Thursday, September 18, 2008

At the Box Office: Devil Girl from Mars (1954)

Invasion from outer space! Sights too weird to imagine! Destruction too monstrous to escape! The fantastic night of terror that menaced the fate of the world! ... Devil Girl from Mars!

A 1954 British science fiction film directed by David MacDonald, Devil Girl from Mars opened in the United States in Los Angeles in April 1955. Starring the voluptous Patricia Laffan as Nyah the Martian, here’s how The Mars Movie Guide describes the film: “An uptight, leather-clad female alien, armed with a ray gun and accompanied by a menacing robot, comes to Earth to collect Earth's men as breeding stock.”

A detailed summary of the film's plot, list of characters, photos, sound clips, and video trailers are available at, and a hilarious review is posted at

The film, which has become a cult classic and is available in DVD, inspired the writing career of science fiction author Octavia Butler. Here's an excerpt from “Devil Girl From Mars: Why I Write Science Fiction,” remarks Butler made at MIT in 1998 as the introduction to a discussion about science fiction and modern culture:
"It's impossible to begin to talk about myself and the media without going back to how I wound up writing science fiction and that is by watching a terrible movie. The movie was called, Devil Girl from Mars, and I saw it when I was about 12 years old, and it changed my life. It was one of those old 1950s movies in which the beautiful Martian woman arrives on earth to announce that all the Martian men have died off and there are a bunch of man-hungry women up there. And the earth-men don't want to go. As I was watching this film, I had a series of revelations. The first was that "Geez, I can write a better story than that." And then I thought, "Gee, anybody can write a better story than that." And my third thought was the clincher:
"Somebody got paid for writing that awful story." So I was off and writing, and a year later I was busy submitting terrible pieces of fiction to innocent magazines."
According to its Pinkdex, the MIT Science Fiction Society’s library does not hold a copy of the film Devil Girl from Mars.

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