It's hard to believe that Devil Girl From Mars may have once scared the pants off baby boomers of the mid-1950s. The plot of the film has many similarities to the 1951 classic The Day The Earth Stood Still.
Martian Nyah, played by Patricia Laffan, is a sex starved, female version of Darth Vader who comes to earth to find men to take back to mars for breeding purposes. She comes dressed in a tight black outfit and cape, and carries a deadly ray gun. Her spaceship crashes in the hills of Scotland.
Joining Nyah is her oversized robot shaped like a kitchen appliance with a police light on top. The robot zaps anything and anyone in his path with an atomic ray, including humans who do not obey Nyah. He walks with a pace slower than a common snail, making it easy for victims to get away.
Nyah projects an invisible ray around a local Scottish Inn to keep the occupants contained while she decides which men to take back to mars with her. The occupants make several attempts to stop Nyah, but are unable to foil her plot. One of the occupants, an escaped murderer from a local jail, agrees to return to mars with Nyah in exchange for sparing the lives of the remaining inn occupants. While onboard Nyah's ship, he is able to destroy it, spoiling any future plans to return to earth for more men.
Most 1950s sci-fi films portray women as helpless victims while the men are busy being the heroes and saving the day. Devil Girl From Mars, however, reverses this formula a bit. Nyah is an evil queen from another world who has come to terrorize male victims. Was this a bold feminist statement for the 1950s? Perhaps. But only if Nyah had been successful in her attempts to bring back men to mars. Nevertheless, this is what makes Devil Girl From Mars unique from so many other 50s sci-fi flicks. Enjoy, and happy viewing!
Steve D. Stones