H. Rider Haggard’s She, A History of Adventure pretty much set the rules for the Lost World genre and presented a white goddess warrior queen named Ayesha who rules a kingdom in the middle of Africa. It’s been adapted many times for the screen, starting in 1899 with Georges Méliès’ The Pillar of Fire. Probably the best-known version is the 1965 Hammer film, She, which features Ursula Andress, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and John Richardson.
This movie? It’s inspired by She but if you were expecting something close to the book — or something normal — you’ve picked the wrong film.
This movie is a quest, or a series of quests, and it’s packed with fully realized worlds and costumes that are on screen long enough to get you invested before they go away. It’s literally a Jack Kirby Fourth World comic come to celluloid realization with none of Kirby’s storytelling panache. Sandahl Bergman (Conan the Barbarian) plays She, who is traveling with Tom and Dick (Harrison Muller, 2020 Texas Gladiators), two brothers looking to save their kidnapped sister. Shandra, She’s sidekick, comes along too.
There are werewolves who just want to fuck. Nazis who just want to kill. Communist mutants with mental powers who just want to do BDSM whip torture to She. Mummies with chainsaws. The film alludes to the fact that its 23 years after Cancellation, a nuclear war, so it’s post-apocalyptic whole also referencing sword and sorcery, yet it was made before Conan turned Italian film backlots into ancient carbon copies of Cimmeria. It is one weird film, never sure if it wants to be a comedy or an action film.
Honestly, have you ever played Dungeons & Dragons on LSD? This is how I imagine that this movie was created. They just got people in a room, got them high and gave them a few D10s and a Monster Manual.
This is all directed by Avi Nesher, who brought us the batshit crazy Doppelganger with Drew Barrymore before becoming a critical darling in his home country of Israel. Obviously, this movie is not one he’d care to bring up.
Also, this movie is packed with strange music choices, like a song from Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues during the credits, along with contributions by Motörhead and Rick Wakeman.
Have I properly conveyed just how strange this all is? Then you’re probably wishing you could see it. The gray market and YouTube are your friends. Yes, in a world where nearly everything gets a blu-ray high-end release, this one remains unreleased.