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Fire Maidens from Outer Space (1956)

firemaidens-snip.jpgYesterday, we continued the grand tradition of Turkey Day at the Kommune. It was a little less smooth than last year, because this year everybody was exceptionally busy and stressed-out with deadlines. In fact, so busy that we already rescheduled from Canadian Thanksgiving to American Thanksgiving so that everybody could attend. Since my own take is that it’s mostly an accident of history that British Columbia is even a part of Canada rather than the most awesome state in the union, this was kind of like a plausible counterfactual Thanksgiving. Not quite on the same level of import as Stalin’s missed chance, but no less trenchant, I think.

This year’s menu:

  • turkey basted in white wine and butter, with wild mushroom stuffing and turkey-neck pan gravy
  • garlic mashed potatoes a la Hendrik
  • broccoli and garlic a la Tyson and Gillian
  • sweet potato salad a la Meghan
  • California red wine via Dr Abhijeet “token American” Ghosh (in town to get receive his PhD, which: congratulations again, Abhi!)
  • pumpkin pie a la Stong’s market (hey, we was busy!)

Of course, a proud Turkey Day tradition is the pairing of the ornithological turkey with the cinematic. Mystery Science Theater 3000 debuted on Thanksgiving 1988 and for a while had annual Turkey Day marathons, which — let’s face it — is a trifecta of my own vices: overeating, snark, and bad movies. This year, I watched Fire Maidens from Outer Space (also released under the more accurate title Fire Maidens of Outer Space, and the even more accurate title The Thirteenth Moon of Jupiter). It is the kind of movie which tries to kill ten minutes by having astronauts lethargically debate whether to rescue their missing captain (go ahead: try to guess the outcome of this debate). The miniskirted fire maidens aren’t even particularly attractive — I mean, if you’re going to make a movie out of the male fantasy of a planet of miniskirted, submissive women, I would think rule one would be to cast good-looking ladies for your audience (me) to leer at.

Incidentally, MST3K is — like the lost continent of Atlantis, which was hurled into orbit around Jupiter and populated with 21-year-old Fire Maidens — making an unexpected reappearance, as various alumns spin off RiffTrax (which is really funny — make sure to check out the Road House track), Cinematic Titanic (which I’m looking forward to), and a flash series (which is kind of underwhelming in both conception and execution).

And so, in conclusion, I give Fire Maidens from Outer Space one mouth-watering turkey dinner out of ten. It is not a good movie. It is a bad movie. Thank God for Joel and the bots — without them, this movie would be pure cinematic tryptophan.

And for the record: I like Mike and Joel equally.