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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


A race of deadly spider-women luring men to their death! 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 character of Dr. Aranya and the spider people were added by Ron Ormond. Herbert Tevos' original story began with Masterson--who was merely a "schizophrenic homicidal maniac"--at the cantina, where the dancer played by Tandra Quinn was just a murder victim. The rest of the story is much the same as was seen in the film minus the various scenes involving the women and dwarfs watching the crash survivors. The film ended when Mexican authorities responded to the flare Phillips fired off and landed on the mesa, whereupon Phillips, Doreen, and Van Croft were rescued and the love triangle was resolved when Doreen chose Phillips over Van Croft. 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 »

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User Reviews

Kill the Music!!!
24 December 2001 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

This is one of the zeniths of bad films. We often hear about movies that are so bad they will make you laugh. This film is just one of those films. It's awful! A doctor has hidden himself away in the interior of Mexico on some huge mesa...way up in the sky that can only be reached by plane. His name is Dr. Aranya(that's spider in Spanish). Jackie Coogan, later to be rolly poly Uncle Fester, plays Dr. Aranya. Coogan looks and acts like a madman with his huge black mole and his incessant barking of orders. His performance is achingly bad. But soon he is supported by a horde of very bad performers. It seems that Dr. Aranya makes spiders into humans. The serum he uses only works well on girls and many of his female tarantulas turn into scantily clad females with big bosoms while the male spiders turn into hunchbacked, ugly midgets. Hmmm. Anyway, Aranya has a quarrel with a fellow doctor who has been hypnotized somehow, placed in a mental institution, and later found in a bar where he takes a group of five people with him in a plane that suspiciously lands on the mesa of the lost women. The actors start to die and we see midgets(one of which is famed Angelo Rossitto!) and more scantily clad women(one of which is Delores Fuller no less!) jump in and out of the light of the fire or a flashlight. The acting is just sooo bad and will have you laughing in no time. Harmon Steven plays Dr. Masterson, the fella who is hypnotized. He has an expression on his face that looks so corny and his dialogue made me wince with glee. The film ends as it begins with the two survivors telling the tale of how they escaped. The plot is like a bad serial from the forties. Easily the most annoying aspect of the film is the musical score of a guitar that plays almost throughout the whole film. It is repetitive and loud. I actually had trouble hearing what the characters were saying because that music would not stop. It had my hairs(what few I have left)on edge! The film even has a narration by Lyle Talbot of Ed Wood fame in the beginning. This is one of the most fun bad films I have ever seen. The acting, the direction, the script had me rolling with laughter. I don't know if anyone else caught it, but the name of the mental hospital was Muerto Hospital...Death Hospital. One major plus performance-wise is the sight of Tandra Quinn. She is breathtaking as she does her spider dance and exudes sex appeal. If you want to watch a real, real bad movie that will make you laugh...watch Mesa of the Lost Women. For my money it tops even Plan Nine From Outer Space as a truly inept in every fiber of its being film.

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