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A couple is found after a death defying stroll through the Mexican
desert. As they are brought into the offices of an oil mining company,
they tell their story - but as the off-screen narrator (Lyle Talbot)
informs us, they don't even know all of the story, so he tells us
It all started a year ago, when famed scientist Doctor Aranya (Jackie
Coogan) invites famed scientist Doctor Masterson (Harmon Stevens) to his
lab, which is hidden away on a mesa deep deep in the Mexican desert.
At first, Masterson is fascinated by Aranya's experiments, until he
learns what he really intends to produce: Spiders the sice of humans &
humans with insect traits, like superhuman strength, relative
invulnerability & the ability to grow back organs. Thing is, the
experiments are only truly successful on females, since in the insect
world, the males are rather useless (& Aranya's male insect/human
hybrids have all turned into dwarves) ... Masterson refuses, so he has to
be restraned by Aranya. Somehow though he manages to escape ... but goes
One year later: Waiting for their pilot Grant (Robert Knapp) to repair
their airplane & fly them to their intended wedding in Mexico City,
Doreen (Mary Hill) & Jan (Nico Lek) visit a little diner near the
airport, where suddenly a quite mad man, Masterson in fact, makes friends
with them. Soon his nurse George (George Barrows) comes by to fetch him
(Masterson has escaped from the loonie bin 2 days ago), but then Masterson
pulls a gun, & not only that, he shoots Tarantella (Tandra Quinn), the
exotic dancer of the place (who is of course one of Aranya's insect
Then Masterson forces Van to take him along on the flight, & soon
everybody - Grant, Van & Doreen, George & George's servant Wu
(Samuel Wu) - are on Grant's half repaired plane with him, when suddenly
a) Grant realizes someone has sabotaged his navigation, &
b) everybody notices the engine blowing up.
Grant can only just (crash)land the airplane on a mesa in the Mexican
desert - Aranya's mesa of course, but they don't know that yet ...
Aranya's insect women & dwarves lie in the waiting however, & soon
one of the group, George, is stupid enough to go onto a little expedition
on his own, & is immediately killed by an insect/woman/whatever.
This doesn't exactly calm the others down, as their fate - being
stranded in the middle of the Mexican desert without food & only a
bottle of brandy to drink - is bad enough as it is. Still, when Doreen
mentions she ahs lost one of her combs, Jan sends Wu off on a little
expedition on his own to find the damned thing.
... but Wu isn't exactly the best of friends either, since he has
secretly been working for Aranya, luring the group - successfully - here
for him. But now Aranya has no more use for Wu & has him killed too.
Then Aranya decides to close in on the others for real & has his
women & insects attack them. Jan panics, takes off into the woods
& is eaten by a giant tarantula, the others though are taken prisoner
by Aranya ... which is when Masterson ghets back to his senses, grabs the
next explosive in sight & threatens to blow Aranya, his giant insects,
insect-women & himself to kingdom cvome, & he leaves Grant &
Doreen just enough time to escape before he does, too ...
Ed Wood regulars Dolores Fuller & Mona McKinnon play insect women.
One of the truly greats of bad filmmaking: Nothing really seems to fit
here, the productin values are low, the special effects are laughable, the
direction is uninspired, the plot is as overused as it is illogical (&
Lyle Talbot's out-of-this-world narration doesn't make it any better), the
music (which was later reused in Ed Wood's Jail
Bait), consisting mainly of flamenco guitars, seems out of place,
& the acting ranges from wooden to weird (especially Harmon Stevens'
performance as the scientist gone mad is ... strange) ... & yet the
film is great entertainment, somehow all these (wrong) ingredients fall
together in a way to turn this movie into an enjoyable experience (if for
all the wrong reasons).