Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity
In 1992, Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity (1987) was mentioned, by name, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, by the late North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms. Helms, seeking justification for amendments to the Cable Act of 1992, described how one of his constituents had been channel surfing one night and stumbled onto Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity. Helms was seeking to make cable companies block "indecent" programming. The amendment went nowhere, but let that sink in for a minute: Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity was discussed on the floor of the U.S. Senate!
I love thinking of the stodgy Helms and his overly sensitive constituency clutching their pearls at the site of this movie. I also like to imagine they were watching it on USA Up All Night at the same time I was as a teenager, but of course having the complete opposite reaction to it. Their misplaced moralizing is utterly ridiculous and only reinforces that moral scolds always lack a sense of humor. Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity is basically an intergalactic homage to The Most Dangerous Game, starring two blonde, scantily clad, space-traveling heroines who must fight for their lives while hunted for sport. Of course, the movie does open with another random blonde (below) running for her life before stopping to pose in front of the camera for a gratuitous cleavage shot. I suppose that's when Helms's shocked constituent blew a gasket. If you know what I mean, and I think you do.
We're first introduced to our dynamic duo of Elizabeth Kaitan, as Daria, and Cindy Beal, as Tisa, with them chained up in some sort of space gulag and, naturally, wearing just a few scant pieces of loincloth. Daria immediately establishes herself as our alpha dog, displaying both strength and fortitude by literally breaking free of the chains that bind her, and then helping Tisa do the same. Look closely, friends, as a strong current of feminist power runs through this film. Daria and Tisa narrowly escape some rubber-suited space alien-thingies, steal a space ship, and then zoom off into the far reaches of the galaxy.
During all of this, our two leads quip with a rapid-fire ease, like a couple of female Han Solos, trading barbs in the midst of one death-defying adventure after another. It's absurdly charming, and both actresses sell it from their first scene together. Sure, they lure you in with the loincloths, but they keep your attention with their endless stream of innuendo-laden sarcasm. It's also a treat to watch Daria fiddle with controls on the alien spacecraft, pushing buttons left and right, rattling off nonsensical cosmic jargon, all while humble-bragging to Tisa about how awesome she is. While the dialogue is hilarious, Kaitan's and Beal's winking and nodding delivery of it makes it work.
A Hungarian born model turned actress, Kaitan has long been a favorite cult star, and this film just might be her Citizen Kane. Her resume is outstanding: Friday the 13th Part VII, Silent Night Deadly Night 2, Savage Dawn, Killer Bimbos from Outer Space, and Vice Academy 3, to name a few. She always brings a certain crackling energy to her work, but Daria in Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity feels like the role she was born to play. A swashbuckling, wisecracking space pirate who's craftier, smarter, and let's not forget just plan hotter than anyone else in the galaxy. Kaitan is the spark plug that propels the film's forward momentum in nearly every scene. It's a mesmerizing, star-making performance.
Soon after their escape from one near-death situation, Daria and Tisa crash land on an unknown planet and the expression "from the frying pan to the fire" is entirely applicable. They're greeted by the planet's lone sentient being, an oily creeper named Zed who lives in a large fortress with his two bumbling, arguing Laurel and Hardy type robots.
Although she appears to have acted in only a few films (per her IMDb page), Cindy Beal is no slouch here as one half of our heroic dynamic duo, Tisa. Sure, much of her nuanced character work comes in the form of walking around in skimpy lingerie and playing straight woman to Kaitan's dazzling comedic chops, but she does it all so well.
Venerable scream queen Brinke Stevens (you know the killer resume) is more of a bit player here, mostly spending time chained in a dungeon sporting Frederick's of Hollywood attire, or naked and passed out, or running for her life. Don Scribner as the villainous slaver Zed is intensely creepy and deliciously amoral. You believe this man gets off on hunting women for sport, thanks to the intensity Scribner brings to the material. His performance is further enhanced by a slicked-back 'do that could rival Gordon Gekko's.
Some generically weird creatures pop up here and there, rarely leaving much of an impression. Although one alien life-form has its own Creature from the Black Lagoon moment, carrying Beal's limp, unconscious body around for a while. This moment was famously captured on the movie's gloriously cheesy and gorgeous poster art. Everything you need to know about the movie is right there (and even spelled out in a killer tagline): slave girls, robots, alien monsters, hunting humans for sport, and Elizabeth Kaitan wielding one truly massive laser gun.
Kaitan saves the day with that massive blaster in the movie's climactic scenes, and it's as cool as you'd imagine. Sure, the low-budget, not-very-special effects leave a lot to be desired, but you won't care one bit when Kaitan is waving around what looks like a scientifically altered leaf blower with authority. Kaitan brought to life one of the great b-movie heroines of that era, in my opinion, and I'd have paid good money to see her reprise the role of Daria in future sequels. Sadly, we never got the next installment in Daria and Tisa's interstellar adventures. At least we'll always have Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity though, a movie that deserves to be listed among the great cult classics of its era.