Danger Disguised – The Disembodied (1957)

Tonda is not too happy with her husband. Perhaps that is why she is always trying to kill him. He is a little older than she, maybe more than a little, while she remains young and beautiful and full of life. She also happens to be a voodoo high priestess, thereby having the means to kill her husband without leaving anything to trace it back to her. For the most part, Tonda is tired of living in the jungle and when Tom comes along, it is the perfect opportunity to not only get rid of the old man that is weighing her down, but to escape the greenery which surrounds her and begin a new life. It is of course, easier said than done.

For a horror film, there is little horror to be found within this particular picture except for the betrayal of a loved one and the practice of a magic and religion that most cannot comprehend. Also, Tonda is a little responsible for at least one death that occurs and who knows how many more that the viewer is never shown. So while it is not exactly spine-tingling, it is suspenseful at times as one never knows exactly what Tonda is going to do. She knows what she wants, it only comes down to timing and method and she has many powers in her arsenal, not all of them voodoo, which she will use to accomplish those goals. Additionally, that unexpectedness, that wildness which comes from Tonda adds to whatever horror one can find in the picture for she truly is, more than any other in this movie, a monster.

Starring as Tonda is Allison Hayes, iconic B movie actress who also happens to be all the special effects that this picture needs. Watching this film, it is apparent why as director Walter Grauman focuses upon her beauty which not only sells the movie, but also her performance as she uses her looks to seduce those around her. Tonda knows that she is a beautiful woman and uses that knowledge to cement her base of power. Opposite her is good guy Paul Burke who plays Tom Maxwell, a man who wants to succumb to Tonda’s many charms, but realizes in the end that doing so could be a fatal mistake. Rounding out the cast is John Wengraf who stars as the object of Tonda’s murderous inclinations, the husband who is now in the way and needs to be removed.

With bad intentions, a little bit of action, a dance by Hayes that ends up being the most memorable thing about this picture and some voodoo magic interspersed throughout, The Disembodied is a decent film for what it is. Ultimately marketed as a horror but not exactly being one, it still manages to be a good way to pass the time which is the least of which one can ask.

3 out of 5

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