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Giant Spiders and Mad Scientists at Virtual Cinema a Go-Go!

Mesa of Lost Women at Cinema a Go Go

Crazed scientists, rabid super-women and one really unconvincing giant spider collide in the forbidden Mexican desert! It’s Mesa of Lost Women, our next incredibly strange offering at Virtual Cinema a Go-Go on Friday, August 6, at 7 p.m. Register to attend via Zoom here.

This weird and wacky Z-movie epic has everything you’d want in a vintage monster movie - giant spiders, dancing girls, spider-girls, DANCING spider-girls (who perform the weird “Tarantula Dance”), cross-eyed mad scientists, square-jawed test pilots, flashbacks within flashbacks and minor characters based on horribly dated ethnic stereotypes.

Mad scientist Dr. Aranya (and aren’t the scientists in these movies ALWAYS mad?) has created a giant spider in his desert laboratory and in his spare time he’s injecting his female subjects with spider venom in an attempt to create a master race of superwomen – all in the name of science, of course. When a hijacked planeload of travelers crash lands on Aranya’s desert mesa, the plot goes from simply bizarre to downright incoherent.

Rumor has it this was an unfinished Ed Wood epic. Several actors from Wood’s stock company are featured here – Lyle Talbot, Mona MacKinnon and Delores Fuller – plus Hoyt Curtin’s flamenco guitar music was re-used in Wood’s 1954 film Jail Bait.

It appears Mesa of Lost Women was begun by director Herbert Tevos, who apparently ran out of funds and abandoned the film. Then Ron Ormond wasted good money to acquire the film and shot additional footage and released it as Mesa of Lost Women.

In addition, we’ll be screening a rare episode from Tales of Tomorrow, TV’s first science fiction anthology which was broadcast live on ABC between 1951 and 1953.  We’ll see the episode “Frankenstein” starring Lon Chaney Jr. as the Frankenstein Monster. There’s a story that Chaney was so inebriated during the live broadcast that he mistakenly thought it was a rehearsal so, when the Monster is supposed to be smashing up Frankenstein’s laboratory, he instead just picks up the furniture, waves it around and then gently places it back on the studio floor. Well, it WAS live TV.

This event is free of charge...but we welcome contributions to support Retro Cocktail Hour and all KPR programming by clicking here. All you need to do is provide your name and email address in this web form, and you'll receive the exclusive log-in information for the event. If you have any questions, reach out to Christy Imel at christyimel@ku.edu.

This event requires access to a Zoom account. You can download Zoom here. When you get to the Zoom download page, you will select "Zoom client for meetings." Once you have that downloaded, open the app and create your Zoom account - that way you'll be ready to go for the movie Friday, August 6!

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