Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Captive Wild Woman

(1943) **

Dr. Sigmund Walters is a big-time researcher currently studying glandular secretions, believing that these secretions somehow determine vertebrate biology (huh?). Beth, a local circus performer, brings her sister, Dorothy, to Dr. Walters because Dorothy was recently diagnosed with a glandular disorder. Meanwhile Beth’s hunky boyfriend, Fred, has just returned from a jungle expedition with a huge female gorilla he named “Cheela”. Cheela appears to be exceptionally smart and Fred’s goal is to convince his boss to allow him to use Cheela in a dangerous act he is putting together for the upcoming circus season. Dr. Walters takes an interest in Cheela and wishes to use her for his research. Nothing doing, according to Fred, who turns down a sizable sum of money from Dr. Walters. Dr. Walters does the next best thing and arranges to have Cheela kidnapped.

I wouldn’t question my methods, dear.

With Cheela now in his possession Dr. Walters begins a series of experiments that involve extracting glands from Dorothy and implanting them into the big ape. This has the unfortunate effect of slowly killing Dorothy. When his nurse speaks up in protest, Dr. Walters silences her by murdering her, extracting her brain, and placing it in Cheela. His nurse learned a valuable lesson in knowing one’s place in these sorts of matters. Sure his methods are unorthodox, but from great madness spring forth great things and Dr. Walters’ research is no different. Whatever the hell he did worked and soon Cheela is transformed into a beautiful woman he names Paula Dupree. For reasons that defy explanation Dr. Walters begins bringing Paula/Cheela to the circus, which places her within close proximity of Fred, her former trainer. When Fred gets into a jam with a bunch of lions, it is discovered that Paula/Cheela is a sort of animal whisperer and is able to calm the mighty beasts with a simple stare. This of course gets her a gig at the circus and she becomes a valuable asset. So all’s well that ends well right? Not really. Eventually a love triangle forms between Paula/Cheela, Beth, and Fred and we learn that when Paula/Cheela gets angry, she pulls a David Banner.

Mr. McGee, I told you that you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

Captive Wild Woman, which spawned two sequels, Jungle Woman (1944) and Jungle Captive (1945), is a silly offering from Universal (I bet if they had made a forth they would have called it “Wild Jungle”). With the success of its other monster franchises Universal attempted to create another “classic” monster, albeit with a lower budget and by inserting tons of recycled and stock footage. Seriously, Captive Wild Woman has more padding than Paris Hilton’s bra. The story is unnecessarily complex (believe me I didn’t describe it all in my summary). The acting is pretty bad even for b-movie standards, and there’s way, way too much animal training stock footage. I don’t care how lions are trained; I want to see Cheela go on a murderous rampage. Yes I will try to get my hands on the two sequels for the great Horrorthon 2008.

1 comment:

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I hope I never hear the word "Cheela" again.