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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.


Herbert Tevos (written for the screen by)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jackie Coogan ... Dr. Aranya
Allan Nixon Allan Nixon ... 'Doc' Tucker
Richard Travis ... Dan Mulcahey
Lyle Talbot ... Narrator (voice)
Paula Hill Paula Hill ... Doreen Culbertson (as Mary Hill)
Robert Knapp ... Grant Phillips
Tandra Quinn Tandra Quinn ... Tarantella
Chris-Pin Martin ... Pepe (as Chris Pin Martin)
Harmon Stevens Harmon Stevens ... Dr. Leland J. Masterson
Nico Lek Nico Lek ... Jan van Croft
Kelly Drake Kelly Drake ... Lost Woman
John Martin John Martin ... Frank
George Barrows ... George (as George Burrows)
Candy Collins Candy Collins ... Lost Woman
Dolores Fuller ... 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


They Were All a Man Could Desire, But Deadlier Than a Black Widow! See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 June 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Attack of the Spider Women See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ron Ormond Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


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 Bartender: [on the phone, in awe] Sheriff! The body just got up and walked out of here!...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Wade Williams Collection version omits the pre-credit scene of Tarantella kissing a man to death. See more »


Featured in Mad Scientist Theatre: 50 Movie Mega Pack (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Painfully Painful
22 July 2006 | by Scott_MercerSee 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.

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