Dr. Dan Scott (Jack Kelly) is a brilliant Biochemist. He is working on a serum, using fruit flies, to cure disease. He has had success on various animals. Dr. Scott lives with Dr. Richard Bach (Albert Dekker), a retired doctor who founded Grand Mercy Hospital. Scott wants to try his serum on a human but Bach is not ready to allow that yet. Bach is called in to consult on the case of Kyra Zelas (Mari Blanchard). Kyra is dying from tuberculosis and nothing has been able to help her. Kyra has no family and no home. Bach thinks that she may be a good subject for Scott since her case is terminal. Kyra agrees to the experiment.
Within six hours Kyra’s temperature is down to normal. She then makes a complete recovery. Scott and Bach want to do a few more tests on her and since Kyra has no home and no job Bach offers to have her stay with them. She can get back on her feet and they get to do their tests. Kyra agrees to the arrangement. Both Scott and Bach begin to notice changes in Kyra’s personality. Before she even makes it to Bach’s home she robs and assaults a man. When cornered by the police she automatically changes her hair color just by willing it.
Kyra uses the stolen money to purchase a wardrobe. Dr. Bach is a little suspicious about Kyra’s hair color change. She says she had it done at a beauty parlor. He’s puzzled that she had enough time to shop and get her hair color changed in so short a time. He steals some hair from Kyra’s comb for analysis. What they find out is that Kyra has the ability to adapt to her situation. The serum has given her powers over her own body. Not only can she change her hair color but she is also impervious to injury. But it has also changed her personality. Once a mild and meek young woman she has turned into a sociopathic narcissist.
At a fund raiser for Bach’s clinic Kyra meets the richest men in town. Kyra zeros in on Barton Kendall (John Archer) even though there is a Mrs. Kendall, Evelyn (Fay Baker). Kyra kills Evelyn and then marries Barton. After the honeymoon she kills Barton. Bach and Scott now know they have a killer on their hands, one that they themselves created.
“She Devil” was released in 1957 and was directed by Kurt Neumann. It is a science fiction crime story. The movie is based on a story by Stanley G. Weinbaum called “The Adaptive Ultimate”.
There are some noir touches to the film that adds some dimension making it a little more interesting than your usual low budget science fiction/horrorish type film.
Mari Blanchard does a good job of portraying the homicidal bitch that knows what she wants and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it. She’s impulsive and single focused when it comes to her desires and will use any means necessary to achieve her goals. She makes the two rather egotistical doctors look tame in comparison. Perhaps not a great film nor was the subject of almost immortality and its effect on the psyche done perfectly but, for the most part, it was an entertaining and rather well-done film.
Although the movie is a low budget deal there is an interesting tidbit concerning cinematographer Karl Struss. Struss is the one who used the various colored filters to do the transformation scenes in “Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde” 1931 starring Fredric March and the leper scene in the silent film “Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ” 1925. Struss used this same technique to change Mari Blanchard’s hair from black to blonde and to remove the leopard claw marks from her arm as if by magic.