Monday, 28 October 2013

Mesa of the Lost Women (1953)

There's a surprising amount of critical analysis of Mesa of the Lost Women on wikipedia. Of course, given the movie's title and budget it's surprising the film attracted any such analysis. Possibly it got the attention because former child star Jackie Coogan (who would later go on to be Uncle Festus) appears as the villain.

Anyway, criticial analysis of such items as 'the meaning of the watch' aside, what we have here is a pretty plodding affair, despite its claims of 'deadly beauties' and 'deformed dwarves'. The plot's typically nutty low-budget 50s SF: the evil Dr Aranya (Coogan) has discovered a way to splice spider-traits into humans. In women, this creates seductive beauties who can regenerate lost limbs; in men, it turns them into dwarves. Aranya plans to use his experiments to conquer the world, and isn't shy about telling anyone who happens along what his plans might be. Of course, when your plans are:

  1. make monsters
  2. ?????
  3. profit!

you're probably not the most sensible of chaps. Amusingly, the writers have Aranya refer to spiders as both 'insects' and 'hexopods'. Because nothing says 'genius' like not knowing how many legs a spider has!

Not surprisingly, Aranya's plans don't go over so well with sane persons, and efforts are made to stop him. Not that much effort is actually needed, as the entire troop of villains are over-powered by three people.

The film does get points for having a male lead who is actually compassionate and caring toward his love interest, though. Those are depressingly rare traits in leading men.

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