Don't forget to refer to my Contents page for a more convenient reference to past articles.

For More L.A. La Land, visit my writing/art/film appreciation site on Facebook at Quoth the Maven and follow me on Twitter @ Blahlaland. :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

THE REEL REALS: Allison Hayes

Allison Hayes in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman

Allison Hayes obtained notoriety by becoming the oversized embodiment of the old saying, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." In fact, her presence in the film Attack of the 50 Foot Woman was a pretty bold, feminist statement. For once, a woman was big enough and threatening enough to crush the man and the world that usually mistreated her, objectified her, and condescended to her-- something impossible at her new height. Ironically, the movie gave excited male viewers plenty to look at and admire-- many of them probably hoping to climb over her luscious body like adventurers exploring everest. In any case, while inspiring women to assert themselves and take control (because men, after all, were secretly afraid of them), or entertaining appreciative science fiction fans, Allison's snarling, fed-up, disenfranchised heroine immediately became the eternal B-movie Queen.

Allison's voluptuous curves, sultry voice, and tough veneer (the look on her face always seemed to be a personal broadcast of cynicism), made her an easy fit in the exploitative films of the '50s. She was never given the major opportunities for serious or more glamorous work, perhaps because the aforementioned qualities held her back, but her brief career in film was a solid one. With films like  Zombies of Mora Tau, Disembodied, and Wolf Dog on her resume, it is doubtful that any of her work was artistically fulfilling, but at the same time,  the actress was holding her own and supporting herself in an era when women were still expected to be obedient wives and mothers. Her categorization of a less reputable B-movie actress perhaps afforded her more freedom in certain ways than the rigorous life of the polished studio actress. One doubts that Allison ever took anything she did on the silver screen seriously. She was just a girl playing the game and making a buck. She was eventually able to test the waters of her talents a little more on television in the '60s, where she kept up her hefty work pace in more dramatic and sometimes comedic roles. Yet, she was never taken seriously, which certainly took a toll on her emotionally. 

Toward the end of her career, she had to slow her participation as she started experiencing excruciatingly painful health problems. The source was the calcium supplements she had ironically been taking for her health. He complaints and her symptoms were ignored as the mere fictions of a hyperemotional woman, and Allison's sorrow further intensified. After years of being treated as a puppet, sex-object, and professional joke, her added personal struggles sent her spiraling into a depression that made her consider suicide. Fate beat her to the punch, and she passed away at a mere 46-years of age. Just as the vibrant, powerful woman that must be taken down, contained, or destroyed in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Allison  was existentially bullied into a corner and made to feel a fool for wanting more out of life. Still, her appearance in the iconic film has become her triumph. For manhandled, suppressed, and frustrating women everywhere, Allison continues to wreak havoc, kick ass, and take names. The freedom she found in those brief moments on the screen have made her immortal and unstoppable. Despite her defeat, she always comes back again, bigger and better than ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment