Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pickup Artists from Mars

We're still on Netflix streaming - we might be getting out of the movie watching habit. It happens, you know. We used to have cable, then they cancelled Mystery Science Theater 3000. Turns out that was all we were watching, so we cancelled our service.

I used to have a great disk queue with over 300 movies, everyone of them eagerly awaited (well, at least 50 of them, some of the rest were just "ehh"). But my Instant queue - kung fu, b-movie, boring, b-movie, depressing classic, obscure b-movie, kung fu, b-movie, and so on. So we go to Netflix recommendations, which are usually worse. But it did serve up Mars Needs Women.

This 1978 AIP cheapie stars Tommy Kirk and 4 other Martians who have come to Earth to abduct human females to repopulate Mars. Naturally, they pick a stewardess, a coed, a stripper (played by Houston burlyque star Bubbles Cash), a cheerleader, and - Tommy Kirk's pick - a sexy geneticist.

The geneticist is played by Yvonne Craig - TV's Bat Girl. Director Larry Buchanan apparently got her to work cheap, because the movie was shot in Houston, and she could visit family there. He shot a whole series of these zero-budget made-for-TV movies, and claims this was the only one that anyone remembers, because of the intensity and professionalism Craig brought to the role. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but she does give a little more than this movie requires.

Of course, this movie is 40% stock footage and has no special effects other than a plastic model spaceship...

For me, the big standout is Tommy Kirk. He is always the insufferably dweeby kid in movies like Catalina Caper and Village of the Giants. He is drippy and whiny and you just want to punch him. But here, as Martian Fellow #1, he shows a sort of wooden resolve, mixed with blank puzzlement, that gives him a kind of dignity. He reminded me a lot of Keanu Reeves in this. He has that same kind of stoic incomprehension.

So, all in all, a pleasant, short piece of camp. Thanks, Netflix streaming.

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