Woman Eater, The (1959)
Starring: George Colouris, Robert Mackenzie, Marpessa Dawn, Norman Claridge
Director: Charles Saunders
Synopsis: Mad Scientist Imports Psychotic Amazonian Tree with dire consequences.
As far as Killer Tree movies go, and you would be surprised how much psychotic fauna Hollywood has produced over the years……. Woman Eater is certainly not the worst. George Colouris, a hammer regular, plays the Dr. Frankenstein type, driven by his demented ego into meddling with matters that should be left well alone. Matters of life and death…. eek!
The movie begins with him shooting off to a remote Amazonian tribe where it is rumoured, the dead can be restored to life through some potion or the other. The evil Dr. Moran is accompanied by one of his explorer acquaintances just for kicks and together they manage to hack through acres of thick rainforest before arriving at the typical gathering of “natives” performing their mysterious voodoo rites. There is the obligatory guy with the face paint wearing a python or two trying his best to appear thoroughly menacing. While the lowlifes pound away at those tribal bongos with commendable vigour, a bodacious damsel, seemingly in a trance, edges her way slowly towards something that resembles a large tree with numerous arms and “things” sticking out of it…….it doesn’t look like the kind of tree you might want to have a picnic under, no sir.
The tree thing quite resembles the nasty trees from The Wizard of Oz…. remember them? Anyway a few years later, nasty mad scientist Colouris sets up his own mad scientist’s lab in his very own basement along with forlorn, rejected ex love interest who labours away as an accomplice to the nefarious deeds down below. Our Dr. is trying to do a Frankenstein with a serum derived from the Amazonian Tree thing with the dangling arms. Unfortunately, in order to be able to extract the life restoring juice that will bring him fame and fortune, he must feed the tree with nubile young bimbos on a regular basis. The less clothed they are, the more Zap juice the tree seems to provide.
Naturally after the first beauty or two, the tree gets spoilt and demands more and more nubile flesh……Colouris must provide to get ahead with his masterplan. To be fair there are one or two moments of fairly genuine tension…. the scene where the crowd is itching for our dizzy blonde heroine to leave the evil Dr.’s mansion….and the resurrection scene itself is not as laughable as one could have expected.
Colouris does a fine job as Dr. Demented and the love interest retains a straight face throughout, which is to her credit. The ditzy blonde is a dreadful Monroe clone with a most awful early Madonna voice. The director makes full use of her in clothes that hug every curve….and there are a couple of cheap suggestive scenes that would not go amiss in a Lollywood production.
It’s no classic, not by a long way, yet it is quite watchable and moves along fairly rapidly and is reasonably short. The tree ought to have been rather more threatening than it actually was…. it’s a bit like the tree that made an appearance right at the end of Evil Dead 2 but with those dangling arms. Pity also that the tree didn’t make chewing, munching sounds while devouring its victims, or that a few splatters of blood didn’t go flying around at feeding time.
Some Brits with their latent penchant for racism back in the 50’s (thankfully far less evident today) portray the dirty “native” as a typical lowly, scheming, double crossing vermin responsible for the whole mess……bloody typical, should have sent back those Paki’s ages ago……. though in this instance, he was from the Amazon!