Tuesday, March 10, 2020

By the Gods!

Quin Kessler, David Goss and Sandahl Bergman, as She, in SHE (1984)

A story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, which means anything goes, including Roman-like cults, gladiator sword fights in an arena, laboratory experiments, and killer life-size toys/robots. It's a mish-mash of every type of genre with a decidedly PEPLUM template.

The story, or whatever story this movie has, is about two hunky men, played by David Goss (Tom, the blond fellow) and Harrison Muller (Dick, the dark-haired one), who are on a quest to find Tom's sister. Tom believes the goddess known as SHE (Sandahl Bergman) knows her whereabouts. In a very convoluted way, they eventually kidnap She and their quest begins. In their never-ending series of bizarre pitfalls, they have to defeat the Norks, lead by the evil Hector (Gordon Mitchell).

The story is not as linear as this synopsis. Take my word for it.

David Goss' career went nowhere (he's a bad actor in this) but he looks the part. As for Harrison Muller, PEPLUM fans will recognize him since he also starred in THRONE OF FIRE (1983), and 2020 TEXAS GLADIATORS (1983). Harrison has a cult-following of sorts these days. Whatever happened to him?

Sandahl's character is simply named She. Of course, this recalls the novel SHE written by H. Rider Haggard. At the beginning of the movie, we see people bending over in devotion, crying out "SHE!" while the goddess inspects bound men (above). And that's as far as connection this movie has to the story of Ayesha, She-who-must-be-obeyed. She is part of Amazonian tribe that controls the populace. Tom and Dick are the monkey wrenches that throw everything upside down.

It's not quite clear why the men are bound and displayed for her: for her to fight or to make love with, or both. Suffice it to say, Tom ends up being captured (before he and Dick capture She! I know it's confusing!) and goes through a task which is straight out of THOR & THE AMAZON WOMEN (below ; 1963).

The movie was made in Italy and pretty much follows all the familiar plot devices and set-ups from a gazillion previous PEPLUM movies, old or new. Instead of keeping it entirely set in Antiquity, the producers thought that a post-apocalyptic world would be more cool to audiences back then (and cheaper to make as well).

Sandahl, straight from the success of CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982) is the star of this Rocambolesque production. Lets be honest here, the story just doesn't make much sense. It's like the producers and writers watched dozens and dozens of old PEPLUM movies, and subsequently watched MAD MAX (1979), while high on drugs, and regurgitated this thing. It's feels like a TROMA production even though it's not one. The scene on the bridge with the man who keeps replicating himself has to be seen to be believed and one of the most TROMA-like moments outside of a TROMA production.

The movie is filled with PEPLUM clichés, including the crushing wall, with She and Dick trying to keep it from crushing them to death. In another scene, Sandahl takes a bath, in the nude, like a typical Bathing Beauty cliché in PEPLUM movies.

A bored looking Gordon Mitchell plays the evil Hector, ruler of the Norks. We hear his real voice in this. His voice was very monotonous and without emotional inflection. If his voice was the same when he made his old PEPLUM movies, it's good that he was dubbed.

Tom and Dick end up meeting a cult-like group headed by David Brandon, who played Caligula in CALIGULA 2: THE UNTOLD STORY (1982). Brandon injects some much needed liveliness, and acting, to the production. This group turns out to be more trouble to the two men than they could ever imagine. Also, this scene seems to be straight out of ZARDOZ (1974)

Is this movie good? No. It's pretty silly and a mess even though the movie actually follows through with the boring "I'm trying to find my sister'" story all the way to the end, it's more or less just a series of disjointed scenes edited together. I honestly didn't care for the story. I just watched it for the plentiful PEPLUM elements, including the beefcake and cheesecake, and seeing Gordon Mitchell in familiar settings.

3 out of 10. As a 'it's so bad it's good', I give it a...5. For the fleshy cast, I give it a 7. lol!

I have the Blu-ray version of it.


Scott Ochiltree said...

Sounds truly terrible. Thank goodness is is so different from the classic 1935 Marian C. Cooper SHE that it does not really detract from it.

The 1935 SHE is available for free on Amazon Prime's video streaming service.

Anonymous said...

Is this the movie where they bath in a life restoring "hot tub"?

PEPLUM TV said...

"Is this the movie where they bath in a life restoring "hot tub"?"