Devil Girl From Mars (1954) review

Director: David MacDonald

Starring: Hugh McDermott, Hazel Court, Peter Reynolds, Adrienne Corri, Joseph Tomelty, Sophie Stewart, John Laurie, Patricia Laffan

MICHAEL: “Mrs Jamieson, may I introduce your latest guest, Miss Nyah. She comes from Mars.”

MRS JAMIESON: “Och, well that’ll mean another bed.”

Believe it or not, the UK was doing sci-fi themed stage plays as early as the 1950s. Devil Girl From Mars was one such production: what we have here is actually a movie adaptation.

It’s set in the Bonnie Charlie, a remote Scottish inn located in the Highlands where fate has brought a varied group of people together:

• Mr and Mrs Jamieson – the couple that runs the inn. He’s always offering drinks on the house to people, and she’s always telling him to give it a fucking rest.

• Professor Hennessey – an astronomer who’s heard that a meteorite has crashed nearby and wants to try and discover it. He’s a proper boring bastard.

• Michael – a news reporter who’s accompanying the professor in the hopes of getting a juicy story from this meteorite.

• Miss Prestwick – a fashion model who’s popped out to the countryside to escape a married man she had an affair with. She soon fancies a jump on Michael’s bones.

• Doris and Robert – she’s the bartender at the Bonnie Charlie, he’s an escaped prisoner who accidentally killed his wife and wants to reunite with Doris, his secret lover.

• A couple of other pricks, including the Jamiesons’ nephew and a hunchbacked handyman.

Putting a leather handkerchief on your head was all the rage in the 1950s

Before long a huge flying saucer descends from the sky and parks right outside the inn. Emerging from it is Nyah, a female commander from Mars.

Nyah explains that there was a literal gender war in Mars and the women won (TAKE THAT BREITBART etc), killing off all the men and only saving a couple of weak ones for their sperm.

However, it turns out that was a bit of a wrong move, because shagging a loser results in loser children (look at Donald Trump Jr) and as such the Martian race is in danger.

Nyah is here to take one of Earth’s men – who are apparently stronger – back to Mars with her, so he can impregnate them all and make sure future generations of Martians are less puny.

Oxfam’s attempt to ‘sex up’ its door-to-door charity fundraisers was met with hesitance from locals

Naturally, the folk at the inn aren’t too keen on this idea, and so a to-and-fro begins in which Nyah threatens death to any who don’t cooperate, while the group tries to think of a plan that will result in as few of them pegging it as possible.

It’s clear that Devil Girl From Mars was a play first because it really only takes place in a few locations: the inn’s bar, a spare room, a patch of grass near the spaceship and the interior of the ship itself.

It’s a pretty dialogue-heavy film too as a result, but quite a well-written one. There are some daft jokes in there that got a chuckle out of me despite being 64 years old now, and the relationships between the characters get quite interesting.

That said, Nyah’s motives end up getting really confusing. She’s constantly entering the inn, making a new threat or kidnapping someone, then leaving, then coming back, making a different threat, returning someone else, and so on. She appears and disappears more times than Debbie McGee back in the day.

By far the best moment, though, is when Nyah reveals that she’s accompanied by a massive robot, which is truly a sight to behold.

“And if I press this button I can make various flavours of your human cola emerge from its four nipples”

If you were to buy a refrigerator, remove the cardboard box it came in, and stick a perspex bucket on the top of this box, you’d have the robot in this film. It’s glorious.

You know, for all its low-budget bollocks, Devil Girl From Mars is actually good fun. It’s well-written (if a little convoluted at times), the performances are just the right level of hammy, and you genuinely don’t know who – if anyone – is going to end up accompanying Nyah to her ship.

Even better, the Scottish actors are actually Scottish, which means good authentic accents for once (although one actor is a Scotsman trying to play an American, and that doesn’t work so well).

If you’ve got a group of people around and are looking for a daft B-movie to have a laugh with, you could do a lot worse than this one.

HOW CAN I SEE IT?
Devil Girl From Mars is available on DVD in the UK courtesy of Network Distributing. The transfer quality is brilliant for a film of its age. If you’re in the US, your best bet is the DVD from Osiris Entertainment.

SHOW ME A CLIP:

New to That Was A Bit Mental? Check out my review index, where hundreds of reviews of weird, off-beat and B-movies are available for your reading pleasure.

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