This review is part of the Horror’s “Worst” Films: Tasteless Entertainment or Endurance Test? series.
Horror’s “Worst” Films – Fire Maidens from Outer Space (1956)
Fire Maidens from Outer Space (1956) is a sci-fi monster film that was UK produced but written and directed by American Cy Roth. In a film that makes even the worst original series Star Trek episodes look like Citizen Kane (1941), we follow a group of bored looking, chain smoking astronauts (even in the spaceship) as they land on the 13th moon of Jupiter only to discover the lost civilization of Atlantis. The meager society is made up of an old patriarch and a bevy of beautiful women who do seemingly endless dance routines when they’re not being plagued by a monster they call “the man with the head of a beast” – really, a guy in an unmoving fright mask and black jumpsuit with visible zippers down the back who comes around and yells “Rrraaaaaaagh!” And 1950s sexual politics abound as the girls are all man-hungry, man-hating, or helpless damsels (at least Robot Monster gave us a female character who was supposed to possess a brilliant scientific mind, even if we never saw it).
This could have been great campy fun were it not so soul-crushingly slow. The film is mostly padding – at one point we follow a secretary through a door, down stairs, having a conversation, then back up the stairs and through the door again. Maybe the editor fell asleep like I almost did. Not even the short skirts, nice legs, and arching backs can save it. With all the filler and a storyline that never seems to want to start, this one is unfortunately a test of endurance.