Attack Of The 50ft Woman Review

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A desperate housewife goes on a citywide rampage thanks to a height-enchancement from a passing alien.


The 1958 quickie Attack Of The 50 Ft. Woman is one the rare pleasures of zero-grade filmmaking. An entry in the size-change sci-fi cycle of the '50s, which had already thrown up The Incredible Shrinking Man and The Amazing Colossal Man, it boasts the statuesquely inexpressive Allison Hayes as a neglected wife enlarged to gargantuan size by a passing transparent alien, endearingly rotten special effects and a lively supporting performance from Yvette Vickers. Like most cult movies it's an unrepeatable mix of dreadful and wonderful and should have a Do Not Remake order on it.

However, US TV network Home Box Office have set out to recapture the cheesy magic of the original, retailoring the shoddy old script as a vehicle for Daryl Hannah, replacing unintentional comedy and accidential feminism with deliberate spoofing and a blatant foregrounding of the subtext. As in the 1958 film, the neglected wife of a philandering swine gets her own back on hubby (Baldwin) when an alien alters her metabolism so she grows to giant size. The original movie, however, paid off mercilessly with deaths all round, but this one, directed by Spinal Tap's Nigel, comes up with a contrived happy finish for everyone.

The first movie had an impressive pin-up poster depicting a scene not in the film featuring Hayes bestriding a freeway and tossing cars around. This tries to recreate that moment but after such a long wait, it's a disappointingly tame rampage. The long-limbed Hannah is not badly cast, but doesn't have much of a comedy to play with.

Without being very good, the 1958 film turned out to be a classic. This, without being very bad, is most certainly not.