MESA OF LOST WOMEN (1953) Reviews and free to watch online in 720p quality

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Mesa of Lost Women is a 1953 American science fiction film directed by Ron Ormond (The Exotic Ones; Untamed Mistress) and Herbert Tevos from a screenplay by the latter and [uncredited] Orville H. Hampton (The Snake WomanThe Alligator People; The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake). It was also released as Lost Women

The movie stars Jackie Coogan (The Prey; Doctor Heckyl and Mr. Hype; Human Experiments; Uncle Fester in The Addams Family TV show), Richard Travis, Allan Nixon and Lyle Talbot.

The project initially began as a Tarantula in 1952 directed by Herbert Tevos but the production ran out of funds. Ron Ormond took over and completed the movie.

The bizarre soundtrack score, which mainly consists of a Spanish guitar being strummed while a piano is pounded ominously, was composed by Hoyt Curtin who also wrote music for masses of animated series such as The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo and, most famously, The Flinstones theme.


A couple is found wandering nearly dead in a desert. Recovering, they tell their story. A year previously, a mad scientist, Doctor Aranya (Jackie Coogan), has created giant spiders in his Mexican lab in Zarpa Mesa to create a race of superwomen by injecting spiders with human pituitary growth hormones. Women develop miraculous regenerative powers, however, men mutate into disfigured dwarves. Spiders grow to human size and intelligence. Aranya invites another scientist, Doctor Masterson, to join him. Masterson visits Zarpa but is horrified…


“This is one of those films that’s fun to read about and tedious to watch. The story is more incoherent than non-linear, the characters are woodenly constructed, and the overall film is a dull, tepid mess.” All Movie

Mesa of Lost Women is too damn boring to be an Ed Wood film; it’s more like one by Coleman Francis (Beast of Yucca Flats … ) Instead of the sustained lunacy that we expect from The Master, for every moment of inspired idiocy here – and there are a few, thankfully – there are at least five minutes of uninteresting people wandering aimlessly around the desert, or sitting silently in a cantina. Mesa of Lost Women is bad, all right, but it is not one of The Great Bad Movies.” And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

“There’s a scary woman who’s supposed to be sexy. There’s a banal and underplayed mad scientist who’s supposed to be the star of the show. There’s a lunatic who manages to hold everyone under his power even though he spends most of the film dead on his feet. There’s a love triangle that springs out of nowhere and can go back there for all we care. There’s a nurse who only stops people disarming his mad murderer of a patient. There’s a giant jumping spider who manages to be boring.” Apocalypse Later

“The music is all flamenco (and later used by Ed Wood in one of his films) and ill-suited. The sets, the acting, the writing and especially the direction (by Ron Ormond) are all awful – and rather entertaining.” Down Among the “Z” Movies

“The storyline, the performances and simple narrative logic just don’t add up. The direction is incompetent in a decidedly Ed Wood style: The camera is never in a good position and every insert and cutaway is awkward, like the wrong puzzle piece forced into position. It looks as if it needed a wraparound flashback framework and an extended opening with vapid, non sequitur narration to come up to reasonable running time.” DVD Savant

“The story makes no sense, the performances are awful and after struggling through its many detours and longueurs for 70 minutes you’re rewarded with nothing of any value whatsoever. The likes of Plan 9 from Outer Space, Robot Monster (1953) and Fire Maidens from Outer Space (1956) may be technically shoddy but they always have enough about them to keep you engaged – often in disbelieve but engaged nonetheless. Mesa of Lost Women has nothing to offer at all.” The EOFFTV Review

“The movie features the most ingenious, congenial, courteous and well-mannered psycho in screen history. It’s a pity he isn’t scary. The movie pioneered a rarely-used cinematic technique; once everyone is stranded on the mesa, the action is enhanced by having close-ups of dwarves edited in at random. I think the technique is rarely-used for a very good reason.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

The Best of the Worst DVD Collection

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” …if this was more accomplished then it would likely be unendurable, but seeing as how everyone involved was absolutely terrible it elevated the project to a level of compelling camp, from Lyle Talbot’s mocking narration to the catchphrase-filled dialogue.” The Spinning Image

“The story is your average science-fiction fare, but the script is horrible. The direction, the editing and cinematography is worse. The acting is probably the worst of it all and makes this film virtually unwatchable, not that the rest of what went in it did not already do that.” The Telltale Mind

“It’s a toss-up as to which is worse, the script or the direction. The eccentric guitar-piano score was reused by Edward D. Wood, Jr., in Jail Bait (1954).” TV Guide

Choice dialogue:
Grant Phillips: “Well, I want a girl who’s sincere. Real. Someone who’d stick by me when the chips are down. One who wants me only for what I am and not for what I have. It’s a big order, huh?”

Full film free to watch online on YouTube:

Cast and characters:
Jackie Coogan … Doctor Aranya
Allan Nixon … ‘Doc’ Tucker
Richard Travis … Dan Mulcahey
Lyle Talbot … Narrator
Paula/Mary Hill … Doreen Culbertson
Robert Knapp … Grant Phillips
Tandra Quinn … Tarantella
Chris-Pin Martin … Pepe
Harmon Stevens … Doctor Leland J. Masterson
Nico Lek … Jan van Croft
Kelly Drake … Lost Woman
John Martin … Frank
George Barrows … George
Candy Collins … Lost Woman
Dolores Fuller … Blonde Watcher in the Woods
Dean Riesner … Aranya Henchman
Doris Lee Price … Lost Woman
Mona McKinnon … Lost Woman
Sherry Moreland … Lost Woman
Ginger Sherry … Lost Woman
Chris Randall … Lost Woman
Diane Fortier … Lost Woman
Karna Greene … Lost Woman
June Benbow … Lost Woman
Katherine Victor … Car-Driver Spider Woman (as Katina Vea)
Fred Kelsey … The Bartender
Samuel Wu … Wu
Margia Dean … 2nd Brunette ‘Watcher in the Woods’
Elias Gamboa … Cantina Barfly
John George … Aranya’s Manservant
Doris Hart … Lost Woman
Jack Low … Cantina Barfly
Paul Ravel … Cantina Barfly
Waclaw Rekwart … Cantina Barfly
Suzanne Ridgway … Girl in Cantina
Julian Rivero … Cantina Barfly
Angelo Rossitto … Dwarf Lab Assistant

Filming locations:
Red Rock Canyon State Park – Highway 14, Cantil, California
KTTV Studios, Los Angeles, California
Tarzana, Los Angeles, California
Universal Studios – 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California

Technical details:
1 hour 10 minutes
Black and white
Aspect ratio: 1.37: 1
Audio: Mono

When released theatrically in the UK, censorship body the BBFC made cuts for an ‘X’ certificate. All cuts were waived in 1995 when the film was granted a ‘PG’ for home video.

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

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