Color, 1968, 101 mins. 22 secs.
Directed by Cliff Owen
Starring John Richardson, Olinka Berova, Edward Judd, Colin Blakely, Jill Melford, George Sewell, André Morell, Noel Willman, Derek Godfrey
Scream Factory (Blu-ray) (US RA HD), Anchor Bay (DVD) (US R1 NTSC) / WS (1.85:1) (16:9)

While The Vengeance of SheHammer Films was The Vengeance of Shetrying to figure out where the horror audience was heading in the late '60s, it still felt there was a sure thing in exotic fantasy films drawing in crowds who had made One Millions Years B.C. and She such major hits in the middle of the decade. The combination of scantily-clad women and ancient rites wasn't too expensive to pull off, so in 1967 they rolled out Prehistoric Women and The Viking Queen, followed by The Lost Continent in 1968. The last of this cycle in the '60s was The Vengeance of She, a belated sequel that pushes the action from 1918 to the present day and replaces star Ursula Andress with Czech-born Olga Schoberová, credited here as "Olinka Berova" for some reason.

Penned by Modesty Blaise creator Peter O'Donnell, the pulpy story follows the adventures of Carol, a young woman plagued by mysterious dreams and voices that only intensify when she ends up on a ship from France with psychiatrist Philip (First Men in the Moon's Judd) and Sheila (Melford). Of course it doesn't take long to figure out that she may be the reincarnation of the previous film's Ayesha, now bring drawn back to the ancient, forgotten city of Kuma where she's destined to become the new ruler and reunite with her lover, the seemingly immortal Killkrates (Torso's Richardson). However, her return is actually being orchestrated by the scheming Men-Hari (Godfrey) so he can gain access to the mystical blue The Vengeance of Sheflame that will grant him eternal life and power over the world. The Vengeance of She

Dispensing with the lavish scope look and bankable stars of the prior film, this is pure drive-in program filler but quite enjoyable if taken in the right spirit. Our leading lady isn't called on to do much more than pose in front of the camera, but she has a great, haunting entrance over the opening credits (complete with a wonderfully dreamy theme song) and fares well in enough in front of the artificial sets and dodgy rear projections. It's great to see Richardson back in Hammer territory again, of course, with other familiar faces like The Kiss of the Vampire's Noel Willman and old pro André Morell (not playing the same role as the first film) hanging around to remind you which studio made this one. Director Cliff Owen doesn't seem to have the slightest idea where to place a camera outside of focusing on his leading lady, but fortunately he has enough old hands on board to keep the board afloat and on course throughout. There's really zero attempt to catch up any poor viewers who hadn't seen the prior film (and it's a bit crazy that this one beat it to Blu-ray), but you won't have to tax your brain too hard to figure out what's going on.

The Vengeance of SheWeirdly, The Vengeance of She was one of the first Hammer titles released on DVD way back in 1999 from Anchor Bay along with a batch of other titles like Viking Queen and The Plague of the Zombies. The transfer was very good for its time and came on a flipper disc with the theatrical The Vengeance of Shetrailer and, on the reverse side, one of those clip reel World of Hammer docs, "Lands Before Time" (24m40s) narrated by Oliver Reed.

In 2019, Scream Factory brought the film to Blu-ray as part of its very welcome line of Hammer releases complete with what's listed as a "new 2K scan of the original film elements." Whatever those elements may be, it looks solid with very vivid colors and a nice bump in detail compared to the older DVD. Obviously there isn't much you can do with some of those ragged rear projection shots on the ship, but it's certainly the best this film has ever looked on home video. The DTS-HD MA English mono track is also satisfying, with optional English SDH subtitles provided. The "Lands Before Time" featurette and trailer are ported over, and the film can also be played with a new audio commentary featuring The Vengeance of SheThe Monster Party podcast's Matt Weinhold, Shawn Sheridan, Larry Strothe, And James Gonis. Self-described lovers of Hammer, they're extremely enthusiastic and dive into the ins and outs of the film with a combination of trivia and personal observations. The energy level peters out in the last half hour The Vengeance of She(not surprising given that the film itself does the same), but their dedication is certainly appreciated. Also included are new video interviews with assistant director Terence Clegg (2m35s), visual effects artist Joy Cuff (8m2s), and clapper/loader Trevor Coop (5m42s), including some candid comments about Judd's diva behavior on the set, a funny bit about a spaghetti western shooting around the corner, the designs for the temple, the tricks of dealing with a demanding focus puller, and less than flattering (but not even remotely surprising) comments about Owen's work methods. Also included are a gallery of promotional materials and photos (5m27s) and two 20th Century Fox TV spots.

Reviewed on February 21, 2019.