sadness awaits Philip if Carol gets with Kallikrates, believing her to be his love, Ayesha, even though she’s just a lookalike found for Kallikrates by his crooked minister, Men-hari, for some reason. Men-hari is after immortality himself, so it’s probably something to do with that. If I don’t know, it’s because the plot is confusing and a tad nonsensical, lol.

Watching Carol on her travels is a lot like following Barbie on a round-the-world journey. First we have Barbie Fleeing in Terror From A Potential Rapist in the European countryside, next here’s Barbie on a yacht in the Mediterranean, and then here’s Captive Barbie In The Desert, being pulled along behind a camel without so much as a change of expression.

Next, there’s Bath-time Fun Barbie, then we have immortal goddess-queen Barbie in her Ursula Andress-as-She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed get-up. Now, here’s Kissing Barbie, now we have Barbie Runs Away From Collapsing Civilisation, and that’s about it. Olinka Berova is better-looking than Ursula Andress, in my humble opinion, and I can’t believe she didn’t become a household name like Andress or Raquel Welch.

There’s a lot of stuff in the movie involving plotting ministers and enchanted spells and ceremonies, but it was all so boring I didn’t really follow it all. Familiar Hammer faces co-star, like cuddly Andre Morell (THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES) and lovely Irish actor Noel Willman (THE REPTILE, KISS OF THE VAMPIRE).

But Barbie steals the show here, for what it’s worth, and she’ll probably be the main thing I remember about this rather dodgy film, which, by the way, for a movie called THE VENGEANCE OF SHE surprisingly doesn’t involve anyone of that name exacting revenge upon anyone for any reason. They should probably have called the film BARBIE DOES KUMA and been done with it…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.

THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES. (1966) A HAMMER CLASSIC REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES. (1966) A SEVEN ARTS/HAMMER FILM PRODUCTION. DIRECTED BY JOHN GILLING. PRODUCED BY ANTHONY NELSON KEYS. MUSIC BY JAMES BERNARD.

STARRING ANDRE MORELL, BROOK WILLIAMS, DIANE CLARE, JACQUELINE PEARCE, MICHAEL RIPPER AND JOHN CARSON.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is a top-notch zombie horror film from Hammer Film Productions, the company that brought us such cinematic gems as the 1958 DRACULA starring Christopher Lee and THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) with Peter Cushing.

Sir James Forbes is an eminent English physician, beautifully played by Andre Morell, who also portrayed Dr. Watson for Hammer in THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (1959) and Professor Bernard Quatermass for the BBC television serial QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (1958-1959).

Sir James is disturbed in August 1860 to get a letter from a former student of his, who is now the local doctor in a small Cornish village. People have been dying from a mysterious plague in the village and the doctor, Peter Tompson, wants the advice of his former professor and mentor.

Sir James will jolly well go one better than that. He’ll go to Cornwall and see what’s up for himself. He is accompanied by his beautiful blonde daughter, Sylvia, who just so happens to be old pals with the doctor’s wife, the equally beautiful brunette, Alice, played by Jacqueline Pearce (THE REPTILE).

When Sir James and Sylvia arrive at the Cornish village, they are just in time to see the funeral of the latest plague victim being interrupted by a crowd of red-coated yobbos hunting a fox.

At the Tompsons’ house, they find Alice pale, unhealthy-looking, with a bandaged cut on her wrist, and extremely ill at ease. Then, in the local tavern, Sir James finds the young Dr. Tompson being harangued by the locals for his apparent inability to diagnose the cause of death in the plague victims.

Dear old Hammer regular Michael Ripper, for once, isn’t behind the bar at the local tavern, pulling pints and dispensing local gossip and homespun wisdom in equal measure.

In this film, he’s playing the copper who catches Sir James and Dr. Tompson digging up the corpse of the most recent plague victim, in the hopes of finding out what killed him.

Autopsies are banned by order of the local Squire Clive Hamilton, you see, which is a little strange. Why wouldn’t the Squire want to find out what’s been killing off his villagers and tenants?

Well, maybe if he was part of the reason they’ve been dropping like flies and disappearing from their coffins, he’d be anxious not to have his handiwork laid out in a laboratory while a surgeon takes a pizza cutter to the cadavers’ big, juicy delicious brains, nom-nom-nom…

When Alice’s corpse is found on the moors, as dead as the proverbial dodo, Sir James and the distraught widower decide to have a peep in her coffin. (The graveyard is the same one from THE REPTILE, by the way.) They won’t forget what they see in a hurry. It’s enough to give the poor bereaved hubby nightmares…

Meanwhile, the lovely Sylvia, Sir James’s pride and joy (though he hides his love beneath a gruff exterior), who earlier has narrowly avoided being gang-raped by the members of the local hunt (shades of Sir Hugo and his cronies in THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, much?), is being targeted by the evil Squire for his own secret, nefarious purposes.

A cut on her finger engineered by the cunning toff and all of a sudden she’s chanting Haitian voodoo mantras, to the alarm of young Dr. Thompson. Is Sylvia doomed to spend the rest of her existence as one of Squire Hamilton’s mindless zombies, performing his evil bidding (whatever that is) for all eternity, or will the two medics work out what’s going on and rush to the rescue? The dénouement is shockingly dramatic.

The scenery, costumes and settings are all gorgeous, as usual (you wouldn’t expect anything less from Hammer, whose standards and production values were always of a super-high quality), and Andre Morell is absolutely superb in the lead role, showing the younger ones how it’s done in a way that older actors don’t always get to do.

The film will put you very much in mind of WHITE ZOMBIE (1932), in which the magnificent Bela Lugosi, playing the wonderfully-named Murder Legendre, turns Haitian natives into zombies for the sole purpose of employing them as free labour in his sugar cane mill.

The idea of using zombies as unpaid workers, as you will see here, is by no means a new one, and it certainly saves you from having to engage with any annoying union reps. It may also remind you, to a certain extent, of other early zombie films such as I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943) and THE DEAD ONE (1961), otherwise known as BLOOD OF THE ZOMBIE. I’m delighted especially to have this last one in my possession, as it was once considered to be a lost film.

I don’t love THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES as much as I do THE REPTILE (I really love THE REPTILE!), but it’s still a bloody good horror film, some say one of Hammer’s finest productions. Don’t miss out on seeing it under any circumstances.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.