Thursday, September 2, 2010

Queen of Outer Space

Queen of Outer Space is a campy sci-fi film about a spaceship crew that, while on a routine trip out to a space station, gets thoroughly lasered and crash-lands on Venus.

As it turns out, Venus is inhabited solely by women, whose queen, Yllana (Laurie Mitchell), had destroyed the space station with a death ray and now wants to destroy the planet earth before its inhabitants destroy Venus.

"But how could a WOMAN be smart enough to create such a powerful weapon?"

Queen Yllana's opinion of the earth-men is colored by the fact that her face was disfigured by radiation during an earlier war waged against men from another planet.

'd guess that she also has a little bit of pent up anger from a lifetime of being named Yllana...

Psst... that's "Anally" spelled backwards.

As it turns out, Yllana's beliefs aren't shared by all the Venutian "Glamazons." In particular, someone in her royal court, Talleah (Zsa Zsa Gabor), actually leads a secret resistance force that quickly decides to help the captured earthmen escape.


Because it's the 50's, the men quickly take charge of the revolt force by virtue of their overwhelming charisma and the resistance force is no longer much use for anything but swooning.

Of course, eventually everything culminates in a giant catfight... and those silly dames get easily overwhelmed by the side that includes men.

The queen is easily dethroned and the men get their opportunity to communicate back to earth to schedule a rescue mission to pick them up... in one year so they'll have plenty of time to do a little repopulating with the locals.

The men reluctantly accept their duty.

It probably won't surprise you to learn that the first third of this movie was actually shot in only one day. The movie gives us a few intro shots of the space-crew to introduce their personalities and let us see the interior of their ship (which looks strangely like the ship-interior set in World Without End ... which is also where the men's uniforms were last seen).

Right away the men blast off and we're shown stock footage of an actual rocket launch of a completely different looking rocket.

Moments later, we're given a shot of their transforming ship flying through space... Only now it's actually the spaceship model from Flight to Mars.

While I'm on the subject of borrowed props, the little rayguns the Glamazons use are lifted out of Forbidden Planet.

Anyway, my point is that the movie wastes no time at all getting to the point, even if that requires taking a few shortcuts. A lot of old movies are paced so slowly that they can be hard to watch today... but not this one. Within five minutes or so we're already on Venus with the Glamazons and things are actually happening. The movie keeps a nice novelty-to-pacing balance, doesn't go on for longer than it needs to, and makes a real effort to keep itself entertaining throughout.

Actually, it might have tried a little too hard to keep things interesting...
"There's been nothing but calm dialog against a boring backdrop for the last 60 seconds!
Quick, throw the giant paper-mâché bug into the scene!

"Yeah, the one we found in the prop box we got those uniforms out of."

Queen of Outer Space has a reputation for being among the cheesiest, campiest relics of 50's sci-fi, and for good reason. While the cardboard sets and misogyny don't hold up, the entertainment value definitely does.

Available on Amazon

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