Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Attack of the 50 Foot Woman</strong> (1958)

(On Cable TV, January 2019) Some movies are legendary for their titles and not much else, and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman certainly earns a place in that pantheon. The concept embedded in its title has probably fuelled more kinky fetishes that anyone would dare acknowledge (also spawning the kids-friendly Monsters vs. Aliens’ Ginormica along the way) and the poster is simply a work of art. Go back to the original film, however, and you will find that there’s not a lot at the root of it all, and that what’s there is considerably darker than you’d think from the pop-culture riffs on the premise. First things first: The production values of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman are very low and very bad. The sets are threadbare and director Nathan H. Juran uses every trick in the book to (unsuccessfully) maximize their use. The premise remains as striking as lead Allison Hayes—but the rest, including the plot, not so much. While the premise would lead you to expect a film in which the titular 50-foot woman would be a major presence throughout, our heroine gets blown up to spectacular dimensions very late in the film, leading to a climax that feels very abrupt. Interestingly, the film is much darker than you’d expect from a 1950s sci-fi shlock landmark: Our heroine is a troubled woman, but her husband is far worse and she comes to the story as a desperate person with nothing to lose. Alas, the ending does her no favours, and leaves viewers unsatisfied in many ways. Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is not the movie that later imitations and homages may have led you to believe, but it is at once more complex (due to its sympathy for its heroine) and more depressing (considering the climax) than what you’d expect.

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