Fire Maidens of Outer Space (1956)

Some people are content enough to never think about movies all that much. They watch them, they may like them, they may forget them and then they go on about having busy lives, making important business decisions and thinking that they’re a success. And then there’s me, awake in the middle of the night, wondering just how many movies have matriarchal societies (like the earlier Flight to Mars and the later Project Moonbase, and the later Mutiny in Outer Space) within science fiction movies.

I’ve paid for my weirdness in money, depression and a sure future.

Enjoy the benefits of my Prometheus-like ways and join me, all week, as we get into these movies.

Fire Maidens of Outer Space is the kind of movie where you can see the zipper on the monster and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a British-American co-production and I’m astounded that no one looked at what writer/director Cy Roth had, well, wrought.

You’ll recognize the rocket that launches early in this movie from so many other 1950’s science fiction junk films — such as King Dinosaur. It’s a V-2 rocket that was taken from the Germans, probably as part of Operation paperclip, and launched at the White Sands base in 1946.

Once a new moon of Jupiter is found*, Earth sends five men who are as quick to smoke a cigarette and shoot a gun as they are to attempt diplomacy. This is the most realistic notion that this movie presents. Quickly after landing, they save Hestia (Susan Shaw, whose leading lady status was slowly eroded thanks to alcoholism) from a monster and discover that New Atlantis — a colony of the original! — is about to die out and that there are only sixteen women and one old man left.

They’d like to stick around and help, but once they discover that the leader Duessa (Jacqueline Curtis, The Camp on Blood Island) plans on keeping them as studs to repopulate her race, they try to get home. Of course, the monster gets loose, lots of people die and the remaining women all fall for our dashing crew members, like Luther Blair (Anthony Dexter, who was so frustrated by Hollywood typecasting him in only roles like Valentino — they looked incredibly alike — that he quit to become a high school teacher).

This is basically a much worse Cat-Women of the Moon, except you know, with more cigarettes and thirteen Fire Maidens. And don’t get us started with King Dinosaur, where they just simply nuke the planet before leaving. Oh, and if that meteor shower looks familiar, that’s because it’s pinched from Robert L. Lippert’s Rocketship X-M (which we discuss in our review of Flight to Mars).

*The movie is remarkably accurate in one way — it predicted that we would discover that the 13th moon of Jupiter. We sure did — 18 years later — and named it Thelxinoe.

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