Thursday, May 7, 2009

50s Sci-Fi: Recalling Fire Maidens in Outer Space


This is another one of those “middle aged men meets curvy cuties in tight outfits on the moon” film that was typical of 1950s entertainment. Other films in this science fiction sub-genre of the 50s include: Cat Women of The Moon, Missile To The Moon and Queen of Outer Space with Zsa Zsa Gabor. While Queen of Outer Space is the most well produced and well known of these films, I find this film to be the most interesting of the group.

After landing on a moon near the planet Jupiter, a group of space travelers, known as Expedition 13, encounter a beautiful screaming woman. She leads them to a stone dwelling and to a room with a painting of a woman floating on a seashell. The painting looks much like Sandro Botticelli’s painting of “The Birth of Venus.” In fact, the man waiting to greet the expedition, known as Prosis, refers to the women of Jupiter as “the last descendants of Aphrodite,” an Ancient Greek goddess. The room is decorated with Ancient Greek art, and the women even wear dresses that display the meandor pattern found on Ancient Greek terra cotta vases. The women dance to the music of Borodin’s “Polovetsin Dances.” The title of the film suggests they are fire maidens because they perform sacrifices around a burning altar.

The most interesting aspect of this film is the dopey looking alien monster that secretly watches the second group of Expedition 13 behind a group of trees. Later, the alien attacks the maidens as they perform a sacrifice. The alien wears black tights and a mask that looks like a rejected design for the Planet of The Apes films, minus the facial hair and lots of pimples. Both Missile To The Moon and Queen of Outer Space have scenes using a ridiculous looking giant rubber spider, but I find myself more interested in the dopey looking creature used in this film. He growls like a lion at the zoo.

If you purchase this film for your collection, I would strongly recommend that you purchase it from Sinister Cinema in Medford, Oregon. The print they sell is in very good condition. Avoid at all costs the print sold by Crypt Flicks. It is out of focus and in very poor condition. Many of the films I have bought from Crypt Flicks, such as The Lost Missile and Fire Maidens In Outer Space, have been very poor in quality. It is not worth the $15 they charge you for each film. Plus, they never respond to e-mail complaints if you send them an e-mail.
Steve D. Stones

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