Classic Reflections: Attack of the 50-Foot Woman

Today's Classic Reflection B-movie review is about Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman! (1958). This is a guest review by our classic's expert, Sybil Vasche, with an occasional editorial injection from yours truly.


Not quite the queen of B-movies, Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman! has definitely attained a cult following giving it a special status in the genre, and our hearts. Even the poster is a pop icon, showing a scantily clad (for that era) Allison Hayes straddling a freeway, car in one hand, reaching out for another, her face calm and disdainful.  Sadly, this scene is no where to be found in the movie.  I've often wondered about how this movie was pitched to the studio by the producers, writer, and/or director:  "Well, you see, we have this giant woman, she's very sexy, and she goes on a rampage, did I mention she's an alcoholic and wearing a bedspread?"  Maybe they made the poster first and then ran out of money and therefore couldn't film that particular scene? 

The plot concerns poor little rich girl, Nancy Archer (Allison Hayes) who has a douche-bag husband, Harry (William Hudson), who is cheating on her with a much younger bimbo, Honey Parker (Yvette Vickers) who hangs out at the local bar.

Nancy has a history of mental illness and alcoholism but she has lots of beautiful money that Harry is still in love with.  One night Nancy takes off down the lonely highway in her car when she comes upon a glowing red "satellite" in the road.  A giant looking man in a loincloth reaches out for her, but he doesn't say anything.  She goes back to the small town, but no one believes her. (The 'town' seems to be composed of a bar and a phone booth.)

Harry, with the urging of Honey, begins a nasty plan to use this latest proof of her instability to put her back in the "booby hatch" so he can take her money and run off with his bimbo.   But  Nancy  talks him into driving out to the spot where she saw the giant.  He goes, and they both see the "satellite."  But when the giant comes out, Harry, with typical weenie behavior, runs away, leaving Nancy to fend for herself.  Later she is found unconscious on the roof of her house and sedated by her doctor - yes, back in the old days doctors made house calls.  Afterwards she begins to grow and grow and grow. And then she gets really mad. 

Allison Hayes, who started out as a model and was Miss WDC in the 1949 Miss American pageant never really gained stardom, but she did have a few good roles in lesser known movies and later TV shows.

Actor William Hudson is a familiar face to those brought up watching TV in the fifties and sixties. He was in Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, I led Three Lives and also Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and the classic Batman series.

Director Nathan Juran started out as an art director, even wining the Oscar in that category for How Green Was My Valley (1941).  But he ended up directing some of the more bizarre B-movies in later years, such as The Deadly Mantis (MS3TK ripped this one), The Brain from Planet Arous and the 7th Voyage of Sinbad (which was one of his better efforts).

This movie is very low budget, but it's got a certain stale charm.  The trailer for the movie says "The most grotesque monstrosity ever!" and they weren't kidding.  Thankfully for us it's just a a few minutes over an 1 hour.  It's filmed in black and white, and I must warn you of the bad dancing and questionable music. The flick could be a center piece for a party while the gang can get all MST3K on it.   Just try not to talk over the dialog too much or you might miss an important plot element.

Try not to laugh too hard at the trailer, with it's "desire for death and desire!"

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