Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)

“It’s real — it’s real! I’m not crazy; I did see it!”

Synopsis:
When the alcoholic wife (Allison Hayes) of a philandering lout (William Hudson) is exposed to radiation and grows 50 feet tall, she seeks revenge on both her husband and his lover (Yvette Vickers).

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Response to Peary’s Review:
Along with many others, Peary refers to this infamously titled bad sci-fi film as “laughable camp”, generously labeling its shoddy special effects simply “amusing” (they’re not; they’re horribly disappointing). Peary argues that “the film could be taken as a feminist treatise, in which a woman who has been suppressed… and maltreated breaks free of her bonds and, too angry to talk things out, gives her cheating husband his just deserts” — but then concedes that “most of the fun comes from watching statuesque Hayes run around in a scanty outfit”. Sadly, this is actually true; the problem is that we only see her in her impressive giantess form for the last ten minutes of the movie. Until then, the rest of the film is a rather laughably B-level tale of marital infidelity, with Hudson and Vickers (a truly conniving pair of bastards, if there ever was one) plotting to murder Hayes for her money. This is a film that one simply wishes was more fun than it is.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Allison Hayes lumbering on her rampage at 50 feet tall; too bad there’s less than 10 minutes of this footage

Must See?
Yes, simply for its undeniable notoriety.

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3 Responses to “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)”

  1. A once-must as a well-known cult item.

    Along with many other cheaply made sci-fi/horror films of the same decade, such as ‘Them!’, ‘Attack…’ was often shown on tv when I was kid. Seemed like every time you turned around, there it was. So I became rather familiar with its awfulness.

    Of course, it’s been decades since then and – having just watched it again – I must say I find it to be what a cult flick should be. Nathan Hertz’s direction is not bad at all, considering what he’s working with. And the story moves along well enough in its loopy way; there’s no real time wasted in the 65 minutes.

    If you compare Hayes’ work here with her performance in ‘The Undead’, you might notice that she’s not particularly incompetent. She delivers a capable B-performance in a B-movie. I actually find her – as well as the rest of the cast – reasonably enjoyable throughout: goofy as heck, but enjoyable. (One fave bit has Hayes watching the local news – when the news reporter suddenly decides to comment on her troubled personal life! This is news?!)

    Of course, the film doesn’t really make a lick of sense: seems some giant, genie-like alien drives this giant ball of a satellite, which has been on a non-stop, international course, and he has decided to kind of set up camp in this one California town in order to gather the rare jewels necessary to keep the satellite energized and… well, ANYWHO… the movie works well on its secondary level of revenge drama. Or is it a cautionary tale?: don’t let what happened to Nancy and Harry happen to YOU! 😉

  2. I do see your point(s) here… And I’m willing to concede it may be a once-must, for exactly the reasons you state. You’re right that Hayes is quite competent, and that time isn’t really wasted in the film’s economical running time — but I couldn’t help feeling majorly gypped that Hayes’ character doesn’t get more screentime in her impressive giantess form (other than that laughably LAME papier-mache hand).

  3. My must vote has more to do with the unique ridiculousness of the entire film. As I said, it had been a long time since seeing it. It’s sometimes the case that you return to such a film as this (not that there *is* such a film exactly like this – which is part of the point) and find that it has no value at all and is a total waste of time. Surprisingly, I was swept up in its cult-worthy-ness all over again.

    I find Peary’s suggestion of a “feminist treatise” over-analytical. Sometimes a B-movie is just a B-movie. Probably more often than not.

    And I think what makes Hayes’ last ten minutes as the giantess so effective is the character she has been building all along – she does get quite a bit of screen time in her regular form; and her pent-up rage in that form gets its payoff when she actually becomes a real figure to be reckoned with. Or, as the case is, impossible to reckon with.

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