Fire Maidens of Outer Space (1956)

dir. Cy Roth

It’s pretty obvious that Cy Roth – director, producer and writer of Fire Maidens – was thrilled to be making a movie at all. Didn’t matter that the plot was nonsense and visual effects a joke – at least he was making a movie. Five astronauts, making their abundant masculinity known through chain-smoking and wide-legged stances, journey to the 13th moon of Jupiter where they find a community of scantily-clad, nymph-like women who like to sing and skip around. The story lies in the women wishing to kidnap the men so they can essentially perform death by snoo-snoo – but there’s also the presence of a dangerous monster, intent on harming the women. Fire Maidens is downright uncomfortable, with the monster wearing a dark costume and being played by a black man, while all the milk-white heroes talk about how inhuman it is. But it’s also pretty hilarious. A rocket flying through space is portrayed through a cardboard cut-out on a string. The men having to fight off sex-crazed women is such an egotistic premise that you can’t do much but laugh. It’s disturbing to think people were proud of this as a finished product, but it’s also a bit adorable.

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