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Film / Fire Maidens from Outer Space

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A 1956 Science Fiction Film‎ written, produced and directed by Cy Roth; rivals Lost Continent and Star Trek: The Motion Picture for sheer glaciality of pace. Only the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment could make this snail watchable. On the other hand, it has lots of pretty ladies...

The plot (such as it is) follows a space expedition to the newly discovered 13th moon of Jupiter, where the astronauts are captured by a bevy of young women (the titular "fire maidens", so called only because of one scene at the climax) who turn out to be descendants of the fabled Atlantis, and who need breeding stock as well as protection from a mysterious creature lurking about.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.


This film provides examples of:

  • All Men Are Perverts: Every male in this movie acts like he hasn't gotten laid in years. Including one guy who mentions that he's married.
  • All Planets Are Earth-Like: Even if they're as far away from the sun as Jupiter. And Jupiter itself didn't become a sun until 2010.
  • Atlantis: Well, New Atlantis, at any rate.
  • Captain Obvious:
    Prasus: Food and drink will provide the necessary sustenance!
  • Damsel in Distress: Hestia, during the sacrifice (seeing that she was the sacrifice).
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Downplayed - the Maidens might not wear proper shoes, but they do wear sandals that look like flimsy versions of flip-flops. While these do get taken off when dancing before the astronauts, this can be seen as a mere practical consideration.
    • Acquires a more Played Straight flavour when the Maidens' sandals are nowhere to be seen for whatever reason once Hestia's been tied up for sacrifice but the girls don't seem to mind wandering around the Atlantean compound in their bare feet for quite a while afterwards; indeed, they only really go back to wearing their sandals when waving off the astronauts at the end of the film. Would overlap with Barefoot Captives in Hestia's case since her sandals are subject to the same disappearing act and don't reappear until she gets untied and is promptly given them back by the other Maidens who, with The Creature having been vanquished, are in a much less sacrificial mood by them.
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  • Dull Surprise: Duessa looks on as The Creature bears down on her. Most of the other Maidens do not share her composure.
  • Expospeak Gag
    Stanhope: Beautiful, gorgeous! A species of fauna that demands extensive research program.
    Anderson: You mean different to all this [forest]?
    Stanhope: My dear Anderson, 'fauna' — or in this case, 'fauni' — refers to the animals characteristic of the region.
    Anderson: Who cares about animals?
    Stanhope: Man (and woman) has sometimes been refered to as an animal.
    Anderson: Oh, you mean people... [light bulb] GIRLS! Hey, why didn't you say so before!
  • A Father To His Women: Under Atlantis law, all the women view the Atlantean patriarch as a father figure.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Duessa's stated reason for sacrificing Hestia is that the eldest daughter (which is Duessa) should have been married off first. However, the film seems to play it off as this trope.
  • Homage:
    • Duessa is actually named after a villainess in The Faerie Queene.
    • The Dark One is a reference to Caliban from The Tempest. Who knew there was so much culture in this movie?
  • Head-Turning Beauty: A secretary walks a long long catwalk (and we watch every minute of it) to come down and take a memo. Her boss' response: "I wonder if the beings on Jupiter's satellite look anything like her!"
  • Immune to Bullets: The Creature is. But not Gas Grenades.
  • Leitmotif: The Fire Maidens have Borodin's 'Polovtsian Dances'.
  • Lost World: New Atlantis, a colony of the original Atlantis.
  • Mr. Exposition: Prasus Explains It All. And what little he doesn't tell us, Hestia does.
  • Neutral Female: All the Atlantean girls.
  • No New Fashions in the Future: The members of the mission to Jupiter's moon look like this; in particular, the astronauts' uniforms aren't that different from what would've have been worn by the American and British militaries at any given point over the 16 to 17 years before the film was produced and released.
  • Product Placement: TWA, Longines timepieces, and Chesterfield cigarettes all get noticeable on-screen logo time.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Most prominently featuring Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances" from the opera Prince Igor. There's also a lot of ballet music.
  • Recycled In Space: The Tempest in space
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: The Monster is basically a tall, skinny guy in blackface and a union suit.
  • Schizo Tech: New Atlantis has all the trappings of ancient Greece, plus electricity.
  • She's Got Legs: The Maidens' short dresses and sandals certainly don't leave much to the imagination as far as their legs go.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Stirring, energetic music is often played during the exciting moments of the film.note 
  • Space Is Noisy: Especially during the "dodging meteoroids" scene.
  • Stock Footage: Most of the footage of the spaceship is of a V2 rocket used for spaceships in many films.
  • Subspace Ansible: Not mentioned in the film itself, but there's no other way to transmit real-time updates from Jupiter to Earth.
  • Take Our Word for It:
    • When the astronauts first exit their spaceship on Jupiter's moon, they use "remote control" (read: they all look upward at their ship) to close the hatch.
    • Used again later when one character finds a hidden door out of his cell.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Almost; once the ship actually launches, we occasionally cut back to an underwhelming Mission Control room, where unnamed characters wonder what might be going on with the crew. These cutaways do not establish any plot beyond "waiting for the crew to call", but do serve to pad the already heavily-padded runtime. When the crew are split into two groups, each gets their own (padded) plotline, which in one case consists largely of wondering what the other group are up to.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?/What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: The Creature is ever treated as an evil being (or, at best, a dangerous wild animal) which must be destroyed because it can't be reasoned with. It probably can't be reasoned with, but the option is not even brought up, nor is the idea of just driving it away.

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