She (1984) — A really weird road trip through the apocalypse

“You two will die a horribly painful death in their hands. They are experts on pain.”

Justin’s rating: Often, my life breaks out in random rock-and-roll sequences while I fight for my life

Justin’s review: There are a lot of movies based on books, but not too many of them take an 1887 adventure novel and turn it into a post-apocalyptic tale involving mutants, mummies, and Nazis. Yet that’s exactly what She is, taking the novel’s nameless protagonist and transplanting her from the African interior to the post-nuclear wasteland. It kinda works.

It’s 23 years after “The Cancellation,” which is this movie universe’s way of saying “planetwide nuclear war,” and the remaining tribes of humanity aren’t completely removed from the knowledge of the society that came before. Seriously, it’s downright refreshing to see a post-apoc movie where the references to former civilization is more than muscle cars and revolvers. Here, we’ve got repurposed football helmets, cereal boxes, Frankenstein robots, and typewriters popping up as some of the castoffs of the life before.

Anyway, in this world, a trio of traders are having a hard time making it. Tom and his pal Dick get the ever-loving crud kicked out of them by a gang of Nazis (“Norks” here) while Dick’s sister is stolen. Then the boys get captured by another clan of female warriors led by a goddess simply referred to as She (Sandahl Bergman). After some mild torture and escapism, the boys convince She to help them rescue the girl.

All of this, by the way, is taking place to some pretty jammin’ rock music. She’s soundtrack is just as metal as the lead character herself and a good indication that this movie doesn’t take itself seriously at all. In fact, it gets really flipping weird the further it goes, which is just fine with me. I’ve been bored by way too many post-apoc movies, so one that throws robots, hot tub oracles, vampires, chainsaws, mutants, werewolves, communist monks, telepathy, regenerating limbs, poolside poets, Green Acres, and even more at me is hunky dory.

She isn’t a slick movie, mind you; this production is littered with continuity errors, acting gaffes, and cheap effects. But when it comes to something like this, it’s more charming than detracting. I mean, you’re laughing anyway, so why not lump together the intentional with the unintentional silliness?

If you couldn’t tell, I absolutely dig this flick — and I’m rather surprised I never heard of it before now. Maybe it’s the dull title or the Conan-esque poster, but this movie could’ve really been something with a better marketing campaign. It’s the kind of movie that you want to subject your friends to just to watch their reaction as it descends into the heart of lunacy.

Didja notice?

  • The sweet illustrated opening credits
  • The recognizable cereal boxes up for trade
  • You know they’re bad guys because they have football helmets and swastikas
  • Food faceplant
  • The girl who punches the guy and then is like, “ow that hurt my fist”
  • Enemies like to burst out of giant boxes from time to time
  • Waking up to mummies with chainsaws is not ideal
  • Compactor room — they’re going to be crushed by cardboard walls!
  • And she pulls off his arm
  • Whining: “Don’t you want a public execution…?”
  • Hey, it’s the land of the poetry people
  • Not the rubber duckie!

One comment

  1. Fun Fact: Godan is portrayed by Gregory Snegoff, who is better known for working his Snegoff as a voice actor in roles such as Scott Bernard in Robotech and the title character in the Ator movies.

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