The She-Creature

The She-Creature, or The She Creature, is a 1956 American black-and-white science fiction horror film, released by American International Pictures from a script by Lou Rusoff (brother-in-law of AIP executive Samuel Z. Arkoff). It was produced by Alex Gordon, directed by Edward L. Cahn, and stars Chester Morris, Marla English, and Tom Conway. The monster costume was created by master make-up artist Paul Blaisdell and is considered one of his best.[1]

The She Creature
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEdward L. Cahn
Produced byAlex Gordon
Israel M Berman
Samuel Z. Arkoff
Written byLou Rusoff
StarringChester Morris
Marla English
Tom Conway
Cathy Downs
Music byRonald Stein
CinematographyFrederick E. West
Edited byRonald Sinclair
Golden State Productions
Distributed byAmerican International Pictures
Release date
  • July 25, 1956 (1956-07-25)
Running time
77 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film was released by AIP as a double feature with It Conquered the World[2].


Dr. Carlo Lombardi (Chester Morris), a carnival hypnotist, conducts experiments in hypnotic regression that take his unwitting female subject Andrea Talbott (Marla English) to a past life as a prehistoric humanoid form of sea life. He uses the physical manifestation of the prehistoric creature to commit murders.



The story was inspired by the success of the best-selling book The Search for Bridey Murphy, which concerned hypnotism. Exhibitor Jerry Zigmond suggested this subject might make a good film, and AIP commissioned Lou Rusoff to write a script.[3]

AIP did not have enough money to entirely finance the film, so the company asked Gordon if he could contribute the remainder. Israel Berman, a colleague of Gordon's brother Richard, knew financier Jack Doppelt, who agreed to provide $40,000 of the film's $104,000 budget.[3]

Edward Cahn persuaded his old friend Edward Arnold to play the hypnotist[4] for $3,000 for one week's work, and also cast Peter Lorre. Arnold died two days before production, prompting Lorre to read the script, after which he pulled out of the film. The producer had to find a substitute cast quickly.[5]


Gordon, who deferred his $2,500 producer's fee until the film returned its cost, said that the movie was profitable a year and half after its release.[3]


Author and film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film 2 out of 4 stars, calling it "slow and preposterous but effectively moody, with one of Paul Blaisdell's more memorable monsters".[6] On his website Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings, Dave Sindelar wrote, "There is a clever concept behind this attempt to combine the Bridey Murphy concept with a monster movie; unfortunately, a poor script and some ineffectual acting hamstring the attempt".[7] TV Guide awarded the film 1 out of 4 stars, writing, "Some interesting concepts were touched on, but quickly pushed to the background in the name of plot development, which in this case is one cliche after another".[8] Dennis Schwartz from Ozus' World Movie Reviews awarded the film a grade of C, calling it "Amusing hokum".[9]


In 1967, American International commissioned Larry Buchanan to remake the film in color for television, retitled as Creature of Destruction.

The original film was later featured in an episode of Cinema Insomnia,[10] as well as in the movie-mocking television show Mystery Science Theater 3000.


  2. McGee, Mark Thomas; Robertson, R.J. (2013). "You Won't Believe Your Eyes". Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-273-2. Page 254
  3. Tom Weaver, Science Fiction Confidential: Interviews with 23 Monster Stars and Filmmakers McFarland, 1 Jan 2002 p 123-126 access 18 April 2014
  4. Drama: Actor Arnold Signs for 'She Creature' Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 25 Apr 1956: 34.
  5. Mark McGee, Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures, McFarland, 1996 p54-56
  6. Leonard Maltin; Spencer Green; Rob Edelman (January 2010). Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide. Plume. pp. 589–590. ISBN 978-0-452-29577-3.
  7. Sindelar, Dave. "The She-Creature (1956)". Dave Sindelar. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  8. "The She-Creature - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TV TV Guide. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  9. Schwartz, Dennis. "shecreature". Dennis Schwartz. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  10. "Cinema Insomnia, with your Horror Host, Mister Lobo! - SHOW INFORMATION". Archived from the original on March 28, 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2010.


  • Warren, Bill. Keep Watching The Skies Vol. I: 1950–1957. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1982. ISBN 0-89950-032-3.
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