I think I probably started watching horror films the day I was born.
My childhood memories go back quite far - I can remember things that happened well before I started school. I don't remember the first horror movie I saw - in fact, I don't remember not knowing who Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Vincent Price were. (I also don't remember not knowing who Elvis was, but that's a story for another day).
Consquently, I don't remember the first time I saw Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, Hammer films - the list goes on. They just have been always a part of my life and the beginning of awareness of when my life started. And that makes me pretty damn happy.
But for whatever reason, I DO remember the first time I saw the Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman. I also remember my mom announcing with great excitement that it was going to be on TV. Also extremely unusual for me, is that I remember most of the plot as well. I'm not sure why the first time I saw this particular movie is so memorable to me - and for whatever reason, I haven't had the opportunity to see it in a very long time.
I also remember asking my mom (probably more than once) where the heck the 50 ft woman was when the movie started. Yes, my short attention span was already well in place. Show me the monsters, bitches!!!!
Our movie begins with the evening news and the report of some 'strange red fireball' that's been making its way around the planet.
Using sophisticated state of the art 'Finger Technology', the reporter shows us on his trusty globe all the places that the fireball has been seen, and then just by dragging his finger from the last place it was seen to North America, he's somehow able to tell us the exact time it will show up in our country.
The reason you don't see this spage age technology anymore is because the government bought it so they can use it in secret.
The movie wastes no time getting to the action as we see Nancy Archer (Allison Hayes) driving and screaming down the road. Guess this is what has her all messed up:
And this ain't helping matters either:
She runs back to town to find the sheriff and tell everyone what she's seen- of course nobody believes her. She also thinks that the giant tried to take the huge diamond around her neck. They just want to give her some coffee. You know us women, if we get upset, we're probably just drunk!
Then we find out what set her off to begin with - her jerk of a husband Harry (William Hudson) is at the local bar playing kissy face with his girlfriend, Honey (Yvette Vickers):
We also find out in short order that Nancy: has 50 million dollars, and has been in a sanitarium at least once. Well, you know what that means! Harry and his girlie friend decide in order to be together, all they need to do is just push her over the brink, lock her in 'the nuthouse', and then they can be together and enjoy Nancy's money. But they decide to play it all low key - which explains EXACTLY why they're discussing their plan in a crowded bar hanging all over each other.
The doctor comes in the morning, says it's all due to 'mental exhaustion' and alcohol, prescribes drugs and says another trip to the sanitarium would probably kill her. But somehow I'm not too worried about Nancy, a chick that dresses this great isn't going to have the wool pulled over her eyes easily:
Oh, look it's time for the news again:This man is completely incapable of connecting the dots.
Hey, it's the same dude with the magic finger! But now he's got some REAL news, he's reporting that Nancy (who we find out has the Star of India Diamond around her neck) is seeing flying saucers and alien giants! But, he reassures us, it's probably nothing - it's probably just a side effect of all the DRINKING she does.
Uh - didn't this dude just tell us that a big flying FREAKING FIREBALL was directly on its way to us???
Nancy decides she needs to prove to everyone that she's not crazy or drunk. She tells her butler to get the car and her revolver, because we're going on an alien hunt!
No surprise, they're successful:I'm sure at this point, the preschooler me was all, That is NOT a fifty foot LADY!!!!
Well, turns out I still had to wait through the rest of the story which involves radioactivity (because of course it does, things are growing out of control, people!)
And then we see a REALLY big hand......and Nancy's crack medical team deciding the only thing they can do is chain her up and sedate her.Finally, FINALLY, after more sedatives and nursing care and blaming all of Nancy's issues on reaching the 'age of maturity' (YES! GO MENOPAUSE!!!!) and an investigation of the spaceship which leads to cool shots like this:
Yes, FINALLY, in the whole last TEN MINUTES of the movie, we're rewarded with a REAL. LIVE. FIFTY. FOOT. WOMAN.
That looks like shit.
Lord knows my little black heart beats fast every time I see the zipper in the monster's back - and I will take a cheesy rubber space alien any day over a CGI anything....but even as much as I heart that kind of thing - I have to admit that 50 Ft Woman is really, really disappointing. For one thing, I can see right through her, and the same shot of her walking is used about a half dozen times.
Although there are times that props were built and she looks pretty damn righteous:
However, sometimes the props are pretty shiteous - as in this scene, when it's obvious that the prop that's supposed to be her husband is so badly made that it's always kept out of frame - except for this shot when it's very clear that the fake body doesn't even have feet:But I'm not ripping on the movie - I still had a great time watching it and now I finally understand why I was so impatient about when the big tall lady was going to show up. I remembered a lot about this movie but I definitely didn't remember that she was only in the last ten minutes of the movie. It would have been great if they'd given her even five more minutes to really tear up the crappy town that just wanted to give her coffee and blame everything on her hot flashes!
All in all, a perfect movie for a Saturday afternoon, and a great trip down memory lane.