It’s time for another retro review. I’m sure that the instant you saw this title you had a bad feeling about how this review was going to go down. Well, your instincts are right then. The Captive Wild Woman is a fairly terrible film that tries its best to keep on getting worse and worse as you watch it. It hits rock bottom and makes you wonder whether the film succeeded in capturing your attention as you disliked it or if it simply captured the time you spent watching it. One thing’s for sure, this will not go down as one of the ultimate monster films.
Fred is a circus guy who goes around kidnapping animals from their native habitats. Unfortunately, the wildlife preserves weren’t really ready at the time so nobody stops him from nabbing a lot of tigers, lions, and even a gorilla. His co-workers are impressed at his boldness. The only one who is too busy to bother about such things is his fiance, Beth. She lets Fred know that her sister is very sick with something that she’s always had and has never bothered her all that much, but now she wants to fix it. Fred’s understandably confused, but nods his approval. After Beth drops Dorothy off at this very suspect and shady building, she heads off. Fred’s new Gorilla ends up murdering someone who got too close to the cage and nearly finished someone else off as well. Dr. Walters uses this chance to kidnap the Gorilla and murders his assistant to give her brain to the creature. Using magic, Dr. Walters transforms the Gorilla into a lady named Paula and takes her to the circus to unravel his own plans….he succeeds!
So, what is the problem with this film? Let’s start out with the obvious case of animal violence. Once again, we see humans taking animals out of their natural habitats and forcing them to perform in cages for human amusement. That’s no better than slavery and especially when you consider that the animals aren’t being treated well at all. If they don’t do what the humans want, they get hit. It’s pretty terrible. These scenes go on for ages and ages as Fred keeps throwing the whip and never letting up. I was rooting for the animals to get him and at least they did get some of his predecessors, but Paula kept on saving him. Otherwise Fred would have been taken out of the picture very early on. Animal violence doomed this to a 0 right from the get go. It’s why I never like seeing circuses with animals in them and I’m skeptical on how they’re being handled. Luckily, you don’t really see circuses like this anymore so we’re doing something right.
Either way, there is no real way to like Fred in this adventure. For starters, he has no real problem with flirting with Paula right from the get go even though he’s already taken. Sure, the counter is probably that he didn’t really think of it as flirting and was just being nice…but I don’t buy it. He also completely ignores her the instant that his fiance comes to visit, which was also pretty over the top. When Beth finally confides in Fred and lets him know that Paula may be a villain, Fred just laughs it off instantly. He doesn’t believe her for a second and gets out of there ASAP.
Beth isn’t a great main heroine either and makes the kinds of decisions here that you would expect from the supporting characters in a Freddy Krueger film. She gets a call from her sister that something is not right and she fears for her life. The call is abruptly disconnected so Beth quickly calls the cops and gets to the bottom of this. Wait….she didn’t call the cops? Afraid not! Beth instead comes to the conclusion that there must have been something wrong with the phone line based on how calmly she walked over to the villain base without a care in the world. Naturally, Dr. Walters decides to destroy her as well, but there’s no rush. So, after letting Beth know that he’ll be destroying her in a moment, Dr. Walters lets Beth go over to the unlocked Gorilla cage which holds Paula…who has been wanting to murder Walters for a while now.
This doesn’t end well for Walters, but I suppose anyone who didn’t check their common sense out of the door would have realized that. Then again, what do you expect from a guy whose whole plan revolved around an ex employee somehow breaking into a circus and transporting the Gorilla cage without getting slashed? (That scene made no real sense by the way…no wonder the film skipped it.)
Dorothy’s not much better than Beth. She doesn’t begin to suspect that something is up until she has a very long operation and then doesn’t get better for a few days. Seriously, she waited eons before actually making a call instead of just dashing out while Walters was busy. She had many opportunities to escape since Walters was always attending the circus and having fun messing with the main characters. No, she decided not to make a move until Walters made it back to the house and then she went down without putting any real resistance.
Dr. Walters is a pretty bad villain. He may have gotten the last word as the film ends with an epilogue about his life, but he’s a fairly terrible villain. There’s no real reason to sympathize or even understand his reasoning. His whole motivation for murdering everyone and making a human is just because he’s curious. None of it leads to anything and you have to wonder where he was going to go from here anyway. A Cat lady next? Sorry, that concept has already been taken and used by dozens of other films. Better luck next time…
Miss. Strand is another character who isn’t all that smart. She works for a mad scientist and knows that he is completely unstable. After seeing what he is about to do to the patient, she tells him up front that she will put an end to his evil plan. She’ll tell the cops and see that he goes to jail for life. Brilliant idea Miss. Strand…but why did you tell that to his face while you two are the only people in the building in the basement floor, while he is next to the door? Naturally, things don’t go well for her either.
Finally, we have Paula. By default, she is better than most of the other characters here. She is a contender for the best character in the film and I would consider that to be a great honor if her competition wasn’t so bad. She is going after a guy who is taken so that doesn’t bode over well. Plus, she’s a Gorilla so the whole relationship is warped from the start. Should have stuck to the friend zone. At least Paula was tough and could hold her own in a fight. It just wasn’t enough to help her survive a bullet in the back. (Well…with those sequels…..)
Overall, There’s nothing to really like about this film. It’s fairly short at least so that’s a slight consolation I suppose. The animal violence was just too much and you’ll be shaking your head as Dr. Walters bumps off the cast one by one. They all made the worst decisions possible. I also have to question how Paula in her gorilla form made it all the way to the circus from Dr. Walters house in time to save Fred. Based on the rest of the film, it wasn’t all that close to the circus and you’d think that one of the cops would have stopped her since they were all very trigger happy here. Perhaps the writers were going to fix this after lunch, but the film was already due by then so they never got a chance. Either way, this is a film that you should skip. Go take a nap instead.