Tag Archives: Jerry Warren

MESA OF LOST WOMEN (1952) AND THE WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN (1966)

I think “jaw-dropping” is the only apt description for movies like and Herbert Tevos’ Mesa of Lost Women (1952) or ‘s The Wild World of Batwoman (1966): categories like camp, cult, et. al. simply cannot do them justice. 366 readers are, of course, familiar with Ormond and Warren as two z-grade (cough) filmmakers; that category fits for virtually everything the two produced.

While Mesa of Lost Women may lack the feverish WTF element of Ormond’s later , it is, as per the norm with this filmmaker, mind-numbingly godawful. How godawful is it? It’s so godawful that the first time I saw it, I immediately wondered whether those endlessly annoying Medved boys ever saw it. How could little Ed‘s sweet little opus, Plan 9 From Outer Space, even compete with Ormond’s Mesa for title of worst film of all time? Of course, as the Medveds fancy themselves Christian critics, they might have been biased in not granting the title of “worst director of all time” to fellow fanatic Ormond; giving that award to our favorite transvestite director, to be frank, turned out to be an unintentional blessing for St. Edward D. Wood, Jr. (and to us).

Still, every weird movie lover owes it to himself or herself to see these masterstrokes of trash. While only Mesa is considered  “horror” per se, both are possessed with the zany queerness of the season and should perfectly serve any Halloween gathering.

Still from Mesa of Lost Women (1966)Mesa of Lost Women stars , somewhere between the golden locks of ‘s Kid and the chrome dome of Uncle Fester. Herbert Tevos’ script is narrated by , and the opening is priceless: “Strange is the monstrous assurance of this race of puny bipeds with overblown egos; the creature who calls himself ‘Man.’ He believes he owns the earth and every living thing on it exists only for his benefit. Yet, how foolish he is. In the continuing war for survival between man and the hexapods, only an utter fool would bet against the insect.” Talbot’s narration is utterly pointless, except for that fact that occasionally, and weirdly, he seems to be speaking directly to the actors—who then strain to hear what he is saying.

There is no actual mesa of lost women, only Tarantella (Tandra Quinn) and Coogan as stock mad scientist Dr. Aranya (that’s Spanish for spider, someone tells us) seeking to create a “super female spider with a thinking and reasoning brain; a creature that may someday control the world—subject to my will.” Yes, Dr. Aranya is creating spider women, spider dwarves, and spider puppets. Naturally, Bland Hero objects (“It’s monstrous!”) Apparently, the production ran out Continue reading MESA OF LOST WOMEN (1952) AND THE WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN (1966)

LA CASA DEL TERROR (1960) AND FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF (1964)

The posthumous classification of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello erroneously places them on a level with  or The Marx Brothers.  However, few, if any, of the Abbott and Costello films withstand the test of time.  Their initial rendezvous with a trio of Universal monsters retains some dated charm, but little of it comes from the comedy team.  Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) is essentially a vehicle for ‘s Dracula parody and Lenore Aubert’s vamp.  The Monster (Glenn Strange) has little to do, and  seems mightily uncomfortable with the surrounding juvenile antics.  Even worse is Bud Westmore’s unimaginative assembly line makeup, which reduces Lugosi’s Count to baby powder and black lipstick and Lon Chaney Jr’s Larry Talbot to a rubbery lycanthrope.

La casa del terror (1960) is a south of the border imitation of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, along with about a half dozen other films, including King Kong (1933).  German Valdes (aka Tin Tan) is Casimiro and, just like in A & C Meet Frankie, he is doing some work in a house of wax horrors, which currently has a real mummy display.  Below the exhibit, the Professor (Yerye Beirut) is deep in mad scientist experiments (just like  in his Columbia movies or Lugosi at Monogram).  None too surprising, the Professor has an assistant who helps his boss steal bodies and blood.  When bodies are not to be found, the two extract fluids from Casimiro, which renders our hero lethargic (at least Lou Costello kept his energy level up).  Narratively, having your protagonist sleep through half of the film does not seem like a sound idea.  Casimiro’s gal Paquita (Yolanda Varela) doesn’t think so either.  After all, she is working a full time job and beau here is one lazy sot!  Perhaps the all too repeated shots of Casimiro counting sheep are not necessarily a bad device after all because when he does wake up, he breaks into comedic patter which actually makes Lou Costello look funny again.  Valdes elicits more groans than laughs and he even engages in a song and dance number with Valera.  YES, IT’S A MUSICAL TOO!  Valera does not have to work hard at making Valdes’ musical talents look pedestrian.

Still from La Casa del Terror (1960)Director Gilberto Martinez Solares cast Lon Chaney Jr, clearly past his prime, as a dual mummy/wolfman which, of course, were the two characters that Chaney played most often in the 40’s  cycle.  Chaney is only briefly glimpsed as a mummy, and a rather well fed one at that.  The make-up job is something akin to a glob of silly putty.  The Professor, tired of Casimiro’s rotten blood, decides to steal the mummy for experimentation. The Doc and his assistant put the ancient Egyptian into a big Son Of Frankenstein (1939) contraption.  Briefly, a Continue reading LA CASA DEL TERROR (1960) AND FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF (1964)