FIRE MAIDENS FROM OUTER SPACE (1956)
(a.k.a. FIRE MAIDENS OF OUTER SPACE)
Article #806 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-30-2003
Posting Date: 10-27-2003
Directed by Cy Roth
Featuring Anthony Dexter, Paul Carpenter, Susan Shaw
Astronauts find the lost civilization of Atlantis on the third moon of Jupiter. It’s a civilization of beautiful females and one doddering old man.
Title check: Oops; I forgot to check if my print said FIRE MAIDENS OF OUTER SPACE or FIRE MAIDENS FROM OUTER SPACE, both of which are now believed to have been legitimate titles for the movie. We are in outer space, there are maidens, and when they worship, there is fire, so I guess I can’t blow the whistle on the movie on any of these points.
Imagine you’re sitting in a doctor’s office. You’ve gone to the doctor to have him check out a rather dull but persistent pain in your back; it’s not extremely painful, but it never allows you to relax enough so you can forget that it’s there. You’ve been waiting thirty minutes for the doctor to see you. None of the magazines are interesting, and the TV is running footage of the Senate in session, but the sound is turned too low to hear anything. The nurse keeps entering, and you hope that she’s about to call you in, but she never does. The only other person in the waiting room is preoccupied and doesn’t want to talk. So you find that you only have your own thoughts to keep you company, and you can’t think because the pain keeps distracting you. There’s a newspaper which you’ve already read, but you turn to the crossword puzzle for something to do, but it’s already been done. You check the clock on the wall; thirty seconds have passed since the last time you checked it. You can’t sleep because you’ve just drank some coffee. All you can do is wait.
If you can imagine what the above experience would be like, than you’ve been prepared to experience what watching FIRE MAIDENS FROM OUTER SPACE would be like. It’s part of the rather dumb but highly exploitable subgenre of all-female civilizations like CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON or QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE. Sure, it has beautiful women in short skirts in it, but so do all those other movies (and QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE is in color, to boot), so there’s really no excuse for this one; it really is a waste of time. It’s worst aspect is its tendency to throw in repetitive scenes where absolutely nothing happens; we sit there a great deal of the time and just watch the actors sit there and look at each other, and we wonder why this scene is in the script. I suspect that a lot of the scenes are just padding to stretch the thing out to eighty minutes, but at least other directors would know that you need to have something happening in the padding. No doubt there will be those that will hunt this out just because it has a civilization of beautiful women in it, but I can’t emphasize enough that there are other options.