So you’ve read all of Ruby Dixon‘s “Ice Planet Barbarians“, and maybe even Icehome and a few of her other books. As the series has not yet been turned into a TV show, please enjoy this list of film recommendations to help keep the Not-Hoth spirit alive.
1: Quest for Fire (1981), available to rent online
I wish every person I knew would watch this movie, and that feeling goes double for any fan of anthropology, archaeology, or series in which big strong men lust after dainty women. In “Quest for Fire,” three Neanderthals are sent on a perilous quest to replenish their tribe’s precious flame. Along the way, our main character, Naoh, loses his heart to the beautiful Homo sapien woman, Ika. This adventurous, romantic tale is as thrilling as it is emotionally evocative.
TW: Violence and some non-consensual mating
2: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), available to rent online
Before the humans arrived on Not-Hoth, I’m sure many of our hunters felt like lonesome polecats. “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” opens up with the oldest son, Adam, deciding to find himself a wifey to care for his six feral younger brothers. His new bride, Milly, teaches his brothers manners and basic social skills and then introduces them to the young women in town. Then Adam gives his brothers the fantastic idea to kidnap their prospective brides. As this is a movie, everything works out happily in the end because I guess kidnapping is okay sometimes if you really like the guy.
TW: A lot of kidnapping happens
3: Timer (2009), currently not streaming on any platforms
The Sa-Khui have their khuis to tell them when they’ve met their “soul mate” (aka the person they’re going to plant a baby in), but we do not have such a luxury. But what if we did? Not in the form of a vibrating parasite, but rather as a little timer that sits on our wrist and counts down to zero. I think “Timer” is underrated, as it carefully considers the idea of what a soul mate is and what life is like for someone who hasn’t met their person yet. It perfectly encapsulates that despondent, listless feeling of “what am I doing with my life if I haven’t found ‘the one.'” I found myself most drawn to warm friendship between the two female protagonists, step-sisters who are best friends, and how they navigated complex emotional relationships.
4: Encino Man (1992), available to rent online
Our poor barbarians are completely lost when it comes to basic human advancements, like indoor plumbing and doors that move on their own accord. In many ways, they’re like Brendan Fraser’s character “Link” in the 90’s movie “Encino Man.” In this film, Frasier stars as a caveman who finds himself in the fast-paced world of the 90s. Despite the insanity of his surroundings, Link finds a place for himself and becomes the most popular guy at school. Also, I didn’t think I’d ever use the phrase “Pauly Shore was a delight” in my lifetime, but it’s true. Shore’s character is funny, empathetic, and laid-back enough to complement Fraser’s frenetic energy perfectly.
TW: This movie is a teen comedy from the 90’s, so expect some outdated insults and general stupidity
5: Arctic (2018), streaming on Starz and Kanopy
The environment on Not-Hoth is often described as “colder than a witch’s tit.” But, you know where else it gets that cold? It gets pretty frosty in the Arctic Circle, where temperatures often drop below freezing. If you’re lucky, you might be there during the summer, when the temperature is a balmy “above freezing.” Though you’ll still have to watch out for the occasional hungry polar bear. This is exactly what happens to Mads Mikkelson in “Arctic.” Mikkelson gives a powerful performance as the stranded pilot and he beautifully conveys the main character’s loneliness and determination.
TW: Violence and serious injuries
6: Enemy Mine (1985), streaming on Starz
If there’s one lesson we can take away from “Ice Planet Barbarians,” it is about the importance of cooperating with people (and aliens) who are different from you. Oh, and that ribbed dongs are nice. To my knowledge, the film “Enemy Mine” does not feature any special sexy alien equipment (unless there is a cut scene I don’t know about). However, the film does feature a lovely story about a human, Willis, and an alien soldier, Jeriba, from warring planets, forced to learn to survive together on a dangerous world. The two form an unlikely alliance, which blossoms into mutual respect and a deep friendship. This film is worth watching alone for the cute alien baby, Zammis. Maybe if this film becomes popular again I’ll be able to get my hands on some Zammis merchandise.
TW: Weird alien childbirth
7: The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986), available to rent online
When the human women are stranded on Not-Hoth, the Sa-khui tribe warmly welcomes them with open arms. Unfortunately, this does not happen to our main character, Ayla, in “The Clan of the Cave Bear.” Ayla is a young Cro-Magnon woman raised by a tribe of Neanderthals. Based on the novel by Jean M. Auel, Ayla experiences kindness and cruelty, ignorance and wisdom, and love and hate at the hands of her clan. Despite her restrictive upbringing, she grows into an intelligent, resilient woman and even bears a half-Neanderthal child. Although eventually she is compelled to leave the clan to search for her own kind, we know that Ayla’s strength will carry her through whatever hardships come her way.
TW: Some violence and sexual assault
8: The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown (1957), streaming on youtube and available to rent
In Dixon’s universe, kidnapping your lady isn’t quite “approved of” as much as “grudgingly tolerated,” and yet our boys continue doing it. As a rational human being, I hate it, but I’m slightly more amenable to the occasional snatch-and-grab as a movie and book plot. In “The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown,” the fabulous Jane Russell plays a tempestuous movie star who gets kidnapped by two charming delinquents. Their plan is to demand a large ransom and let her go. So naturally, the situation becomes a lot more complicated, especially since Russell’s character is not a nice hostage (she’s very much a Liz). She ends up falling for one of her kidnappers. Is it Stockholm Syndrome? I have no idea because I’m not a therapist, and Stockholm Syndrome is incredibly rare and misunderstood. But if you like a good “kidnapping turns to love” plot (and snappy dialogue), then this film is for you.
9: George of the Jungle (1997), streaming on Disney+
One of the reasons Dixon’s series is so popular is that it is told unapologetically for the female gaze. The male protagonists are attractive, sweet, and entirely devoted to their human mates. There are a few films like this, but none do it quite as well as “George of the Jungle.” Yes, this is the second Brendan Fraser film on the list, but it’s not my fault he plays so many himbos to perfection. For those who don’t know, “George of the Jungle” is a Tarzan-style parody about a man living in the jungle who’s in for the surprise of his life when he encounters his first human: a pretty heiress named Ursula. The two flirt and fall in love, but outside forces conspire to tear our lovers apart! Thankfully, love wins in the end, but not before we get to watch George whip some bad-boy ass. There are also poop jokes. Enjoy!
10: Earth Girls Are Easy (1988), streaming on Amazon Prime
My gift to you, dear reader: a movie in which a blue alien falls in love and bangs a human woman. The plot of this movie is dumb, and therefore, I highly recommend it. Three aliens are traveling the cosmos, looking for ladies, and crash-land on earth. They’re given a makeover to blend in with society, turn out to be total hunks by human standards, and the alien played by Jeff Goldblum falls in love with Geena Davis’ character. “Earth Girls Are Easy” is a whimsical, goofy movie that coasts on the endearing performances of its stars. If you’re a fan of hunky aliens falling for human ladies, then I think you need to add this one to your list.
Okay, readers, what do you think? Do you plan on watching any of these movies, or have any recommendations of your own? Drop them in the comments, and maybe there can be a second list!