Love-Starved Amazons in Outer Space

This trend had its heyday in the 50's, when astronauts were always landing on paradisical but fatally flawed planets full of sex-starved women who were just waiting for men to show up and make their lives complete. Not that I'm denying that for straight women, having no men around would get awfully frustrating, but the genre tends to high camp.

And Terry, in his secret heart, had visions of a sort of sublimated summer resort - just Girls and Girls and Girls - and that he was going to be - well, Terry was popular among women even when there were other men around, and it's not to be wondered at that he had pleasant dreams of what might happen. I could see it in his eyes as he lay there, looking at the long blue rollers slipping by, and fingering that impressive mustache of his.
~Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Fire Maidens From Outer Space
Astronauts visit one of Jupiter's moons to discover that the last living refugee from Atlantis has already settled there, and somehow created an entire planet full of daughters to keep him company.

In the juvenile novel The Kidnapping of Courtney Van Allen and What's-Her-Name, one elderly character was a silent-era film star. One of her most famous movies was The Planet of the Lavender Women, where male astronauts from Earth landed on a planet full of lavender-hued women and no lavender men in sight.

The Sapphire Sirens
The most recent in John Zakour's hilarious retro science fiction series about the world's last private eye, Zachary Johnson. Set in 2070, Zach constantly finds himself in hot water with beautiful superwomen of various sorts. This novel finds him at Lantis, the long-secret undersea kingdom populated solely by powerful sexy women.

Abbott and Costello Go To Mars
Despite the early date of this movie (1953), it is actually a spoof of the genre. Abbott, Costello and two other men accidentally get on a rocket intended for an expedition to Mars and instead find themselves on Venus. As usual, all the residents are young, beautiful women, with one exception, but unusually, a good reason is provided: the Venusians have discovered the secret of eternal youth. The sole exception is one little girl seen briefly; a grown woman informs Costello that she, like all the Venusians, is four hundred years old. It turns out that these women left Earth 400 years ago (how is not explained) because men did them wrong, and since then they have lived an idyllic life of artistic and scientific achievement. The beautiful Venusians are depicted, tongue in cheek, as being so lonely for male companionship after all these centuries that they go mad for these four unimpressive specimens, an object lesson in scarcity economics.

The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent
This Roger Corman flick doesn't entirely fit, but is fun and campy and features lots of gorgeous women in cool costumes. The Viking men have been gone for a few years, so some of their women decide to go and look for them, and when they find them, help them break out of slavery.

Queen of Outer Space
On Venus, an evil queen prevents scientist Zsa Zsa Gabor (!) and other straight women from getting back to Earth where they can enjoy male companionship. "26 million miles from Earth and the little dolls are just the same!"
Charles Beaumont wrote the screenplay based on an idea by Ben Hecht. The director missed or perhaps ignored the satirical intent of the script.

The Professor, and Mary Ann. And Mary Jane, and Mary Lou, and....


Cat-Women of the Moon and its remake Missile to the Moon are perhaps the most famous classics of this genre, and were the chief sources the wonderful spoof Amazon Women on the Moon (below) drew on. A lunar society of telepathic women, astronauts, an evil queen, palace coups, forbidden romance, love triangles.... Also, one greedy astronauts attempts to snatch a bunch of treasure from the Cat Women, which inevitably proves his undoing.

Amazon Women on the Moon
A hilarious spoof of the 50's all-female world genre of movies. (It doesn't actually have Japanese subtitles; I got this image from a Japanese website.)

Devil Girl From Mars
On Mars the war between the sexes became literal, and there are only a handful of men left. Despite their advanced technology, the Martians haven't figured out any method of reproducing aside from the traditional one, and since the few males left are kinda sickly, they've sent a Martian woman to earth in search of what she euphemistically calls "new blood".

Her spaceship lands on a Scottish moor and she terrorizes the random occupants of an inn by summoning her robot. They are all terrified as they watch a man in painted cardboard boxes lurch out of the spaceship at a rate of nearly two feet per minute. Eventually he gets around to vaporizing a pickup truck, so you see, they were right to be scared.

As in most such movies, the men are all horrified at the thought of going to a planet full of gorgeous women in black leather for stud service.

There's a review here with a priceless beginning: "One of the hazards of reviewing a 'bad' movie is the all too real danger of winding up liking it; a type of cinematic 'Stockholm Syndrome'."

We can also thank this movie for the excellent fiction of Octavia Butler.

Queen of the Amazons (1947)
This movie begins in India for no reason except that the makers wanted people to get mauled by tigers as well as lions. As soon as a few people have been attacked by tigers, someone tells the main characters that the guy they're looking for is in Africa, so they go there to find him and get mauled by lions. They have a great deal of trouble getting native guides and bearers to take them to the area their friend is rumored to have gone to, because the natives are terrified of a fearsome tribe of Amazons who live there. When we eventually find the Amazons, they turn out to be a bunch of pretty young women like the above. Seems a plane or something crashed in the area about 15 years ago and only the women on it survived. It seems there were a great many little girls on that plane, and now there are a great many young women. They're excellent hunters and keep lions as pets, but just what the Africans were so afraid of is a mystery. Indeed, as soon as these Amazons meet the British, all they want is to be taken where they can find husbands.

The hilarious Bees in Paradise stars the delightful British comedian Arthur Askey. He and a few other men are shipwrecked on an island whose sole visible population is beautiful young women. (Like Wonder Woman's home, it is called Paradise Island.) Men apparently exist, though we never see any of them; all the important work is done by women, who rule this society completely. However, their birth rate is dangerously low, and to their bafflement they are unable to induce men to marry them - which, since the movie was made in 1944, is the only way they can get pregnant. It does not occur to them that their policy of executing all husbands two months after the wedding might have something to do with it.

Prehistoric Women
From Netflix: "In Prehistoric Women, Stone Age femmes fatales hold men captive only for their sexual services."

Prehistoric Women

So one day I decided to rent a Hammer film, and I came across one called Prehistoric Women. I wasn't sure if I wanted to rent it till I read this from the blurb on the back: "David Marchant runs through the split in the temple wall and enters a prehistoric world where he meets the striking blonde Saria, who is one of several fair-haired tribeswomen oppressed by a rival group of dark-haired women led by the evil Queen Kari."

So I rented it, hoping I might pick up some pointers on how to oppress fair-haired tribeswomen. Turns out, when this chap David Marchant goes back in time via the ancient African temple, he lands in this tribe of brunette warriors who have the same designer as Xena and who keep blonde slaves who have the same designer as the Viking women in Roger Corman's The Viking Women and the Sea Serpent. (In that "Viking Women" movie, you could spot the villainess instantly, because she was the only brunette.) Turned out the men were all chained in this cavern doing hard physical labor. There was no visible result of their labor, but it was certainly grueling. I'll be moving there as soon as I can pack up some things to trade with the local brunettes to ensure my acceptance by the tribe. (Let's see: some Chanel No. 5, a few tubes of Revlon's Cherries In The Snow, and maybe some bleach for that embarrassing brunette problem of pale grey peach fuzz on the upper lip. [Even Elizabeth Taylor and Vivien Leigh had it. It's a curse.])

Anyway, Queen Kari, who hasn't seen a clean-shaven man in years, promptly presses Marchant into stud service. Marchant, however, is evidently a gentleman, because he refuses to, er, replenish the gene pool of the gorgeous brunette queen wearing skimpy furs because he prefers the gorgeous blonde slavegirl wearing skimpy furs. Some guys are just picky. As a penalty, he gets tossed into the cavern with the other men.

Meanwhile, the blondes plot to overthrow the brunettes. Turns out trying to escape is pointless, because the area where this tribe lives is surrounded by a really fierce tribe that captures all escapees in return for the occasional blonde. Which seems like a perfectly reasonable exchange to me. While the blondes are plotting, Saria asks the others, "Where is he?" "Who?" the others ask, as if there's been more than one male outside the cavern since the movie started. They decide to ask him to help them overthrow the brunettes. "He wouldn't betray me," Saria says. Blondes.

So at Saria's request, Marchant makes the huge sacrifice of joining the gorgeous brunette queen in her chambers. The scene goes like a sort of reverse bodice-ripper, a codpiece ripper. The strapping dark-haired alpha female smacks the hero around a little, forces a couple of rough kisses on him, enjoys his feisty resistance which she can tame at her leisure, and shoves him onto her sleeping furs.

In the next scene, however, Saria cannot endure seeing Kari parade her new arm decoration around and blurts out the entire plot. (Blondes.) So he gets tossed back into the cavern, and Saria gets picked to be the next offering to the fierce tribe.

But it's too late. The blondes and the men conspire to overthrow the brunettes. All the characters run around the jungle, apparently fighting or something. Matters come to a head when a white rhinoceros shows up. That's the god they worship, you see. Everyone runs away from the rhino but the queen, who stands right in front of it, announcing, "He is our god! He wouldn't hurt us!" Apparently she's been hanging around too many blondes.

So the rhino gores the queen, the men and blondes settle down to enjoy a life free of brunettes, and the hero is hustled back through the time-travel portal, where a reincarnation of Saria is waiting for him. The End.

No, those aren't mermaids, those are alien women from the Roger Corman movie Voyage to the Planet of the Prehistoric Women. This movie only sort of fits this category, as the astronauts bumbling around the planet never actually encounter these prehistoric women.

The Wild Women of Wongo
Doesn't entirely fit here, but has some similar themes: "On the tropical island of Wongo, a tribe of beautiful women discover that the other side of the island is inhabited by a tribe of handsome men. They also discover that a tribe of evil ape men live on the island, too, and the ape men are planning a raid on the tribe in order to capture mates."

"They had never seen a man. They just knew this fascinatingly yucky creature couldn't be one!"
Only the female colonists ever arrived on this planet. When men failed to show up, they reproduced by cloning, turned to Lesbianism, and after a few generations deified men as godlike creatures who would one day come to their planet to make everything great. When one finally shows up, some are disgusted, some awed, some threatened by the challenge his very existence presents to the existing power structure, and a couple simply fall in love. A playful and somewhat sophomoric story.

What, No Men!
From IMDB: "A bill collector and a policeman are captured by a group of mad scientists and taken to an all-female Indian tribe for study."
As far as I can tell, this entire short film isn't available for viewing. Part of it was incorporated into the short Musical Movieland, which is an extra on the DVD of Night And Day starring Cary Grant as Cole Porter. But we don't get to see this intriguingly bizarre plot, just a Busby Berkeley-style dance number performed by a lot of attractive young white women in Hollywood-Indian garb.

The War Against The Yukks by Keith Laumer
This short story (which is included in the anthology linked above) is an amusing addition to the "Lost Planet of the Love-Starved Women" genre. Two men land on one of Jupiter's moons (Callisto, suitably) and the women there have not seen men, who they call "Yukks", for so many thousands of years that they assume the men are simply flatchested women. (I found this an interesting counterpart to the oft-cited theory that the Amazons of antiquity were actually male warriors who were mistaken for women because they shaved their beards.) Men, or "Yukks", have become creatures of legend: "The Yukks are evil beings who tried to enslave all Girlhood, once, long ago, before we were driven out of the Heavenly Garden. They were great big ugly creatures, with hair growing all over their faces, and huge, bony hands - six of them, I think - and whenever they could catch a poor, defenseless girl, they'd.... They'd do Strange Things to her."

The girls all instinctively gravitate towards the men despite their total ignorance. The propaganda isn't doing much good, though, as many of the women find the legend of the Yukks sinfully compelling. They all keep thinking "Strange" (heterosexual) thoughts. It isn't really very logical, but at least for a change the men rejoice at their good fortune instead of being horrified at the thought of spending their lives surrounded by sexually frustrated women in need of their attention. As always, their role in reproduction makes them politically valuable, but luckily for them, the women's ignorance about how it all works (a few millenia and you forget about these things) means that they get to be esteemed citizens rather than put under lock and key as precious commodities.

Also published as Father of the Amazons. A spaceship crash-lands on a planet on which a lost colony of humans has been residing for centuries. Something in the environment makes many of the men sterile and makes most babies girls, and accordingly men are rare and a precious commodity. To ensure the survival of the society, men were forbidden to do any dangerous or strenuous jobs that might endanger them, and as a result, the women become female chauvinists, expecting to protect and shelter men.
As soon as our hero lands he is pressed into stud service, until he is able to figure out what is making most of the men sterile so they can be cured.

Jo-Jo, Congo King, a Tarzan clone, meets a tribe of lilliputian women.

Petticoat Planet is a s0ft-c0re pr0n movie about a planet populated only by women. When a man shows up, some are curious while others could care less. Lots of sex happens.

In the Twilight Zone episode Mr. Dingle, the Strong, a pair of aliens visit Earth. Well, actually, it's just one alien with two heads. At the end, one head remarks to the other, "I think we should be off. Three planets on tomorrow's itinerary. One should be particularly interesting. Contains only females."

Mesa of Lost Women
This is one of those movies often billed as an "all-female world" story that disappoints. A mad scientist is experimenting with injecting spider DNA (or something) into the numerous young women who live in his retreat with him. Most of the movie is about the normal people who figure that the vicinity of a mad scientist's lair is a good place to go camping.

The old animated series Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space features an episode titled Warrior Women of Amazonia in which the gang lands on a fiercely matriarchal planet. The two male characters are thrown into prison immediately for talking back to women.