Derek Winnert

Voodoo Woman ** (1957, Tom Conway, Marla English, Mike Connors, Lance Fuller, Mary Ellen Kaye) – Classic Movie Review 2483

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Somewhere in the jungle, a mad scientist, Dr Roland Gerard (an aged and unengaged Tom Conway), is determined to create the perfect human being. Using a combination of science and black voodoo, he creates a new species (‘indestructible, the beginning of a new and mighty race’) – a cross between man and beast.

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When his first creation, a native girl, will not kill upon his telepathic command, he (belatedly in the plot) meets a gold-hunting, murderous American miss, Marilyn Blanchard (Marla English) – ‘a woman by day… a monster by night’ – and turns her into his killer monster. Meanwhile jungle adventurer Ted Bronson (Mike Connors) assists Conway’s wife to flee the natives pretty darned quick as they’re about to sacrifice them.

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Director Edward L Cahn’s low-budget ($65,000) 1957 sci-fi horror outing for American International Pictures is muddled, murky and illogical. But, with its terrible acting, feeble plotting, risible dialogue and rotten effects, it is definitely camp fun to laugh at if you’re in the mood and it’s short enough at 75 minutes not to outstay its welcome. It enjoys an enviable reputation as one of the cinema’s worst films.

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Paul Blaisdell makes a pathetic monster (though both Conway’s transformations are female) and he also created the tacky monster suit, a burlap sarong topped with a modified skull mask and big blond wig. The 1999 video print and subsequent DVD showed that the movie is in excellent condition.

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Also in the cast are Lance Fuller, Mary Ellen Kaye, Paul Dubov, Martin Wilkins, Norman Willis and Otis Greene.

The make-up design for the voodoo woman was deemed unsuitable at the last minute and the title monster is the She Creature costume stripped of its tail, fins and claws. A lion’s growl was dubbed in for added effect

AIP released it in a double feature with Roger Corman’s The Undead.

Mike Connors (born Krekor Ohanian; August 15, 1925 – January 26, 2017) was best known for playing detective Joe Mannix in the TV series Mannix.

© Derek Winnert 2015 Classic Movie Review 2483

Check out more reviews on http://derekwinnert.com

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The film poster by Albert Kallis.

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