The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

IT CAME FROM THE THRIFT STORE: MARS NEEDS WOMEN (1967) ***

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Women of Earth start disappearing mysteriously. The U.S.’s top military brass decodes a message from space that reads “Mars needs women!” It seems that the male to female population on Mars is 100 to 1, and since Mars needs women, it’s up to Tommy Kirk and Martian pals to arrive in Houston to bring home some prime specimens. Of course he falls for a pretty scientist played by Yvonne (Batgirl!) Craig (who wrote a book called “Sex in Space”), which complicates his mission.

This is far and away Larry Buchanan’s best movie. It starts out great with shots of women disappearing via a jump cut (including one in the shower) before bogging down at around the twenty minute mark. (Buchanan had to pad out the film so it would fit in a television time slot.) If you can get past the long stock footage scenes of jets taking off and landing and the overused shots of an intercom barking out orders, you'll be treated to some entertaining hokum.

For one, the Martian ship is a hoot. It looks like a smokeless ashtray. It’s also fun seeing Buchanan reusing several actors and locations from his Attack of the Eye Creatures. Speaking of locations, he gets a lot of mileage out of a hotel room, a strip club, and a community college (which doubles as top secret military installation). The limited locations give the whole thing a home movie kind of vibe.

Kirk, it must be said, was never better. He gets a truly wonderful and strangely moving scene where he takes Craig to a planetarium that is putting on a Mars show. When the tape breaks halfway through the presentation, he picks up where it left off, shocking the rowdy kids in the audience into a state of silence. His impassioned and tender soliloquy about his dying planet is terrific. There is definitely more heart here than countless other sci-fi movies with a hundred times its budget. His farewell to Craig (who is also quite good) in the end is well done too.

Bottom Line: If you only see one Larry Buchanan movie in your lifetime, make it this one!

Next time on It Came from the Thrift Store: Starry Eyes!

Tags: .it came from the thrift store, cult, m, sci-fi
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