American International Pictures probably meant Voodoo Woman to be taken seriously as a horror film and while it was not awful in the strictest sense, it was not scary in the slightest. Perhaps the biggest problem with the picture is the fact that there was no voodoo woman to be found. Yes, there was a village woman who Dr. Gerard as played by Tom Conway, experimented upon using a combination of voodoo and science to create the perfect beast, but the film could have been called Danger in the Jungle and been far more accurate. It was good marketing on AIP’s part though and truth be told, many studios did the same thing, as labelling a film something close to what it could be about was often better than its actual subject matter. That being said, Voodoo Woman was not all bad as there was a woman and she was the subject of voodoo and when all was said and done, the movie did manage to entertain.
While Conway does his best to perfect his experiments deep within the jungle, Marilyn Blanchard and her boyfriend come to the realization that there is gold in them hills and she means to get it no matter who she has to go through including Mike Connors who plays Ted Bronson, their guide through the forest. Marla English stars as the villainous Blanchard and while she may not be the best actress to have ever appeared in film, particularly this one, and her performance is what puts this movie over the top and becomes the main draw for the whole thing. In fact, nobody seemed to be putting in their best Academy Award performances, but at least English went for it as best she could and watching her, that combination of beauty and evil intentions, was better than most anything else present.
While director Edward L. Cahn failed to generate any scares, the movie did have a good atmosphere about it, being dark and slightly exotic and at the very least, setting the stage for the events about to happen. The creature was a little underwhelming, but not as terrible as one might expect. Thankfully the monster was not in a prominent position throughout the feature, but perhaps if it was, maybe it would have been just a little more interesting. Another minor problem was the fact that the two storylines in the film seemed to be vying for attention – the search for gold and the creation of a voodoo monster, with neither one coming out on top. If the focus had been singular, things might have worked out just a bit better for all involved.
Altogether, Voodoo Woman did not make for the most impressive package, but it was unintentionally more fun than maybe it was supposed to be. There was a complete lack of horror, not for lack of trying and those that may be looking for a few scares had best look elsewhere. That being said, this B horror picture is not a complete waste of time and a decent way to spend a lazy afternoon.
2.5 out of 5
Categories: Horror, Movies and Film
Later one of Larry Buchanan’s Azalea Pictures remakes, in this case CURSE OF THE SWAMP CREATURE, Jeff Alexander in the Tom Conway role of the mad scientist, John Agar in the Mike Connors role of guide.
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