So a model, a convict and a Martian dominatrix walk into a bar. Well a remote Scottish inn but you get the idea.
The PVC-clad Martian in question is Nyah (Patricia Laffan), a haughty alien with a surprisingly refined English accent. Her craft crash lands on the moors, and she menaces the local inhabitants armed with her ray gun, robot and dramatic eyebrows.
Inn barmaid Doris (Adrienne Corri) gets a surprise visit from her escaped convict ex – we’ve all been there – while Professor Hennessey (Joseph Tomelty) and reporter Michael (Hugh McDermott) stop by the hotel to investigate the crash.
Now brace yourself for some subtext: the emancipation of women on Mars led to a war of the sexes where women triumphed and became the planet’s overlords.
Male numbers are dwindling and the birth rate is in decline so they need earth men to take back to Mars as breeding stock to repopulate the planet. You have to love that level of subtlety. The guests are left to stew and plot while Nyah occasionally enters the room to patronise them.
Scottish director David MacDonald’s low budget sci-fi drama takes itself seriously unlike many of its brash, over-the-top Hollywood peers. The production values are actually quite good and while the dialogue is dire at times the cast, which includes Dad’s Army star John Laurie and horror actress Hazel Court, keep things engaging.
The star of the show is Patricia Laffan, whose beautifully arched eyebrows sword and sandals film fans may recall from Quo Vadis (1951). Her looks is certainly striking for the time and she rattles through expository dialogue like no-one’s business all while looking like a female Ming the Merciless.
Despite the sci-fi backdrop, you could quite easily exchange Nyah’s cape for a pencil skirt. The feel is more domestic drama with sci-fi elements woven in because they could. But it is delightful fun and all terribly British.
Let’s face it, if you’re a B-movie lover you’re probably already sold on the title alone but this strange yet wonderful black and white sci-fi gem is one for the so bad it’s charming category.