Movie Reviews 360 – Mars Needs Women (1967)

Mars Needs Women was another one of those elusive movie titles I searched for in vain during the VHS eighties. I was a rabid science fiction movie fan and with few exceptions – this being one – I managed to track down most of the obscure titles over the years but this one eluded me

Now you may guess that this was just another “men in silver suits” goofy alien movie that caught my eye – and in a manner that is true – but the real reason I wanted to see this one was because of Batgirl. You see the star of this film is none other than Yvonne Craig, A.K.A Babara Gordon, A.K.A Batgirl, in the sixties Batman TV series and just imagining her as some Martian maiden was enough to set off my Bat-O-Meter. But some films are best left unseen and my dreams of what may lay within were certainly better that what I eventually laid my eyes on screen.

The film begins with three women, each doing different things and going about their daily activities, suddenly disappearing in thin air ‘Bewitched’ style. This is immediately followed by news reports of a strange radio signal being received. The boys at NASA are put on the job and with spooling reels of computer tapes churning they soon decipher a simple three word message: Mars Needs Women!

While the intelligentsia are trying to figure out the exact meaning of those words a saucer with five very human looking male Martians lands somewhere in Houston and hole up in an abandoned factory. The “Martians” decide to split up, each with the goal of seeking out one woman that they can haul back to their home planet. As the five go about tracking their prey which include an airline stewardess, a go-go dancer (credited as “Bubbles” Cash no less), a college homecoming queen, and a painter, the leader of the group (Tommy Kirk) targets a Pulitzer winning “space geneticist” (Craig) and soon discovers… love. Awww!

From what I understand this bottom barrel budget oddity from a no name production company never even made it to theaters and instead ended up going directly to late night and cable TV broadcasts where it gained cult credibility and thus my own attention. The silver painted rubber diving suits chafes as much as the script and the only respite to some of the interminably stretched out scenes is the abundant use of NASA stock footage. But keep in mind that I’m a space nut so even those may bore some people.

The questions posed by the plot are endless. Why did the Martians broadcast the message when the intent was to secretly kidnap women? Did they really hope to save their entire planet with only five women? How can holding up a press card put someone into a hypnotic trance? Why was this film ever made in the first place? But more importantly, why did I bother watching this movie for a second time only so I could write a movie review?

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