How many horror flicks boast a soundtrack comprised
entirely of Flamenco guitar and piano? This haphazard
Howco release does. (In fact,the score was later used
intact in Ed Wood's classic Jail Bait).Mesa
of Lost Women, which slipped into distrubution in
1952, was co-directed by the legendary Ron Ormond whose
filmic tendrils snake throughout the cult movie underground.
The Ormond imprint can be found on everything from
"adult" sex-dramas, like Please Don't Touch
Me, to a string of Lash LaRue westerns released
by PRC in the late forties.
It is Mesa of Lost Women, however, that goes
in the time capsule for future generations to enjoy.
Later re-released as Lost Women and Lost Women
of Zarpa, this half-baked horror was an unfinished
film called Tarantula, which Ron Ormond was called
upon to complete. As Ormond's wife June Carr Ormond
told Filmfax magazine, it's "the lousiest thing
I've ever seen." In truth, there have been worse films
(some directed by Ormond!), but we're not about to argue
The proceedings are dominated by burly Jackie (Uncle
Fester) Coogan as the sinister Dr. Arana ("That's
Spanish for spider" utters an incredulous cast
member). Ensconced at his desert hideaway, he busily
cross-breeds tarantulas with voluptuous babes. Tandra
Quinn as the sultry Tarantella performs a particularly
engaging exotic dance.
Before long, a former victim of Arana's leads hero Allan
Nixon and his trusted servant, Wu, to the titular Mesa where
they encounter its horrors firsthand. Following Coogan's
comeuppance, Lyle Talbot, shrewdly off-screen, delivers
the wrap-up via voice-over.
Cult-film fanatics will not be disappointed when trusting
the Ormond family brand, finding it on films of every
stripe. From nudies to religious flicks, if offbeat
sleaze is your cup of tea, check out these recommendations:
Ones aka The Monster and the Stripper (1968)
Sleepy LaBeef stars as a swamp-bred monster stalking
the strip clubs of New Orleans. Written, produced and
directed by Ron, wife June Ormond is prominently featured,
as well as a bevy of strippers..
The kind of Woman Man or Gorilla would Kill ... To
Keep." So screamed the posters heralding this Ormond
schlock-fest. Allan Nixon returns from Mesa of Lost
Women to woo starlet Jaqueline Fontaine. "When she
LOVED she knew NO SHAME." Neither did Ormond.