Tickle Me
The Crawling Hand
Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?
High Powered Rifle
The Hypnotic Eye
Five Bold Women
Lust To Kill
Pier 5 Havana
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
Hong Kong Confidential
Wolf Dog
The Undead
The Unearthly
Zombies of Mora Tau
Chicago Syndicate
Count Three and Pray
The Prodigal
The Purple Mask
Sign of the Pagan
So This Is Paris
Steel Jungle
Francis Joins the Wacs



In the pantheon of B film seductresses, she towers a good 44 feet above the rest. Had she starred in only one film, the cut-rate cult thriller Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Allison Hayes would be revered forever by B film fans the world over. But spirited portrayals in The Hypnotic Eye and a pair of Roger Corman films, Gunslinger and The Undead, proved that she was far more than fifty feet of feminine pulchretude. She could act.

When the part called for a strikingly sinister, aggressive, domineering female possessed of formidable physical attributes, B film producers invariably would ring up Allison Hayes. Born Mary Jane Hayes in Charleston, W. Va., she spent much of her youth in Washington, D.C. A polished classical pianist, she represented the nation's capital in the 1949 Miss America contest. Soon after, she took the name Allison, and, following some local television work, was signed to a Universal Studios contract.

Allison's first stop on the star-grooming regimen was a smallish role in Francis Joins the WACs. She found herself in good company as the dopey but lucrative talking mule series served as a proving ground for several aspiring starlets, Julie Adams and Mamie Van Doren among them. Proceeding from this dubious starting point, Hayes crammed nine films into her first two years of studio work, appearing as everything from a gun moll to a scantily-attired pagan woman, perfecting the sensual sneer that endeared her to the male patrons of poverty row films.

In 1956, she appeared opposite Beverly Garland in Roger Corman's quickie western, Gunslinger. Hayes' role as a sort of sinister Miss Kitty was a showy one, and this seedy oater is interesting as a showcase for two strong actresses in unusually dominant roles.

Edward L. Cahn's verveless Zombies of Mora Tau was next, a plodding tale of vengeful cadavers guarding a cache of stolen diamonds. Allison has little to do but look good.

A slapdash, no-frills shocker called The Unearthly found Hayes assaying a thankless turn as an atypically squeamish female. Junk movie icons John Carradine and Tor Johnson can do little to leaven the moribund proceedings.

Corman's shadow-bound saga of witches, Satan and hypnotic regression, The Undead, showed Allison to much better advantage. Shapely, sinister -- an altogether evil eyeful -- Hayes portrays the scheming witch Livia, threatening in every scene to spill out of the revealing bodice she's been poured into.

In Walter Grauman's bare-cupboard voodoo shocker The Disembodied, Hayes takes center stage as a scheming wife who incongruously leads the local tribal rituals. Decked out in a scanty leopard skin miniskirt, she jiggles and gyrates amidst totems and tom toms to no avail. The film is a plotless stinker.

Though many notable fright films punctuate Hayes' résumé, they're interspersed with a variety of crime flicks and dramatic pot boilers. She called upon her caste-iron sensuality to enhance a spate of stale mellers with titles like Hong Kong Confidential and Chicago Syndicate. It was during this struggle to diversify that Hayes took on the role that would forever eclipse the larger body of her work.

It was Attack of the 50 Foot Woman that permanently endeared Allison Hayes to cult fandom. As Nancy Archer, Hayes' ludicrous encounter with a towering, transparent alien ignites a comically unconvincing growth spurt. Swathed in what we're asked to believe are bedsheets, the babe behemoth stamps into town to avenge the philandering of her conniving husband. To the accompaniment of Ronald Stein's rollicking honky tonk soundtrack, a massive, flabby rubber hand scoops up hubby as gold digging barfly Yvette Vickers looks on in horror.

Allison's sharply sinister beauty and sullen, threatening delivery enhances The Hypnotic Eye to a marked degree. In this, one of the more trying gimmick films to emerge from the early sixties, Hayes is hypnotist Jaques Bergerac's disfigured paramour. By the film's denouement however, the audience's patience has been sorely tested and the shock is minimal.

In 1964, Allison appeared in Herbert L. Strock's bargain-basement shocker, The Crawling Hand, serving as little more than visual enhancement. Likewise, the following year, she found herself with little to do in a nauseating Elvis vehicle called Tickle Me. This was her last film.

In the early seventies, Hayes was diagnosed with leukemia and drifted toward treatments that some have assessed as quackery. Further, she claimed to be suffering from lead poisoning, and her wan, wasted appearance shocked friends and loved ones. She died in 1977 at the age of 49. Budget notwithstanding, she left behind a gallery of fiercely feminine, aggressively sensual portrayals. Despite the poverty of the properties she enlivened, Hayes remains one of the most darkly alluring of all B movie femme fatales -- all fifty feet of her.

There's no denying that Allison Hayes struggled through some decidedly shoddy productions. A sampling of those more befitting her station as a vamp to be reckoned with are chronicled here:

Gunslinger (1956)
They'd string Corman up for churning out this half-baked horse opera were it not for the presence of Hayes and fiery blonde sheriff Beverly Garland. Slimy John Ireland has his work cut out for him as the two brazen ladies leave no scenery unchewed.

Acting: A-
Atmosphere: D
Fun: B-

The Undead (1957)
Hayes has perhaps her meatiest role as a bosomy witch wrapped in a revealing medieval sarong. Her seductive combination of cleavage and black magic are clearly this atmospheric film's most formidable assets.

Acting: B+
Atmosphere: A-
Fun: A-

The Hypnotic Eye (1960)
Among the spate of gimmick flicks that hammered the horror market in the late fifties and early sixties, this one is easily among the more gory. Allison's icy stare is put to brutal use as she partners with her hypnotist husband to disfigure beautiful girls.

Acting: B-
Atmosphere: B-
Fun: B+

Pier 5 Havana (1959)
One of a series of mob melodramas from the director-star team of Edward Cahn and Cameron Mitchell. Hayes helps warm the Caribbean waters as a sultry chanteuse who once shared her affections with Mitchell as well as his drunken best buddy.

Acting: C
Atmosphere: C-
Fun: C+

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