Queen of Outer Space (1958)

“It would appear that all things are possible in space.”

Synopsis:
Four male astronauts (Eric Fleming, Paul Birch, Patrick Waltz, and Dave Wilcox) land on Venus, where they discover that disfigured, man-hating Queen Yllana (Laurie Mitchell) has exiled all the planet’s men, and plans to destroy the Earth. The astronauts enlist the help of the Venetian underground movement — led by scientist Zsa Zsa Gabor — to fight back against Yllana.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary points out, it’s hard to resist doing an armchair analysis of the gender politics in this “ludicrous camp classic” starring Zsa Zsa Gabor in her only notable film role. The film is pure male fantasy all the way, with the “reasonable” women — no matter how strong they purport to be — ultimately desiring a man by their side and validation of their beauty. As Peary puts it, they’re “straight-off-a-casting-couch beautiful … sexually aggressive … and carry guns” !! The film’s cheap special effects are downright ridiculous, the acting is stilted, and the “science” is corrupt; this one is strictly for fans of “bad movies”.

Redeeming Qualities:

  • Cult star Zsa Zsa Gabor in what was (surprisingly) her only significant film role; she’s prominant on the poster, yet doesn’t even play the title character
    Zsa Zsa
  • The disturbing masks worn by Queen Yllana and her ladies-in-waiting (reminiscent of the creepy French horror flick Eyes Without a Face, 1959)
    Mask Queen

Must See?
Yes, for its status as a cult favorite.

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One Response to “Queen of Outer Space (1958)”

  1. Not a must.

    I hadn’t seen this in years and had some kind of memory that it was indeed a camp classic. The title, at least, would keep such a thought in mind.

    But a cc it’s not. It’s a fairly lifeless outing.

    A tedious set-up gets us to Venus – 15 min. in, we then get the credits! – and it’s another bit of a languorous haul before we see any women. (Peary’s comment that they’re – all? – “straight-off-a-casting-couch beautiful” is puzzling.) A good deal of this film is spent in non-verbal walking – whether it be in the attempt to escape, the trek of re-capture, the walk to have audience with the queen, etc.

    Of course, being a ’50s flick, the floodgates are wide-open for gender politics debate. But ultimately, it ain’t got the stuff to be an unintended howler. Oh, sure, there’s a chuckle when Gabor says, “I hate that queen!” But…that’s about it, really.

    I’m not saying the right crowd, small or large, wouldn’t possibly have fun with it. But, it’s no, say, ‘Kitten With a Whip’.

    cf: I’m sure it, in part, influenced 1991’s ‘Vegas in Space’ – a much better cc candidate, if consciously so.

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