You can say that again, sister! We’ve previously covered the various film adaptations of H. Rider Haggard’s seminal adventure novel King Solomon’s Mines. But the man also provided another work for cinematic fodder in She: A History of Adventure, the story of explorers who locate a lost kingdom that worships female goddess She in the deepest of African jungles. The story initially debuted in serialized fashion and has been adapted for film no less than eight times, with the 1965 Hammer production starring Ursula Andress and Peter Cushing as the most well known. Of course, if I had my way, you all would be worshipping at the altar of 1983’s SHE, a mind-melting “adaptation” of the source novel. In short, SHE rocks!
HOLLYWOOD COP infamy), Dick (Harrison Muller, Jr.) and Hari (Elena Wiedermann) – yes, those are really their names – arrive at what looks like a Renaissance Fair flea market where folks sell such in demand items as Corn Flakes and Mountain Dew. The awe at such amazing products doesn’t last long as the vicious Norks, led by Hector (Gordon Mitchell), pillage the village and kidnap Hari in the process. Rule #1 in post-cancellation world – don’t trust guys in football pads that have a Nazi swastika painted on them. And be wary of Gordon Mitchell with highlights.
|Is the director trying to tell me something?|
“off” with this flick. I mean, a guy attacks our heroes with an umbrella! Look, I know nuclear radiation is bad, but will it really make you dress like a kabuki performer on acid? There is just so much strange stuff going on here, like Nesher caught a screening of FLASH GORDON and thought, “I can out-weird them with 1/20th the budget!” The entire quest is bizarre and I love that Hari doesn’t even seem to be happy when her brother finally rescues her. My personal viewing highlight has to be Xenon, the ever duplicating bridge guardian who does all those impersonations. He is so annoying that I found myself wishing for the subtlety of some like Robin Williams.
Of course, there is a simple reason why such a bastardized (bitchized?) version of SHE exists. Well, two reasons actually. See if you can spot them in the chart below:
Yup, CONAN THE BARBARIAN and THE ROAD WARRIOR were tearing up the box office in May 1982. Hell, anything with a sword near it was making cash (see Albert Pyun’s THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER posting a strong $14 million in 5 weeks, a feat he has never topped). I can clearly see Nesher’s pitch to the money men now – “What if we take a CONAN-style flick and set it in a post-apocalyptic world?” Hell, the producers even went out of their way to sell SHE as a CONAN rip-off (see the above poster). But it gets even better as Nesher says, “And we’ll even hire the chick from CONAN!” Yes, Sandahl Bergman was wooing many a pre-teen boys’ heart with her turn as Valeria in the Schwarzenegger classic and they made sure to exploit that fact by casting her. And, of course, by giving her skimpy clothes, a nude scene and getting whipped. How many young S&M freaks did this flick mold? You can’t get much better than that…although this Bergman work out video below comes pretty damn close.