Somehow it seemed inevitable back in the Fifties and Sixties. Every time our dauntless heroes landed on a new planet, they would find it filled with gorgeous women, whether the Moon (Missile to the Moon, Cat-women of the Moon), Uranus (Journey to the Seventh Planet), Jupiter’s moons (Fire Maidens from Outer Space), Future Earth (World Without End) or even Venus (Abbott and Costello Go to Mars).
But for some unknown reason, Mars got left out.
So it’s nice to see that Christopher R. Mihm has filled in the gap, even if he didn’t get “THE HOLLYWOOD COVER GIRLS” to play his planet full of warrior women.
Actually, this is a Mihm production, so it should come as no real surprise for our doughty heroes to reach Mars and only find four warrior women.
Oh, and one little girl warrior. Can’t forget her.
For those of you coming in late, Christopher R. Mihm makes some of the best, ultra-low budget, Fifties SF films out there, even if everyone else stopped making them in the mid-Sixties. And when we say “Ultra-low budget”, we are, yes, talking something closer to in price to Teenagers from Outer Space than The Man from Planet X. Let’s just say that if you love cardboard, you’ll love his films.
This time out, two astronauts land on Mars only to find it run by two warring tribes of women who have enslaved the weak men. Mihm leading man Josh Craig is on hand again, this time playing the son of his Professor Jackson character from The Monster of Phantom Lake, in his third Mihmiverse appearance (sadly, he would only appear once more, in Destination: Outer Space). Many of Mihm’s regular cast put in appearances as well, and Mrs. Mihm gets a lengthy non-speaking part.
In a curiously non-Fifties reference, Chris appears to have borrowed his dark-haired bad-girl warriors from Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Their leader even echoes Tura Satana’s look, complete with heavy bangs and long hair.
This is a superior bit of nonsense, and one of the better Mihm films. While his movies are often somewhat slow at first, this one avoids that, getting us into the action reasonably soon — at least for the more sedate pace of a Fifties SF film. It does bog down a bit in the middle, but then gets back to the good stuff, with a telepathic priestess and (more) warrior women fighting.
Still, it is nice to see someone making fun, cheesy, old-school SF films, which may occasionally give us a knowing little wink about the goofiness of the original films, yet which clearly still holds them in high esteem. It is rare for this sort of homage to show any respect for the originals these days, rare to see a retro Fifties film that understands and celebrates them rather than merely mocking them — and rare to see such films played (mostly) straight.
Christopher’s films may not be for everyone, but for those who love the films that inspired his work, they are always a joy.
Just don’t watch them if you expect millions of dollars of effects, extravagant action scenes or CGI monsters. After all, he made them for next to nothing as an act of love.
Cardboard sets, toy rockets, fake fur monster suits and all.
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