She told me that she loved me, and like a fool I believed her from the start. She said she’d never hurt me, but then she turned around and broke my heart. Why am I standing here missing her and wishing she were here?
She only did me wrong. Hey! I’m better off alone. She devoured all my sweet love, took all I had and then she fed me dirt. She laughed while I was crying. It was such a joke to see the way it hurt.
Wait… What’s that? We’re not talking about the opening song to the 1967 album More of The Monkees written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart? But we’re talking about She right? Ohhhh, the 1985 post-apocalyptic comedy action flick starring Sandahl Bergman? Ah ha! I gotcha. That does seem to better fit the B-Movie Enema blog website than individual songs on random albums from, like, almost 55 years ago.
Well, shit… Let’s change gears then, yes?
She was released on Christmas Day 1985 in the United States and it was exactly what everyone asked for from Santy Claus – a movie that ultimately features light-hearted depictions of a bunch of Nazi fanboys battling a babe in a leather dress. It was directed by Avi Nesher. Now, Nesher made about half of his filmography in his native Hebrew and the other half in English. She is one of the latter. However, I looked at his filmography and specifically looked at the English language moves and didn’t recognize a single one of them. So I can’t say if he mostly had his movies pumped directly onto video store shelves or if they only played in very, very limited release or what.
Whatever the case is, the only reason why I know anything about this movie is because I happened to catch it one day on either my beloved Bizarre TV or possibly the equally defunct Shockwerks TV.
I do know our titular She, though. She is played by the lovely Sandahl Bergman. For the most part, there are two roles people will know her best for – one of which is for slightly more mainstream folks, the other for the kind of guys like me who watches these types of movies. In 1982, she played Valeria in Conan the Barbarian. That’s the one with the more mainstream following. She actually won the Golden Globe that year for New Star of the Year for that role. That ain’t exactly anything to sneeze at. It definitely means she caught people’s attention.
While she did win that New Star award, it really wasn’t her first movie part. She got her acting career off the ground with stage appearances on Broadway. She was a 6’0 statuesque blonde bombshell with an athletic form. She kind of stands out. But she was also a dancer. She transitioned to film and had a bit part in a TV movie before getting scenes as dancers in both All That Jazz and as one of the sister muses in my beloved Xanadu. After Conan, she did this movie, and the cult classic Hell Comes to Frogtown. If you’ve never seen that movie, the hell are you waiting for?
While it’s difficult to say she lived up to that New Star of the Year award, she was the direct opposite of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a huge film in his career. Shit… It was a STAR MAKING movie for him. AND on top of that – she’s depicted on the poster and cover of the tape. That’s not an insignificant thing. Then, to be part of one of the greatest cult classic weirdo fantasies like Hell Comes to Frogtown, all in all, that’s not too shabby.
What’s most interesting about She itself is that this isn’t a wholly original concept. It’s actually based on a very popular 1887 book by H. Rider Haggard. It was called She: A History of Adventure. That book had been adapted twice on a major scale. First, in 1935 by Merian C. Cooper after he made King Kong. Second, in 1965 starring Bond Girl Ursula Andress and produced by Hammer Film. However, there were several silent film adaptations prior to Cooper’s as well. So… This is a remake and based on something quite popular. I’m sure this will help class this joint up a bit.
I will say the opening to this movie is really awesome. It’s a depiction of the “cancellation” and we see a series of paintings with the death and destruction, skull-faced ghosts, melted mutants, grim reapers, it’s pretty cool. It really builds this idea of a hellscape with ominous music to get us nice and spooked.
After the title, we see a boat going down a river with two men, a donkey, and a younger lady. The two men are Tom and Dick. The girl is Dick’s sister Hari. I guess they are just a regular Tom, Dick, and Hari. Anyway, they arrive at this settlement called Heaven’s Gate. This is worrisome for either being a culty place or a really long, very expensive, and not well received Michael Cimino western. As they look around they see a merchant talking to a man about some goods.
I like this because it’s clear that there was some time that passed after the fallout of the big nuclear war. So, it makes sense that there are some bran flakes and various other cereals that might still be edible and just found someplace after society came crashing down. It shows things that we take for granted now being cherished items that are expensive due to low supply and high demand. Beyond that, there’s all sorts of other things sold and traded for here too – soap, mouthwash, textiles, etc. There are also tables for gambling. It’s almost like a medieval Las Vegas. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are hookers here too.
All the while, what the citizens of Heaven’s Gate aren’t aware of is an approaching gang of roving madmen that decide to attack. They start rounding up people. They are killing and punching people, and sometimes punching people after they’ve killed them. They are all wearing various biker outfits, football pads, etc. They are also covered in swastikas.
That’s not all, there are all sorts of characters. There’s a boxer goon. A guy dressed like a clown. There’s a guy dressed like a grim reaper. They are led by an orange haired fella with a helmet that looks something like a rooster’s feathers. I guess he’s the cock of the walk. Hari tries to protect her brother and friend when they are overpowered by this rogues gallery, but a man in a Trojan helmet shoots her with a harpoon through her leg and take her away.
Meanwhile, in a palace-like building, we hear people chanting for “She”. We see her, in a white dress. As she passes by some folks in the hallway, they drop to their knees and try to clutch at her legs. She approaches two men who appear to be captives and she divines that one of them was I dunno guilty or She was involved with one of them in the future, I’m not sure. It happens very quickly. Later, she’s riding a horse and Tom tries to flag her down but she tries rushing past. He pulls her from her mount and he takes the horse after checking to make sure She isn’t dead.
Tom picks up Dick and they go to a town. They are asked to join a woman for a meal. This lady cooks for them but slips some sort of drug into the food. They ask this lady who the law is in these parts because they ran across some trouble earlier. The lady tells them that “She, the Goddess” is their law. They pass out. When Dick comes to, he’s chained up in her pig sty and Tom is nowhere to be seen.
Dick learns that Tom has been sold. He is in a jail cell where She comes and decides she don’t want nuthin’ to do with this guy. She has them release him and make him to “walk the path” the next day. The path is a series of wooden stakes in the ground that the women of She’s army push him from one side to the next and he gets repeated stabbed and cut by the stakes. After he finishes the path, She says they must leave him to walk home by himself. Soon, a crazy person finds him and brings him back to his lab.
Tom tells this man that he needs to find his sister. We learn that these people are known as the Norks. However, the problem is that the only person who would really know the way to this tribe would be She, the Goddess. So Tom has to go back to the town, find Dick, and release him. Then, they are going to go to She’s palace and convince her to lead them to his sister. Got it? Good.
What’s the story of She? Why are people always referring to her as a “Goddess”? Is she really a “goddess”? Well, sort of. You see, in the fallout of the Cancellation, tribes began forming. Within the heart of each tribe of mutants across the wasteland is that of a deity of sorts that the tribespeople follow. She happens to be the Goddess that is followed by this tribe called Urechs. Now, what makes She so special? She does actually have foresight. She is a “seer”. Surrounding the leader of each tribe, is an army. Within this army are people with powers of their own. She leads an army of mostly Amazonian women.
She is shown to be a fairly decent fighter and swordswoman herself. She goes on this exercise in this cave where she is attacked by increasingly troublesome threats. First, a couple knights. Then, three more. Finally, a robotic Frankenstein monster. When she has proven herself, she’s granted entry to a bath that heals her. A scary old lady tells her that while she has, once again, proven herself a true Goddess, She will meet a man who will claim her heart and it will lead to her destruction. Bummer.
When she returns to her palace, she’s nabbed by Tom and Dick and they ride off with her. I guess that restorative bath takes a little while to make her able to fight off a couple doofuses. They ride down the road and come to a fork and they ask She which way to go, but she won’t answer without a little extra persuasion.
There’s something really interesting about this movie’s world. Tom doesn’t seem to be much of a hero himself because Dick had asked him at one point if he even cared about the safety of his sister when they were going to that town earlier. It’s like Tom was really only thinking of himself and didn’t get into the sister protection thing until she was kidnapped. Dick is a bit of a dummy. He’s, at best, a sidekick.
So there’s yet to be anything to really like about the main “heroes” of Tom and Dick. What’s more is the role of these Gods and Goddesses that head these various tribes. They seem just as self-centered and anti-good as Tom and Dick. She has ZERO compassion for Tom’s sister being taken. She rarely even shows much reverence to her peons. This movie seems to represent some kind of Libertarian utopia of literally everything being completely self-centered and you’re out there for yourself and really no one else. Couldn’t protect your sister? Tough toenails, jerkoff – not my problem. My people need something? Eh, I’m gonna go to this cave and hear some prophecies about ME.
The next morning, She’s army of Amazon babes are on the hunt for her. However, another gang of mutants have found and put She, Dick, and Tom into what appears to be a jail cell but is actually like that garbage compactor scene in Star Wars. I’m not sure who these guys are or what their superpowers are but they all look like mummies wrapped up with Ace bandages. She’s general seems to be hot on the trail to find where their leader is. The Amazons and the mummies fight briefly before they open the cell to find She and the guys.
At the end of the scene, we do learn more about this head mummy, Kram, and his people. They are called “Nukes” and they’re bandaged because they have a bunch of lesions and their limbs tend to fall off. It’s a nice little chuckle at the end of an action sequence.
On the way back to She’s town, she asks for Tom and Dick to be brought up to the front so she can speak to them. Her lead general in her army whines a bit about not publicly executing them. Then, she whines a bit about She letting the guys go after telling them where to find “North Valley”. She then decides to follow the guys out of curiosity. Her general whines about wanting to go with her.
The next town that Tom and Dick find seems a bit more Greek in influence with togas, a pool, various columns, etc., as well as flowery speech. It seems to be a place only for pleasure. Tom and Dick are asked to stay for the night. All the men and women are quite excited for there to be a couple new dudes here to get in on the orgy that seems to be the order of the day at this tribe.
They also like to dance to 50s doo wop music.
This feels a lot like Zardoz. In that, you have an outsider traveling around the various types of groups of people that inhabit the more rarified sections of this bizarre world. However, each group has their own positives and negatives when it comes to how they live their life and how they interact with other groups. It seems almost impossible to think of Tom and Dick not knowing about these various tribes. Don’t they inhabit this world? Well, like Zed in Zardoz, they come from “the other side” which is meant to imply they really have no reference for this world as it exists. You can infer that “the other side” is our reality and that where these tribes are is either hell or a fantasy world that they will naturally struggle with the realities of this side compared to what they know.
Anyway, the Greek 50s doo woppers are werewolves.
While She and her general sneak around in the grand ballroom building, they discover that the kitchen is full of human remains that was last night’s dinner. As the werewolf ancient Greek doo woppers attack Tom and Dick for a midnight snack, She and her general come to the rescue. They then carry on to the next town in this little adventure.
That next town is run by Godan and his band of monks. This town is adorned with the sickle and the hammer of old Soviet Russia. When She’s general is ready to attack Godan for calling She the goddess of nothing, we see Godan’s power, he has telekinesis. Dick convinces Godan that they are pilgrims who have come to pay homage to the great Godan and Dick convinces Tom to say the same thing. This gets them a place to stay for the night, but She and her general are imprisoned and given some sexy torture.
Godan decides he wants to test She’s spirit a different way – in his bedroom. He finds this specimen a most interesting “mortal”. He refuses to believe this woman is a goddess as he may be smelling his own farts a little bit after all this time of telling his followers there is only one god, so, therefore, She cannot be one too.
Hearing She’s general screaming in the next room, Tom and Dick act to beat up a couple monks and steal their robes in order to save her. With the general freed, they search for Godan’s chamber, but get unexpected help from Godan’s #2, a woman named Eva who is upset that Godan took She to his boudoir. Now, there’s a bit of a problem when attacking Godan – he’s got the telekinesis. It’s a good thing that Eva was kind of in the triple-cross game. She initially led them to Godan as part of some sort of plan that revealed that, yup, these people cannot be trusted. However, when Godan wants to take She as his lover, Eva axes him a question – right to the fuckin’ guts. In his final moments, he moves the drawstring to the curtains around Eva’s throat and strangles her. When some of Godan’s guards come to join the fray, She makes them bow and accept her as their goddess considering their old leader is dead.
The journey continues and we learn a few things. First, no one ever leaves this forest they are traveling through alive. Second, She’s general’s name is Shanda. Third, there’s someone in pink tights and pink shoes in these woods with our heroes. It turns out that third item is a big ol’ bearded dude in a pink leotard and tutu. As She tries to find out who this guy’s God is, we see a gas start to cover the woods like a fog. Shanda and Dick are knocked out, the tutu dude is wearing a gas mask, and She and Tom trying to get away, but She eventually succumbs to the gas. The tutu dude takes the trio of gassed people to an operating room that also seems to serve as a menagerie.
Tom is still in the tree that he climbed to get away from the gas. She bargains with this weird doctor named Rabel to let Shanda go with his tu-tu dude, Rudolph, to obtain some sort of jewel that will buy their freedom. Tom climbs down from the tree and starts looking for his friends. While Rabel is asleep, She tries swinging her cage over to the stove where she hopes to knock it over to set the place on fire. She succeeds in burning the place down and it also melts their plastic bag cages so they can escape.
Outside, Tom comes to a place that was once a military testing site. As he approaches a bridge, he is met by a real yuckster named Xenon. Xenon is annoying and says tom can’t cross the bridge because he is not ordered to cross the bridge. As Tom breaks his staff, Xenon takes the pieces and ends up with two staffs. As Tom begins cutting off Xenon’s arms, head, leg, etc., it creates more and more Xenons.
Behind him, Dick and She find a piece of Tom’s clothing. They approach the bridge where Xenon is singing the Green Acres song. They have to hide before they get to Xenon because those raiders from earlier approach. After the raiders pass, She and Dick go pass, but Xenon, that guy… He doesn’t give up his post. Dick discovers that slicing off an arm causes Xenon to multiply. She figures out that you have to kill him without the sword, so they toss him over the bridge where he explodes.
In the Nork town, we see the crazy swastika baddies on patrol. Meanwhile, Dick and She find a way to sneak into the town. They find cages where the captured females are kept, but they seem to be motionless like they are lobotomized or something. She doesn’t take too well to this. After hiding and nabbing a couple guys to get their gear and clothing, they sneak into a dinner for future Norks. Hector, their leader, tells them they will only be two of the 12 here that will join the Norks. He gives them all a chance to withdraw but this is a trick. They kill the guy before he can leave the dining hall.
They are taken to a gladiatorial ring where they must fight for their place in the Norks. When Hector says they are ready, a door opens, and out comes the Nork God, a robot lookin’ dude with a funny hat and a girl on a leash. The girl, just so happens, to be Hari.
After a quick flurry, a bunch of the contestants are out, but Dick and She are still going. Lord Buckethead and Hector continue to look on with some excitement. Hari is not. She seems definitely drugged or something because she’s just kind of standing there or maybe she’s just bummed out because being a slave girl to Buckethead is just not where she saw herself when she became an adult. Anyway, there are three remaining contestants and it just so happens to be She, Dick, and Tom. Seeing Tom, Hari suddenly gets excited and runs to her brother, friend, and this warrior babe.
Lord Buckethead tells them that done fucked up real good. He’s going to make them pay by attacking She’s people and taking all her babes has his slaves. He lets them go, but they have until dawn the next morning. Originally Tom plans to take Dick and Hari away, but then decides to help her despite Dick being a, well, dick about it.
Realizing they won’t have time to get back to her people to warn them, She has to make a stand at the bridge. Now that Xenon is gone, I’m guessing this will be a much better proposition for them. Since this is a mine field, they decide to use some of the resources there to even their odds, but they have to act quick because it won’t be long before the Nork army comes charging. However, She’s plan works out pretty well at first, but the Norks have more people, as well as smoke to cover their push. However, our heroes are down to their last 3 arrows and the last 10 men in the Nork’s push. The good news is the cavalry comes to save them with Shanda and Rudolph and She’s army, forcing the Norks into retreat.
Alas, it’s time for goodbyes. Dick decides he’s going to hang out with Shanda because they want to bone all night long all the time. She seems a little upset having to say goodbye to Tom, but there’s that whole prophecy thing, right? If she falls in love, won’t She be destroyed? Well, there’s a little bit of a sidestep here that our heroes can take. You see… Tom and She can admit to themselves they love each other, but that they’ll stay apart and love each other from afar. That way, She won’t be taken down by that silly prophecy and Tom can take Hari to far off lands so she can be protected and live a happy life. Win-win all around!
By the way, I needed to read Wikipedia to know that their longing looks at each other as Tom and Hari were heading away meant they were just planning to be in love from afar. It might be in the book or something. I don’t know. I don’t read no books. I watch movies and write about them obsessively like a crazy person.
Okie dokie, this is the part of the article where I admit that I actually REALLY like this movie. I would go so far as to say there are lots and lots of things in this movie that could appeal to a pretty wide audience. There’s a science fiction angle with a holocaust that leads to the way life is now. There’s a satirical view of the various groups and how they are representative of a lot of human nature and gender concepts. There’s a fantasy and sword and sandal part about the various mystical and cultish elements to the various Gods and Goddesses. There’s a strong female lead in She that doesn’t give up her rule just for the guy who traipsed into her life. The guy doesn’t turn his back on caring for his sister to be with She (though, I bet Hari would have liked living with the Urechs, but yeah, this side of the world is kind of shitty). Plus, Sandahl Bergman is quite sexy and I can honestly believe she is a leader and tough enough to do the fighting we see her do in this. She’s fantastic. I wish she could have done more and more of these warrior women type of roles – either in fantasy OR action movies.
It isn’t all perfect. Some of the wisecracks from Dick or some character flaws in Tom are not great, but it is minor in the grand scheme of the rest of this fun, action, adventure flick. I’d be happy to take it in again someday.
Alright, but this is the end of the line for this week’s B-Movie Enema. Next up, I’m going to look at 1987’s Blood Sisters about some sexy sorority sisters in a haunted warehouse. This is coming to us from director Roberta Findlay who directed Prime Evil, a movie I featured previously. That should be a fun one.
In just two short weeks, the second season of B-Movie Enema: The Series kicks off with a fun little exploitation thriller called The Centerfold Girls. If you want to know where to find those episodes and where you can also see all the clips to movies I’ve covered like I did in this article above? Then subscribe to the B-Movie Enema YouTube Channel today! Another swell idea would be following B-Movie Enema on Facebook and Twitter. That’s a great way to be kept up to date with new articles and episodes as they happen!
So until next week, don’t go joinin’ no Norks group and stealing ladies from towns, and be cool with each other, my beautiful Enemaniacs!