Catching up on classics is my favorite thing to do during Blog Free or Die Hard month, and this one has been leaving an approximately 50 foot hole in my heart.
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
Where to Watch:
The Uncondensed Version:
It’s not a good time to be in 1950s California—for more reasons than one. The primary reason being a comet rapidly speeding towards the area, which turns out be a…glowing alien orb? With a giant alien ghost who has a fondness for diamonds. But I’m getting ahead of myself. To understand the complex drama unfolding in this film, let’s back up just a little bit.
Nancy Archer is the first person in town to stumble across the crashed UFO, having just stormed angrily out of the bar where her husband, Harry, was sleazily flirting with his mistress. Harry would leave his wife except that would mean sacrificing her inheritance and the cushy life he’s grown accustomed to. As Nancy has a vague history of mental illness, including a sanatorium stay following violent headaches and…falling down(?), it wouldn’t take much for Harry to get her committed for good.
Conveniently, Nancy runs to the police to report her alien sighting, where she is pretty much dismissed as a raving drunk. And cautioned against wearing diamonds because they might tempt thieves. Fucking hell. Is it any wonder she’s going to get super angry (spoiler)?
Nancy and Harry obviously have a really unhealthy relationship—if unclear before her return home, it is written out when Harry confronts her. Harry threatens to leave her, which is what supposedly drove her crazy before. In a really condescending scene, he tucks her in for bed and goes out drinking again.
However, Nancy’s rest is short-lived as the local news is giving a lot of attention to her alien sighting and making pretty fucking rude jokes about finally finding a man to love her. Fuck off, men. Determined to prove her sanity, she goes out to the desert and encounters the alien once again. Her encounter with the alien leaves her in a coma due to radiation…(?) for some reason. It also turns her into (spoiler spoiler spoiler) a 50 foot woman.
Mandatory scientist with a pipe and incomprehensible German try to figure out what’s going on, reaching the conclusion that women who mature become irrational like middle-aged men. JFC, dudes. To cure her, they will need Harry’s permission to operate. Urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.
In spite of Harry’s best efforts, Nancy does finally wake up and all hell breaks loose.
3/5 Pink Panther Heads
This is one of the early examples in horror where you are just waiting for a specific character to die…but honestly the payoff doesn’t feel worth it. No one is supposed to come off squeaky clean in this one (at least none of our 3 leads), though my biggest problem with Nancy is that she didn’t crush more skulls. I really wanted her rampage to be more satisfying and I would have been okay with more or potentially all men dying. In painful ways, which makes me feel conflicted about the person I’ve become.
Frankly, for a movie entitled Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, the aforementioned 50 foot woman really has very little screen time, and her attack is quite mild. Does not live up to the poster. Next time I’d like her to destroy the foundations of our society or at least raze an entire town.