At the Explorers’ Club in London — yes, it’s all rich white dudes — Dr. Moran (George Coulouris) tells everyone that he’s going to the Amazon to get “a miracle-working JuJu that can bring the dead back to life.” While there, he watches Marpessa Dawn, a year removed from being in Black Orpheus — get eaten by a tree. Then he gets jungle fever and it takes five years for him to recover.
Dr. Moran has brought the tree and the drummer who controls it, Tanga (Jimmy Vaughan), to keep on working on bringing life to death, which starts with feeding Susan Curtis to the tree. I’m amused that Sara Leighton, who played the role, became a famous lady of British society known for her portrait painting.
Meanwhile, Sally Norton (Vera Day) is working at a sideshow dancing the hula-hula, because Hawaii was all mondo to British people in the late 50s. A local favorite named Jack Venner (Peter Wayn) ends up getting her fired and then hired by Moran, who must love Tanya Donelly because he can’t stop feeding that tree. And he starts falling for Sally, even strangling the woman who has loved him nearly forever, Margaret Santor (Joyce Gregg), all so she can start working in his lab.
The end of this movie gets all nihilist, as the drummer refuses to teach the secret of how to keep the brain alive after death and Moran realizes he loved Margaret and tries to bring her back to life, only to have her as a brainless zombie. Tanga tries to feed Sally to the tree, Moran sets it on fire and then gets killed by the drummer’s knife before Tanga kneels before the tree and lets it set him on fire.
Director Charles Saunders and writer Brandon Fleming stopped making movies after 1963. That’s a shame because this movie is just…something.
You can watch this on Tubi.