The She Creature (also known as The She-Creature) is a 1956 American black-and-white horror film produced by American International Pictures from a script by Lou Rusoff (brother-in-law of AIP executive Samuel Z. Arkoff). It was produced by Alex Gordon and directed by Edward L. Cahn. The film was released by American International Pictures as a double feature with It Conquered the World.
The plot concerns an oily carnival hypnotist (Chester Morris), whose experiments in hypnotic regression take his unwitting female subject (Marla English) to a past life as a prehistoric humanoid form of sea life. He uses the physical manifestation of the prehistoric creature to commit murders. The hypnotist's motives are never explicitly described, and the murders happen, apparently, either for revenge or notoriety.
Chester Morris as Dr. Carlo Lombardi
Tom Conway as Timothy Chappel
Cathy Downs as Dorothy Chappel
Lance Fuller as Dr. Ted Erickson
Ron Randell as Police Lt. Ed James
Frieda Inescort as Mrs. Chappel
Marla English as Andrea Talbott
Frank Jenks as Plainclothes Sgt.
El Brendel as Olaf
Paul Dubov as Johnny
William Hudson as Bob (as Bill Hudson)
Flo Bert as Marta
Jeanne Evans as Mrs. Brown
Kenneth MacDonald as Police Doctor
Jack Mulhall as Lombardi's Lawyer
Spike as King
The story was inspired by the success of the best-selling book The Search for Bridey Murphy, which concerned hypnotism. Exhibitor Jerry Zigmond suggested this subject might make a good film, and AIP commissioned Lou Rusoff to write a script.
AIP did not have enough money to entirely finance the film, so the company asked Alex Gordon if he could contribute the remainder. Israel Berman, a colleague of Gordon's brother Richard, knew a financier called Jack Doppelt, who agreed to provide $40,000 of the film's $104,000 budget.
Edward Cahn persuaded his old friend Edward Arnold to play the hypnotist for $3,000 for one week's work, and also cast Peter Lorre. Arnold died two days before production, prompting Lorre to read the script, after which he pulled out of the film. The producer had to find a substitute cast quickly.
Gordon, who deferred his $2,500 producer's fee until the film returned its cost, said the movie was profitable a year and half after release.
In 1967, American International commissioned Larry Buchanan to remake the film in color as Creature of Destruction for television. The original film was later featured in an episode of Cinema Insomnia, as well as in the movie-mocking television show Mystery Science Theater 3000.