|Index||10 reviews in total|
This low rent dreary voodoo pic may be one of the dullest low budget horror/science fiction films from the fifties. The film is set in some nondescript jungle where a band of adventurers arrive at the remote jungle home of a "white doctor" and his native wife. The wife is always putting hexes on her doctor husband whom she hates, although the reason for her malice is never explained. The sets consists of a few cheap jungle sets, and the interior of the house. The native population is a strange polyglot mix of blacks, whites and what looks like Indonesians so often found in cheap jungle pictures. The only reason for watching this (other than if you are completest like me) is the presence of Allison Hayes, who looks gorgeous in a flower print sarong. THE DISEMBODIED is one of a handful of cheap Voodoo pictures made in the fifties. Most of these weren't any good, but some like ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU at least have a kind of campy, cockeyed charm that makes them appealing. THE DISEMBODIED is a film so dreary and uneventful that it is no wonder it is mostly forgotten today except by fans of the lovely Allison Hayes.
Only four reviews for 1957's "The Disembodied," while its cofeature, the deadly dull "From Hell It Came," has 35? Both films were prominent fixtures on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater back in the 1960s, airing 5 times apiece, each running just over an hour, probably shot on the same studio jungle sets, etc. Guess the Tabonga from Hell gets more love than the sultry Allison Hayes, who practically oozes sensuality every moment she's on screen in "The Disembodied." "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" may be more famous than this Allied Artists potboiler, but you must admit she was certainly the right actress to heighten the temperature of any self respecting male viewer. The bored wife of an older jungle doctor (John E. Wengraf) moonlighting (literally) as a voodoo priestess, captivating every man she comes across, except for the one she wants most (played by a game Paul Burke); her easy seduction of a native servant proves to be her undoing however. The main drawback is hazy character motivation, though the actors carry far more conviction than the somnambulists walking through "From Hell It Came" (the native girls are younger and prettier too). Director Walter Grauman later became a pioneer of the network TV movie, with a pair of early titles featuring John Carradine, 1969's "Daughter of the Mind" and 1970's "Crowhaven Farm." While she got to play her share of good girls ("The Unearthly"), Allison Hayes shows why she truly excels as the bad girl, and like Barbara Shelley in "Cat Girl," demonstrates real star quality by maintaining interest whenever she's on screen, proving to be her finest showcase, with no giant aliens to distract us from her feminine wiles (shake that thang!). "The Disembodied" aired on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater five times: Sun Jan 26 1964 (following Saturday's "The Monster That Challenged the World"), Mar 27 1965 (following 1956's "It Conquered the World"), July 16 1966 (following 1958's "Terror in the Haunted House"), Dec 30 1967 (following 1960's "Circus of Horrors"), and Aug 16 1969 (following 1966's "Majin, the Monster of Terror").
Fair jungle thriller set entirely on jungle sound stages with a native population consisting whites, blacks, Latinos and pacific islanders. The plot has something to do with the evil wife of the local doctor being a voodoo priestess and using her power to torment her husband while at the same time trying to pick up every good looking guy around. It might have been an okay film had there been any sense of realism, some decent performances or a script that at least explained why the wife was such a bitch. Mostly things just plod along at programmed rate until its appointed conclusion. Give it points for the priestess sexy dancing in dresses from Fredrick's of Hollywood, but take away more for a complete lack of caring anywhere else along the way.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
****SPOILERS*** It's the evil but beautiful Tonda Metz, Allison Hayes,
who's behind all the death and carnage in the film "The Disembodied"
using her Voodood spells to get whatever she wants with the sole
exception of white hunter & photographer Tom Maxwell, Paul Burke, who's
on to her from the word go. Tom out on a photo shoot in the African
jungle had one of those with him Joe Lawson, Robert Christopher,
attacked and badly mauled by a lion who's needs medical help
immediately or else he'll bleed to death. Finding a doctor in the house
or jungle in Dr. Karl Metz, John E. Wengraf, Tom has him put under his
care who doesn't think that Joe will survive the night. That's until
Metz's wife Tonda starts to do her Voodoo on him that has Joe
miraculously recover from his near fatal wounds by sunrise.
Tonda who's been trying to unsuccessfully off her husband for some time sees in the handsome Tom Maxwell her ticket out of the jungle hell that she finds herself in. But as Tom soon finds out she's bad news and the kind of woman, as beautiful as she is, to keep as far away from as possible. With Tonda trying to win over Tom she uses her Voodoo to have his native guide Gogi, Paul Tompson, to be murdered by a self, no one seemed to have thrown it, inflicted flying spear as well as causing Tom's jeep to run out of gas. The biggest mistake that Tonda did was murder her helpless lover Suba, Norman Fredric, during a Voodoo ritual that his shocked wife native girl Lara, Eugenia Paul, witnessed! This in the end proved to be Tonda's undoing in finally putting her out of the Voodoo business.
****SPOILERS**** It's when Dr. Metz finally discovers what his wife is up to that would almost turns out to be fatal to him. With Dr. Metz stabbed by Tonda and left for dead Tonda starts trying to frame Tom and his partners both Joe and Norman Adams, Joel Martson, for her husband's , who's in fact still alive & breathing, murder. The only thing that Tonda forgot was that the native servant Kabar, Otis Greene, witnessed the entire event and his testimony can clear them and indite her if her husband dies. It's the vindictive Lara who finally puts and end to Tonda's black magic just when she's about to use it on her rejected, by him,lover Tom. That's by breaking her spell over those in the movie the old fashion way: With a knife in her gut!
P.S Check out Voodoo drum leader A.E Ukono doing his thing that's by far, in it being not more then a minute in duration, the biggest and most entertaining scene in the entire movie.
Two men and their guide, who are part of a crew filming in the jungle,
rush an injured man to the nearest doctor, who just so happens to be an
old white guy. The doctor reluctantly agrees to help. While the injured
man recuperates one of the men, Tom (Paul Burke), becomes enamored with
Tonda (Allison Hayes), the seductive young wife of the doctor. What he
doesn't know is that the wife is secretly a voodoo queen. Tonda uses
her powers and sexy ways to try to get Tom to kill her husband.
Other reviewers say it's dull and maybe they're right. For me, I enjoy just about anything with Allison Hayes in it. As far as jungle thrillers go, it offers very little action. Wild animal attacks are referenced but never shown, for example. The natives appear to be a multicultural mix. Shapely B movie queen Allison Hayes is the whole show here. She connives and seduces her way through the picture. Cutie Eugenia Paul has the only other prominent female part. Paul Burke is forgettable. It's a nice little low-budget movie that fans of Hayes will enjoy more than most. Particularly her sexy voodoo dances.
Three men making a movie in the jungle rush to the nearest village after one of them is attacked by a lion. The local doctor does what he can for the injured man, but his beautiful and nefarious wife(played by Allison Hayes) has designs on the men, since she is also the local voodoo high priestess, who uses her powers to torment her husband(whom she hates) and seduce the men. They find it difficult to resist, though feel guilty and refuse to murder him, leading to a revenge showdown. Though a paltry production, with a paper-thin story and poor writing, it is the sultry Allison Hayes who gives the film the camp value it does possess, though that's all.
Allied Artists turned out a number of films in the the 1950s, most of
which were dismal, abysmal, and just plain snoozers. Only a few, such
as "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" and the bug-eyed alien classic
"Invasion of the Saucer-men" were worth watching instead of making out
in the back seat of your dad's Edsel in the 1950s. "The Disembodied" is
a real sleeping pill of a movie, despite the sultry charms of Allison
Hayes, who would go on to cult status as the titular 50 foot woman a
year after this steamy nonsense was released as the bottom half of a
voodoo drive-in double bill.
"The Disembodied" features minimal sets that appear to have been stolen from a senior prom called "Jungle Romance". Hayes tries her best to give you evil voodoo priestess realness, but ends up gyrating around in a leopardskin mini-skirt while attempting to put the gris-gris on her doctor hubby. Why she's trying to kill hubby is never explained, but she's soon diverted from this time wasting hobby by the arrival of three men who need her husband's medical prowess. Ms. Hayes puts the hex on a very young Paul Burke for sexy reasons, although she's done this to a number of other sweaty nubile natives. A girl gets bored out there in jungleland, evidently. Dreary drama ensues, making this sixty minute tedium seem much longer than it is.
The male actors are upstaged by Allison's sweet moves, and the chest hair of nearly every man in the movie. For a 1950s production, the torso fur is plentiful indeed, especially from John Wengraf who plays the doctor hubby. Add a lot of sweat and you have eye candy, if you're into that sort of thing. Allison swings a dead chicken around while dancing, it looks unpleasantly real, which it probably was. The budget for this couldn't have covered a fake fowl. Anyway, she whacks it over the body of a voodoo victim for reasons all her own. There's a plot here, somewhere. Voodoo must be Allison's ticket out of the kudzu in a search for real love or sex. Who knows? Characters plod between the three or four sets and you wish someone would whack you with a dead chicken. If you can sit through this dull excuse for a thriller, you'll be picking chest hair out of your teeth by the time it's over. This trash is bad, and not in a good way. Avoid, unless you're hot for Allison. Not even her sexy appeal can save this torrid tale of voodoo love.
After stumbling upon a house in the jungle, a team of explorers finds
the seemingly-innocent wife of their host has connections to a local
voodoo cult and tries to get away before they become part of the
This was a decent and enjoyable enough effort that does have some worthwhile elements about it. One of the biggest factors here is in how this goes about handling the voodoo tribe and it's impact on the story, keeping things a lot more grounded than a lot of other efforts to portray the subject. This is a much more logical take here on the religion without resorting to sensationalism or obscure tactics that have no basis on reality, as the use of the puppets and the several dance rituals manage to highlight quite well along with the numerous assassination attempts and the use of the zombiefied co-worker that are all far more representative of the type of real-world basis for the religion. Likewise, the final half for this one manages to get some rather fun times here with the slowly-dawning of the voodoo plot, the continuation of the attacks on the husband and finally all the activity in the campground give this a frantic and enjoyable final half but that's about it. There's a couple big flaws here, the most damaging matter is the fact that there's so many flip-flopping allegiances and twists that the story is hard to keep straight, as there's numerous attempts on the doctor yet he's completely aware of the culprit and continually obliges their requests for company despite fully aware of the danger. It makes no sense, as does the impact of the films rather bland pace which continually features those elements numerous times over without getting anything interesting going on the in first half which makes this one quite hard to get into. The last flaw here is the low- budget which really holds it down at times. From the obvious jungle sound-stages where the entire film takes place to the rather limited amount used to depict the ceremonial altar and other aspects of the film, it all looks quite cheap and somewhat limited despite obviously going for the big mark here. Otherwise, there's not much else to this one.
Today's Rating-Unrated/PG: Mild Violence.
Duller-than-a-butter-knife story of a frustrated but attractive woman (Allison Hayes) who's living in the jungle with her older doctor husband, whom she despises for reasons we're not told. She's got a knack for conjuring up voodoo spells and periodically uses them to try and kill her spouse. Then a trio of men arrive seeking treatment after one of them gets hurt, and the jungle queen becomes interested in one of them. Nothing really happens in this hour or so of tedium, and it's only worth a look to see a couple of scenes with the well-proportioned Ms. Hayes doing a ritual dance wearing very little clothing. * out of ****
Disembodied, The (1957)
* 1/2 (out of 4)
Allison Hayes plays Tonda Metz, a beautiful woman living in the jungle with her much older husband (John Wengraf) who just happens to be a doctor. A group of men are making a movie in the jungles when one is attacked by a lion so they take him to the doctor and soon the wife tries to get her hooks into Tom (Paul Burke) but he feels something is wrong and he's correct because the lady is a voodoo princess. THE DISEMBODIED has a pretty bad reputation and after viewing the film it's easy to see why so many people want to forget this turkey because it really is as bad as everyone says it is. The film runs just 66-minutes but that's about an hour too long and for the life of me I can't figure out why the wife went through all the trouble she does when she could have accomplished her goal with very little effort. I won't spoil what she's doing but once you figure it out you'll really want to talk to the screen and explain to her that she's wasting her time as well as our time. The screenplay never seems to realize what it wants to do or perhaps Allied Artist simply ran out of money and demanded certain scenes to be removed or shot for cheap. I'm not sure which it was but the screenplay pretty much has characters sitting or standing around talking about what they're going to do and it's just downright boring. There's even a scene where one man threatens to shoot another and he's going to give him a ten-count and then we have to sit there the entire time while he counts this down. The film's one saving grace is that we do get a couple nice performances. I thought Burke was fairly good in his role and at least gave the film a little boost in terms of entertainment. I also enjoyed Wengraf, although it's never really explained what he's doing in the jungle and how he got such a young wife to go out there with him. Hayes will always be remembered for ATTACK OF THE 50FT WOMAN but she's pretty good here as well. I thought she manages to play the femme fatale quite well as she was certainly believable in the part and I felt she really was "strong" enough to control these men with her powers. However, even these nice performances can't save the film and make it worth viewing. There were several voodoo films released in this era and the majority of them were pretty bad and this one here might be the worst.
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