Mesa of Lost Women, or Attack of the Spider Women (June 17, 1953)
Released on June 17, 1953: A mad scientist on a desert mesa deep in Mexico is creating killer Spider Women.
Produced by Melvin Gordon
Directed by Ron Ormond and Herbert Tevos
Written by Herbert Tevos and Orville H. Hampton
The Actors: Jackie Coogan (Doctor Aranya), Allan Nixon ('Doc' Tucker), Richard Travis (Dan Mulcahey), Lyle Talbot (the narrator), Paula Hill (Doreen Culbertson), Robert Knapp (Grant Phillips), Tandra Quinn (Tarantella), Chris-Pin Martin (Pepe), Harmon Stevens (Doctor Leland J. Masterson), Nico Lek (Jan van Croft), Kelly Drake (lost woman), John Martin (Frank), George Barrows (George, hospital asylum nurse), Candy Collins (lost woman), Dolores Fuller (blonde watcher in the woods), Dean Riesner (Aranya henchman), Doris Lee Price (lost woman), Mona McKinnon (lost woman), Sherry Moreland (lost woman), Ginger Sherry (lost woman), Chris Randall (lost woman), Diane Fortier (lost woman), Karna Greene (lost woman), June Benbow (lost woman), Katherine Victor (car driver spider woman), Fred Kelsey (bartender), Samuel Wu (Wu, Croft's manservant), Margia Dean (second brunette watcher), John George (Aranya's manservant), Doris Heart (lost woman), Jack Low (barfly), Suzanne Ridgway (girl in cantina), Julian Rivero (dance extra), Angelo Rossitto (little people lab assistant)
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Have You Ever Been Kissed by a Poison Spider . . . Woman?
After World War Two, as the baby-boom generation was beginning to go to the movies, the frightful murder and haunted house stories evolved into stories about killer animals instead of killer people. Giant murdering mutant creatures became very popular terror movie themes.
In this independent ‘B’ thriller the killers are women who have had cells from poison tarantula spiders implanted in them. These spider women can kill with a bite or a kiss, and they cannot be killed. If they lose an arm, they can grow a new one.
Jackie Coogan was one of the highest paid movie stars in 1923 Hollywood when he was fourteen years old, but you probably remember him as Uncle Fester on the 1970’s television show about the Addams Family. In this science fiction thriller, he is Doctor Aranya (Aranya is Spanish for Spider), and he has been able to splice cells from spiders into women, turning them into beautiful murdering beasts.
In August of 1933, two-year-old Derline Jeanette Smith was chosen in a contest as the most perfect baby in America. As the sultry leading spider woman in this adventure, it seems to me that she retained that description as an adult. Her stage name was Tandra Quinn, and she acted in five motion pictures between 1945 and 1953 before leaving motion pictures, and as far as I can discover she is still living in Denton, Texas. In this story she never speaks a word, but her screen presence is more powerful than any of the other actors, and she dominates every scene that she is in. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Harmon Stevens shoots
Chris-Pin Martin and John Martin
George Barrows and Paula Hill
Harmon Stevens and Fred Kelsey
Jackie Coogan, Tandra Quinn and Harmon Stevens
Nico Lek and Harmon Stevens
Nico Lek and Paula Hill
Paula Hill, Harmon Stevens and Nico Lek
Paula Hill and Robert Knapp
Richard Travis and Allan Nixon
Robert Knapp and Paula Hill