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The film was originally begun by Herbert Tevos as "Lost Women of Zarpa", but a variety of factors - funds running out and neither the producers nor the cast being able to get along with Tevos - resulted in the production being shut down and then abandoned. A few years later Ron Ormond bought the film, shot some new footage and released it as "Mesa of Lost Women". See more »
Rear shots of Frank's jeep show a man wearing a fedora in the passenger seat, but close-ups show Pepe in the passenger seat, wearing a sombrero. See more »
The amazing, and as yet unmentioned, stroke of genius about this film is that it invents a totally new and, as far as I know, never again used narrative device: best described as "Someone Else's Flashback"
At the opening of the movie a man and a woman staggering across the Mexican desert are rescued from certain death by handsome hunk Frank the surveyor - thus setting him up as the hero but, as the couple start to recover in the oil exploration company's base, he goes back to work and he's never seen again - so he isn't.
As he recovering man starts to tell his story - a strange garbled tale of crashed aeroplanes, monstrous Spider women and a man called "Dr. Aranya" - the camera focuses in on Pepe, the Mexican driver who, on the surface, looks like he's going to be the funny foreigner comic relief of the flick but doesn't appear again after this opening scene - so isn't.
As the camera dwells on Pepe listening to this tale there is a fade to a wide shot of the desert and a car driving towards the camera. The narrator says something to the effect of - "Yes it's an interesting tale isn't it Pepe? You could tell them more about this mesa and the strange things your people tell about it couldn't you? But this isn't where the story starts, a month before, doctor Leland Masterson..." and we're into the 'story' at last.
The whole film is then played out as a flashback - but who's? It starts before the pilot has arrived on the scene so it can't be his flashback. Because of the focus on Pepe and the fade it looks like it should be Pepe's but he wasn't there! So it must be the Narrator's. If it was the Narrator's flashback why go to all the trouble of setting up at least two false starts to the film?
You are so busy pondering the meaning of this multi-layered, layers within layers, Like an Onion!, Russian Doll of an opening that it takes some time before the simple truth reveals itself. Sheer unmitigated incompetence! This movie is so bloody awful and lacks any structure whatsoever... It's hilarious. I especially love the bit where after surviving the air crash they traipse off into the jungle to rescue George all holding hands like school children crossing the road. Into the darkness they creep - on and on and on and on till they reach the studio wall (and George's body) then they turn around and all creep back again on and on and onzzzzzzzzzzz. Not one second of shot footage was wasted. It's totally surreal. The best boring, zen-like, creeping through the jungle holding hands scene in the history of the movies.
Other highlights include the huge spider leg coming out from behind the screen in Dr Aranya's lab. What was that spider doing behind the screen? Getting dressed? - another movie first! a modest giant mutant spider!
This film also contains a candidate for the worst excuse for sending someone off to their certain death ever - "Where is the comb I gave you?" asks the rich man of his wife. "It is a family heirloom! Wu, take the only flashlight we have and leave us huddling in the dark around this pathetic fire and go into that monster infested jungle and find it!" (Wu it should be explained is Chinese and a bit creepy therefore falls into the "People who are't going to make it to the end of the movie" category. If he had been a Chinese happy scared-cat cook he might have made it).
So Terrible it's worth watching.
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