Fictional television station WIDB-TV (channel 8) experiences problems with its late-night airing of science-fiction classic Amazon Women on the Moon, a 1950s B movie in which Queen Lara (Sybil Danning) and Captain Nelson (Steve Forrest) battle exploding volcanoes and man-eating spiders on the moon.
Waiting for the film to resume, an unseen viewer begins channel surfing—simulated by bursts of white noise—through late night cable, with the various segments and sketches of the film representing the programming found on different channels. The viewer intermittently returns to channel 8, where Amazon Women continues airing before faltering once more.
Amazon Women on the Moon is a 1987 American satirical comedy film that parodies the experience of watching low-budget movies on late-night television. The film, featuring a large ensemble cast, was written by Michael Barrie and Jim Mulholland, and takes the form of a compilation of 21 comedy skits directed by five different directors: Joe Dante, Carl Gottlieb, Peter Horton, John Landis, and Robert K. Weiss.
The title Amazon Women on the Moon refers to the central film-within-a-film, a spoof of science-fiction movies from the 1950s that borrows heavily from Queen of Outer Space (1958) starring Zsa Zsa Gabor, itself a movie that recycles elements of earlier science-fiction works such as Cat-Women of the Moon (1953), Fire Maidens from Outer Space (1955), and Forbidden Planet (1956).
Film Review for Amazon Women on the Moon
Lead: Why tamper with perfection? The tinny, low-budget science-fiction epics that turn up on late-night television have the kind of innocence and silliness that don’t grow on trees, so the idea of duplicating these classics seems doomed from the very start. But the makers of ”Amazon Women on the Moon,” which opens today at Loews New York Twin and other theaters, knew no fear.
WHY tamper with perfection? The tinny, low-budget science-fiction epics that turn up on late-night television have the kind of innocence and silliness that don’t grow on trees, so the idea of duplicating these classics seems doomed from the very start. But the makers of ”Amazon Women on the Moon,” which opens today at Loews New York Twin and other theaters, knew no fear. Nor did they know much about taste, concentration, restraint or any of the other virtues that might have bogged them down.
The result: an anarchic, often hilarious adventure in dial-spinning, a collection of brief skits and wacko parodies that are sometimes quite clever, though they’re just as often happily sophomoric, too. As an added bonus, there’s the film-within-a-film of the title, complete with intrepid space commander (Steve Forrest), spacesuit-wearing pet monkey and dopey assistant (Joey Travolta, who’s especially funny) who just can’t wait to reach the moon and tear off a hunk of that green cheese.
To the extent that this comic anthology has any structure at all, it’s set up as a late-night television showing of ”Amazon Women on the Moon,” with the film clips regularly interrupted by authentic-looking skips, scratches, burns and tears. Sometimes this leads to a commercial, sometimes a separate skit, sometimes back to the feature itself, but there’s really no telling where ”Amazon Women” is going, and that’s part of the fun. There are 20 separate skits here, made by five different directors, and if their quality varies greatly at least the pace is quick. The least inspired sketches quickly give way to ones that are better.
Among the high points are a look at the Son of the Invisible Man, who, as played by Ed Begley Jr., is something of an embarrassment to his neighbors. He thinks he’s perfected his father’s magic formula, and no one has the heart to tell him otherwise. So the patrons at the local bar sit patiently while he – naked, Invisible Man-style – rearranges the checkers on the checkerboards and cackles madly at his own wit.
Then there’s George (Matt Adler), the bashful teen-ager who tries to purchase a certain brand of condom from his kindly neighborhood druggist (played to the hilt by Ralph Bellamy), and finds out he’s gotten much more than he’s bargained for. Every young man’s worst nightmare comes true as he finds his face on a billboard and his praises sung by a marching band. Another recurring presence in the film is Don (No Soul) Simmons (David Alan Grier), a man with a congenital defect that makes him sing songs like ”Blame It on the Bossa Nova” and ”Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree.”
Amazon Women on the Moon (1987)
Directed by: Joe Dante, Carl Gottlieb
Starring: Rosanna Arquette, Michelle Pfeiffer, Arsenio Hall, Monique Gabrielle, Lou Jacobi, Donald F. Muhich, Erica Yohn, Griffin Dunne, Peter Horton
Screenplay by: Michael Barrie, Jim Mulholland
Production Design by: Ivo Cristante
Cinematography by: Daniel Pearl
Film Editing by: Malcolm Campbell, Marshall Harvey, Bert Lovitt
Costume Design by: Taryn De Chellis
Set Decoration by: Julie Kaye Fanton
Art Direction by: Alex Hajdu
Music by: Ira Newborn
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: September 18, 1987