Womaneater – UK, 1958 – reviews

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Womaneater – promoted as The Woman Eater – is a 1958 British horror feature film directed by Charles Saunders (The Man Without a Body) from a screenplay written by Brandon Fleming. Producer Guido Coen later made Burke & Hare (1971).

Womaneater title screenshot

The movie stars George Coulouris (Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb; The Man Without a Body), Vera Day (Quatermass 2), Peter Wayn, Joyce Gregg, Joy Webster, Jimmy Vaughn, Robert MacKenzie and Norman Claridge. Marpessa Dawn, who has a minor role as a ‘native girl’, would achieve international acclaim as Eurydice in Black Orpheus two years later.

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The film was passed with an ‘X’ certificate by the BBFc on 21st February 1958, cuts having been made (alas, no details are available).

Plot:

On an expedition to the Amazon Doctor Moran (Coulouris) discovers that a tribe of natives have a tree that when fed beautiful women as sacrifices, will produce an elixir that can bring the dead back to life.

Five years later, the mad doctor brings the tree back to London with him and with the help one of the Amazonian natives named Tanga sets about resurrecting the dead using young female victims…

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“The entertainment quotient is helped enormously by George Coulouris’ star turn as the maddest of mad scientists; the actor plays Moran with a lasciviousness and gravitas that belie the ludicrous plot and flimsy characterisation” John Hamilton, X-Cert: The British Independent Horror Film 1951 – 1970

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” …they never really show the tree truly ‘eat’ someone or how the old man extracts the fluid from it.  Is it like breeding a racehorse? Do I want that image in my head?  I’m sure that you don’t!  If you like ’50s drive-in schlock like X: The Unknown or Them, then you’ll like this movie.” Mondo Bizarro

“Direction, acting and scripting are all equally questionable and totally lack the inspired silliness required to get away with such a motif, best seen in Roger Corman’s The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) with its carnivorous piece of flora.” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

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“…fans of mad scientists and killer vegetables should on no account miss this little-known Z-grade affair, a British studio’s successful attempt to match similar trash that was coming out of Hollywood in the late 1950s…” David McGillivray, Radio Times

“Once again producer Guido Coen and director Charles Sanders trap poor George Coulouris in a miasma of awful material. As with their film The Man Without a Body, if this had been just a little more over-the-top, it might have been a lot more fun. Some of the same plot elements were later used in Konga…”

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“The British B picture at its most threadbare, with poor production value and acting to match: it is sad to recall that Coulouris appeared in Citizen Kane.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook – Buy: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

The Woman Eater has almost too many pleasures to mention: bubbling beakers, lovely victims, stagehand-powered plant arms, natives wearing costume pieces from every jungle movie ever made, and of course the drums! Oh, the drums! Watch it today and keep an eye on your begonias.” Ali Davis, Amazon.com

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Buy a Womaneater mouse mat: Amazon.co.uk

Cast and characters:

  • George Coulouris as Dr James Moran
  • Peter Wayn as Jack Venner
  • Joyce Gregg as Margaret Santor
  • Joy Webster as Judy Ryan
  • Jimmy Vaughan as Tanga
  • Robert Mackenzie as Lewis Carling
  • Norman Claridge as Dr Patterson
  • Marpessa Dawn as Native Girl
  • Sara Leighton as Susan Curtis
  • Edward Higgins as Sergeant Bolton
  • Harry Ross as Bristow
  • Alexander Field as Fair Attendant
  • David Lawton as Man in club
  • John Tinn as Lascar
  • Maxwell Foster as Inspector Brownlow
  • Peter Lewiston as Detective Sergeant Freeman
  • Roger Avon as Constable
  • Sheif Ashanti as Witch Doctor
  • John Grant as Rescue Party Leader
  • Susan Neill as Orange Juice Counter Girl
  • Stanley Platts as Explorers Club Steward
  • Marie Devereux

Related ‘plant/tree’ horror: Doctor Terror’s House of Horrors | KongaThe Little Shop of Horrors | Maneater of Hydra| Please Don’t Eat My Mother! | Tales That Witness Madness | Venus Flytrap

 

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