directors Ron Ormond, Herbert Tevos
What? “A Howco Production” doesn’t signify quality?
I think that the real key to understanding 1953’s Mesa of Lost Women is simple: the Ed Wood, Jr. connection. It is threefold (perhaps more). 1. The notorious flamenco riff that repeats throughout the film also shows up in Wood’s Jail Bait (1954) (Howco’s 1st in-house production of the following year.) 2. One of the mesa’s lost women is none other than Dolores Fuller! And 3. The narration is wonderfully intoned by Lyle Talbot who among the numerous roles in his long career appeared in both Glen or Glenda? (1953) and Jail Bait alongside Fuller.
However loose the connection, Mesa of Lost Women is a hysterical disaster of a picture, worthy of Ed Wood, Jr.
You’ve gotta love the science (administered by a mad scientist played by Jackie Coogan) that takes extracts from human pituitary glands and injects them in spiders, resulting in giant spiders, gorgeous and deadly spider-women, and misshapen and physically degenerated men. All this in the Mexican desert of Muerte!
I also found it particularly funny when another scientist who rejects Coogan’s ideas is enfeebled, put in an asylum, escapes, and then takes a couple hostage with their small plane.
Perhaps the most Woodian thing about the film is the utterly bizarre and comical narration by Talbot. It’s exactly the style that Wood would later employ in Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959), bombastic, booming, and insane.
I know a lot of folks have found this movie intolerable, but I found it sublime.