Director: John Landis, Joe Dante, Peter Horton, Carl Gottlieb, Robert K. Weiss
Screenplay: Michael Barrie, Jim Mulholland
Starring: Carrie Fisher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Peter Horton, Sybil Danning, Steve Guttenberg, Arsenio Hall, Ed Begley Jr, Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette
Duration: 85 min
BBFC Certification: 15
Oh, my misspent youth of the 80s – staying out late drinking and then coming home to peruse the huge variety of all 31 channels that Swindon Cable had to offer in my drunken stupor. Being the worse for wear my concentration span wouldn’t be the longest so I would inevitably bounce between channels watching snippets of programmes until eventually I would lose consciousness. With Amazon Women On The Moon, I suspect that this was the effect producer John Landis was going for. A kind of follow up to his 1977 masterpiece, The Kentucky Fried Movie, Landis gathered together a number of writers and directors to produce what is basically a feature length sketch show.
The central concept is of an American tv station attempting to show a 50s B-movie also called Amazon Women On The Moon, but technical difficulties keep forcing the film off air, leading to the viewer to channel surf and watch various sketches and TV commercial spoofs. The B-movie is a pretty spot on send up of the kind of trashy sci-fi films I grew up on, with the story focussing on a crew of 3 astronauts and a monkey embarking on a mission to the moon. When they arrive, they are surprised to find that it is not made of cheese but resembles the California desert, along with blazing sunshine and a breathable atmosphere. They are soon captured by 80s genre favourite, Sybil Danning and her army of Amazon women. This segment pops up throughout the film and is probably one of the weakest elements but does serve its purpose to link all the disparate sketches.
Among the other sketches are Arsenio Hall returning home from work to find that all his electrical devices seem to have it in for him; Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter Horton as new parents whose doctor may or may not have misplaced their newborn baby and Steve Guttenberg meeting Rosanna Arquette for a date, but having to provide two valid forms of ID so she can perform a background check on his dating history. Some of my personal faves are the 1940s social disease film in the style of Reefer Madness, with an innocent Carrie Fisher being introduced to the wild world of sex, booze and drugs; the reality tv show hosted by Henry Silva called Bullshit or Not which sets out to prove that Jack The Ripper was in fact The Loch Ness Monster and Ed Begley Jr in Son Of The Invisible Man in which his experimental potion doesn’t make him as invisible as he thinks. However, for me the stand out is the recurring commercials for albums by Don ‘No Soul’ Simmons, a black singer who sings easy listening in the straightest cheesiest way possible. Clearly an influence on the creators of the character Carlton in The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air!
Not all the sketches work, but when they do they will have you in stitches – with such great directors as Landis and Dante onboard you can almost guarantee a high hit rate. Over the years Amazon Women On The Moon has become a huge cult hit and you can see it’s influence on a lot of modern comedy. Do yourself a favour, grab a few beers, order in a pizza and put this in your Blu-ray player tonight – you won’t be disappointed.
Amazon Women On The Moon is released on Blu-ray by 101 Films and includes the following extras:
• We’re Gonna Need Bigger Skits: An Interview with Carl Gottlieb
• Cinematographer on the Moon: An Interview with Daniel Pearl
• Audio Commentary with Mondo Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson
• Picture Gallery
• Six cut scenes