Queen of Outer Space (1958)

It’s amazing just how much Amazon Women on the Moon got the parody of this movie right, all the way down to the uniforms.

What’s even more astounding is that this movie was written by Charles Beaumont, who wrote “Number Twelve Looks a Lot Like You” for the Twilight Zone, as well as 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, The Intruder and one of my favorite movies of all time, The Masque of the Red Death.

Oh man, this movie.

Edward Bernds is mostly known for Three Stooges and Bowery Boys shorts, but he also made Return of the FlyHigh School Hellcats and Reform School Girl, which are three movies that I absolutely love. He was hired by producer Walter Wanger, who had just got out of prison for shooting agent Jennings Lang when he caught him making time with his wife Joan Bennett.

Exiled to Allied Artists, he bought this movie, which wasn’t made for a decade and by which time others at the studio were looking for properties that had already been paid for. Throw in some recycling of Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, Cat-Women of the Moon and Fire Maidens from Outer Space, as well as actual recycling — Queen of Outer Space uses sets and ships from World Without End, footage from Flight to Mars, another ship from the Bowery Boys movie Paris Playboy and costumes from Forbidden Planet— and you have a movie.

The far-flung future world of 1985 is when Captain Patterson (Eric Fleming, Rawhide) and his crew of Lt. Mike Cruze (Dave Willock, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?), Lt. Larry Turner (Patrick Waltz, The Silencers) and Professor Konrad (Paul Birch, Day the World Ended) are attacked by a laser beam that crashes their ship on Venus, where they run afoul of Queen Yllana (Laurie Mitchell, who is also in the very similar Missile to the Moon). This masked matriarch presides over a society of all women, having killed all men after her face was scarred ten years ago. Well, not all the men — some of the scientists have been kept on a prison colony on one of the planet’s moons*.

Luckily, the all-white crew of JR “Bob” Dobbs lookalikes is helped by Talleah (Zsa Zsa Gabor, perfectly cast as the only Hungarian beauty queen in space) and her female comrades Motiya (Lisa Davis, the voice of Anita, the female owner of the 101 Dalmatians), Kaeel (The Monster That Challenged The World) and Odeena (Marilyn Buferd, the only actress I can think of who was in Les Belles de nuit and won Miss America and was also in The Unearthly).

For all my attempts at assembling a week of movies about matriarchies, Talleah and her friends long for the love of men, which means that this women-run planet cannot survive. It all falls apart when the queen decides to destroy Earth and the disintegrator backfires, killing her and putting Talleah in power.

Even though their ship is fixed, Earth’s leaders demand that they remain on Venus for a year, which is exactly what they wanted anyway. Everyone begins to embrace and hug one another and…well, let’s leave it up to your imagination.

You know who wasn’t happy? One of the crew left behind his girlfriend, who was played by Joi Lansing (Hillbillys in a Haunted House, Bigfoot).

The strangest thing about this movie, however, is that it predates Star Trek by eight years and the uniforms that the queen’s guard wear are in the same red, blue and gold colors.

*Strange, because Venus has no moon.

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