Pros: Not rated, no DVD extras .. oh wait, this is supposed to be pros
Cons: oh please
The Bottom Line: Just pure tripe, love it or leave it
Preceding the Halloween weekend I decided to invest in a little tasteless movie watching. Nothing says mindless crapola like some old black and white 1950s era B-grade movies and I got me 3 good-uns.
The Women Eaters makes little ole Audrey from The Little Shop of Horrors look like a Venus fly trap. Maybe the Little Shop, etc., people got their idea from this movie, who knows. Me, I got a lot of laughs.
The natural requirements of any good 50s era horror flick are a mad scientist, a faithful servant or two, and a pretty girl. Got em. Our scientist is Dr. James Moran, at first appearance a fairly mild mannered guy until he makes a fateful trek into, we assume, the backwoods of the dankest jungles of the Amazon and discovers a nasty little secret. Somehow he manages to bring it back to England with him - dont ask me how, this was never explained - and sets up shop in his basement laboratory.
Enter faithful servant #1 - his housekeeper, Mrs. Margaret Santor. Seems ole Santor has had a wet spot for the doc for years and humbly serves his every wishes. Later on an affair between the two is alluded to, thus her patient plodding along, waiting for the doc to pop the question. Aint happening.
Faithful servant #2 - Tanga. Now if memory serves me correctly, Tanga was part of his household before he made his Amazonian trek because other men at the club referred to the docs weird servant. On the other hand, they could have been speaking about Mrs. Santor - grin. Anyway, after this amazing trek and the retrieval of The Woman Eater, Tanga is now in residence, in a loin cloth, and beating on the drums to lure unsuspecting young women to their death.
Now from what I can gather, his normal woman of choice are barflys and prostitutes. In other words, women with no ties and one no one will particularly miss, even though this is a fairly small town. Of course he makes an error when the wrong pretty girl shows up on his doorstep.
The wrong pretty girl, Sally Norton, previously worked in a carnival as one of those exotic dancers, supposedly from some unknown South Seas island, despite the fact she is a buxom blonde with no visible tan. Hard to really say, this was black and white, but she appeared to be milky white and creamy in complexion. Then there are two other factors, she cant dance worth a lick (but whos there for her dancing prowess anyway?) and when she opens her yap she has a definite cockney accent, yep, like most South Sea island women, sure.
After getting booted from the sideshow, she makes her trek into town and meets up with the town local hunk, Jack Venner. Good old handsome Jack, the town mechanic, works on Dr. Morans car, and as things go in these old flicks, hooks Sally up with the Doc as an extra housekeeper. Now you know and I know that Mrs. Santor aint gonna go for this gig one little iota. In fact, she is practically puce with jealousy, and rightfully so. It seems the Doc has developed a wet spot of his own for the lithesome Sally - oh my, how will this story develop?
Frankly my dears, if ya wanna know what comes next, rent the movie and sit through the 70 minutes like I did, it will do ya good and take your mind off the mundane things in life.
Now about this Woman Eater, this tree thing. I know Ive given little detail about the star of our movie and it is simply difficult to explain. Its a tree, kinda, however the branches are really arms that wave around in the air like an octopus once Tonga starts the drums a-pounding. At the end of each branch/arm is a mouth, or what appears to be a mouth. Also there is a central mouth like thing, I dont know, like a big gaping hole.
The women of the tribe, and the Docs pick ups, are hypnotized by the rhythm of the drums and simply sacrifice themselves to the tree. For some reason, sanity always takes hold at the final moment and instead of mindlessly walking into the arms of the tree thing, like any good hypnotized person would do, they become reluctant at the end and have to be shoved forward, giving us the opportunity to listen to their high pitched screaming. Not pretty.
The idea of this tree thing is that some liquid can be extracted afterwards and this liquid can be used to restore dead people to life. You see why the mad Doc is so worked up about this bad boy - fame and fortune.
Is it successful? Oh bloody Hell, this is the 50s for cripes sake, what do you think?
Could this have been the worst visual effects Ive ever witnessed, possibly, but then again, Ive seen some pretty lameassed movies. It was bad, suffice that to say. Add to the miserable visuals the acting, or lack thereof. Melodramatic and cheesy are the only two things I can think to say about the abilities of our stars. Boggles the mind to think that movies of this ilk kept us happy back in the old days.
Lets discuss Sally for a moment. Here she is, presumably traveling about in this carnival for sometime, yet when she appears walking down the road in her high heels and flowing coat, all she has is one small suitcase about the size of todays travel computer bag. Yet, somehow, she manages to wear endless multitudes of outfits, miraculously pulled out of this miniscule suitcase like rabbits out of a hat. Then again, she was in a carnival and perhaps she knows how to perform these magic tricks. Our demure and winsome Sally was played by Vera Day.
Then there is Jack, our resident mechanic. Jack, probably in his mid-30s, lives with his mother in quite a nice home. His garage is always full of cars to be worked on, so I would guess he is somewhat busy, yet he is always clean and neat, never greasy, and appears in a suit and tie for most of the movie, even in his garage. Im not thinking he is the boss and just doesnt get dirty because in the first scene at the garage he is under a car when Sally walks up, on one of those dolly things. Even then, when he rolls out - clean and neat as a pin. Jack, our neat freak, was played by Peter Wayn.
The balance of our crew, as bizarre as they were, were no better. Dr. Moran, played by George Coulouris, was just your typical 50s British mad doctor. A little sleazy, a little nasty, a little horny when he shouldnt have been. The simpering and sometimes stern Mrs. Santor was played by Joyce Gregg. It was reputed about town that she was cross and stern but through most of the movie she was little more than a panting dog following after the doc. Lets get it down to basics, the doc was no looker, basically an old codgy fart, then again, it has been a l-o-n-g while since Mrs. Santor had anyone give her a second glance either.
Typecast in the typical role of island servant gone English was Jimmy Vaughn as Tanga. Tangas spoken role was limited in this movie but at least they didnt have him speaking that guttural English like he has just discovered how to speak. He carried a small accent, from his native soil one would assume, but otherwise spoke fluently. That was a major relief, I always hate that stuttering speech they given someone that is supposed to be new to the English speaking language.
The tree didnt speak.
Thats it folks, The Women Eater, released in 1957, written by Brandon Fleming and directed by Charles Saunders. It received no awards, imagine. The best part of the movie is the tagline: See the nerve-shattering Dance of Death!
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Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
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Mad scientist Dr. Moran obtains a sacred tribal tree from the Amazon that supposedly produces a sap that can restore life to the dead. Unfortunately, this tree can only live by eating beautiful women, which causes Dr. Moran no small amount of problems, especially when his assistant begins to show amorous interest in Moran's young housekeeper, Sally. With a plot that sounds like some bizarre sexual metaphor for something and a tree that favors scantily clad beauties, this one's sure to be fun for the whole family.