Lee Johnston (Don Durant) is a criminal on the run for killing a couple guards when he and a co-hort tried to steal a supply of guns. Lee gets a lift from his brother Chris (Bill Cord) aboard his boat. During a storm at sea the guys end up off course and the boat breaks apart on a reef. The two men end up being rescued by some female inhabitants of an island.
The island is owned by a company that uses the all female island population as pearl divers. The company provides everything the girls need and the girls provide the pearls they find to the company. The girls are managed by an older woman named Queen Pau (Jeanne Gearson). She tells the guys that a ship from the company will be making a scheduled trip to the island in ten days. At that time the men are expected to leave the island. Lee especially wants to get off the island as soon as possible since he is a wanted man and needs to hide from the police.
Chris ends up falling in love with Mahia (Lisa Montell) one of the island girls. Queen Pau is aware of the attraction between them and tells Chris that he needs to stop seeing Mahia. Lee finds a small abandoned boat in need of some repair He believes he and Chris can fix the boat and use it to escape the island before authorities arrive.
The island is surrounded by sharks. Queen Pau and the island girls are a cult that worship sharks as gods. During a ceremony Queen Pau determines that the shark god, Tangaroa, is angry that Chris and Lee are on the island. Tangaroa is also not happy that Mahia and Chris have fallen in love. She says that the shark god demands a sacrifice. Three girls are tossed into the ocean as a sacrifice to Tangaroa. One of them is Mahia. Chris rushes out, kills the shark and saves Mahia.
Queen Pau is pissed. She sends up a flag to tell the company to send the police to the island. Lee and Chris take off in their small boat with Mahia. To keep Queen Pau from raising the alarm they take her with them. They make it out to the reef and decide they need to wait until night to sail on. While they rest Lee decides to go back to the island and steal the pearls.
“She Gods of Shark Reef” was released in 1958 and was directed by Roger Corman. It is a low budget “B” movie labeled as an adventure film. Part of the film was made on Hawaii’s Kaua’i Island. The film was shot in 1956 but not released until 1958. “She Gods of Shark Reef” was originally just called “Shark Reef”. AIP, the distributors of the film, wanted the ‘She Gods’ added to the title to jazz it up even though there are no She Gods in the film, just shark gods. The film was shot back to back with “Naked Paradise” 1957. This is something Roger does a lot to save money.
Roger stayed on Kaua’i at a resort hotel called the Coco Palms. The resort was comprised of individual thatched cottages. Roger used the cottages as the film’s native village. A number of movies were shot at that location. Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” 1961 for example. The hotel was destroyed in 1992 as a result of hurricane Iniki.
This is another one of those movies that always end up in either horror or science fiction movie compilation packages. The film was shot in color; however, most of the compilation packages have a black and white copy. If you can find a decent color version, which is extremely difficult, the cinematography is beautiful. Other than that the movie is one of the most boring films ever. It’s not a horror movie. It’s not a science fiction move. It’s not even much of an adventure film. It’s more like a love story.
Believe it or not there are some people who actually like the film. There is some cheesecake and some beefcake. Some may like it for the love story and some just because they are Roger Corman fans. Other than that there’s nothing even average about the film.