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Mesa of Lost Women (1953)

Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 17 June 1953 (USA)
A mad scientist named Arana is creating giant spiders and dwarfs in his lab on Zarpa Mesa in Mexico. He wants to create a master race of superwomen by injecting his female subjects with spider venom.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Aranya
Allan Nixon ...
'Doc' Tucker
Dan Mulcahey
Narrator (voice)
Paula Hill ...
Doreen Culbertson (as Mary Hill)
Grant Phillips
Tandra Quinn ...
Chris-Pin Martin ...
Pepe (as Chris Pin Martin)
Harmon Stevens ...
Nico Lek ...
Jan van Croft
Kelly Drake ...
Lost Woman
John Martin ...
George (as George Burrows)
Candy Collins ...
Lost Woman
Blonde 'Watcher in the Woods' (as Delores Fuller)


A mad scientist named Arana is creating giant spiders and dwarfs in his lab on Zarpa Mesa in Mexico. He wants to create a master race of superwomen by injecting his female subjects with spider venom.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Today - Someplace - Somewhere... A MAD SCIENTIST is Set to Terrorize the World! See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 June 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Attack of the Spider Women  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The name "Tarantella" for the dancer played by Tandra Quinn is an in-joke. "Tarantella" is both the Italian word for "tarantula" and the name of an Italian dance that is supposed to make the person doing it look like he or she has just been bitten by a tarantula. See more »


At several points in the dialogue, Dr. Aranya is said to be doing experiments involving "hexapods" - meaning six-legged insects. But he is actually working with tarantulas, which are spiders (not insects) and therefore have eight legs. See more »


Doreen Culbertson: [surveying cantina] What a dump.
See more »


Edited into Muchachada nui: Episode #2.2 (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Painfully Painful
22 July 2006 | by (North Hollyweird) – See all my reviews

Woof! Did this dog ever get any actual plays in public? I can't imagine anyone sitting through it, unless they were in a drive-in theater snogging and not paying any attention to the movie.

First of all, I'll mention the items that many others brought up: the endlessly repeated flamenco guitar riff that comes back DOZENS of times throughout the movie to the point of insanity. The flashback that can't possibly belong to the person describing it. The narrator who isn't part of the story. The fact that the whole lab blew up, but they still have to get the oil company to drive out there "before they escape." The fake-looking giant spider. The dutiful valet who calmly goes to his death. The fact that they don't try to subdue the gun-wielding maniac who kidnapped them once he hands the gun over to the Chinese valet. The ridiculous "you must go get that comb, it's a family heirloom" motivation. The wooden acting. The questionable motives. The gratuitous dwarfs.

As the cherry on the top of this bad movie sundae, I'd like to add that a veritable all-no-star cast from z-grade movie history comes together here. Let's run down all the real-life characters in this Rogue's Gallery.

You've got several Ed Wood alumni, though Ed had nothing to do with this film (as far as we know, but it would not surprise me if some previously hidden involvement by Ed was revealed well after the fact. MOLW was produced by indie production company Howco, who also released Ed's "Jail Bait.") There's Ed's former girlfriend Delores Fuller. There's Mona McKinnon (one of the Spider Women) and Lyle Talbot (the narrator), both future cast members of Plan Nine From Outer Space. The bizarrely "Wooden" direction in this film is quite appropriate for a flick loaded with Ed Wood players; they must have felt right at home.

You've got Jerry Warren stock player Katherine Victor (Jerry was a legendary bad director, and Katherine's husband. This is her first film, and one of her few appearances outside of a Jerry Warren production... she also had a later career as a continuity coordinator for Disney animated features!)

You've got George Barrows, the legendary Ro-Man from Robot Monster! (George played a gorilla in the vast majority of his screen credits, here he's just George the nurse from the Sanatorium...no gorilla suit in sight at any time).

Playing the bartender you have character actor Fred Kelsey, who has 395(!) film credits starting in 1911! In the thankless role of "Pepe" you have Chris Pin Martin, who had 135 credits, but MOLW was his last film (what a way to go out...).

Then you have co-director Ron Ormond, who produced and director numerous grade-Z flicks before getting religion and producing Fundamentalist Christian Grade Z flicks, such as the insane "If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?" (Seek that out if you can if you are a fan of extreme cinema and think you've seen it all.) You also get producer Joy N. Houck, whose son, Joy N. Houck, Jr., is responsible for such non-favorites as "Night of Bloody Horror" and the deriviative "Women and Bloody Terror."

Then, of course, finally, you have Jackie "Uncle Fester" Coogan as the mad scientist Doctor Aranya. Whew! What a meeting of the lack of minds! Is this a recommendation to actually WATCH Mesa of Lost Women? Well, you need a certain kind of rugged individualism to stomach it. But I will state with certainty that having watched this film is much better than actually watching it. And if you understand that, then you're way ahead of me, because I think this movie actually made me quite crazy.

38 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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