Amazon Women on the Moon

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Amazon Women on the Moon
Amazon women on the moon.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Written by
Produced by
  • John Landis
  • Robert K. Weiss
CinematographyDaniel Pearl
Edited byMalcolm Campbell
Music byIra Newborn
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • September 18, 1987 (1987-09-18)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$5 million
Box office$548,696[1]

Amazon Women on the Moon is a 1987 American satirical science fiction film that parodies the experience of watching low-budget films on late-night television. The film, featuring a large ensemble cast including cameo appearances from film and TV stars and even non-actors, 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 films from the 1950s that borrows heavily from Queen of Outer Space (1958) starring Zsa Zsa Gabor, itself a film 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).[2]

John Landis had previously directed The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977), which employed a similar sketch anthology format.


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.

These segments feature:

Alternative versions[edit]

An alternate version of the "Pethouse Video" sketch was filmed for the television broadcast of the film, with Monique Gabrielle in lingerie instead of appearing naked throughout the segment. However, most European television broadcasts of the film retained the original theatrical version. Bullshit or Not? was retitled Baloney or Not? for the television version.

The American television edit, in addition to the alternative "Pethouse Video" sketch, features an additional bridging sequence between the death of Harvey Pitnik and his subsequent celebrity roast. In it, the mortician successfully cons Pitnik's widow into having the celebrity roast as part of the funeral, and her performance gets such strong positive feedback, it becomes a continuing performance series lasting for weeks.

The DVD release features an unreleased sketch titled "The Unknown Soldier", starring Robert Loggia with Ronny Cox, Bernie Casey, and Wallace Langham. Some television broadcasts of the film featured the sketches "Peter Pan Theater" and "The French Ventriloquist's Dummy", which were not present in the theatrical version.


"Mondo Condo" (directed by John Landis):

"Pethouse Video" (directed by Carl Gottlieb):

"Murray in Videoland" (directed by Robert K. Weiss):

"Hospital" (directed by Landis):

"Hairlooming" (directed by Joe Dante):

"Amazon Women on the Moon" (directed by Weiss):

"Blacks Without Soul" (directed by Landis):

"Two I.D.s" (directed by Peter Horton):

"Bullshit or Not" (directed by Dante):

"Critics' Corner" (directed by Dante):

"Silly Pâté" (directed by Weiss):

"Roast Your Loved One" (directed by Dante):

"Video Pirates" (directed by Weiss):

"Son of the Invisible Man" (directed by Gottlieb):

"French Ventriloquist's Dummy" (directed by Dante):

  • Dick Miller as Danny Clayton the Ventriloquist
  • Phil Bruns as Danny's Manager
  • Martin Goslins as the French Ventriloquist

"Art Sale" (directed by Gottlieb):

"First Lady of the Evening" (directed by Weiss):

"Titan Man" (directed by Weiss):

"Video Date" (directed by Landis):

"Reckless Youth" (directed by Dante):

"The Unknown Soldier" (directed by Horton)

"Peter Pan Theatre" (directed by Gottlieb)


The majority of critics agreed that the quality was inconsistent throughout the film. Variety called it "irreverent, vulgar and silly... [with] some hilarious moments and some real groaners too."[3] Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times felt that the exercise was somewhat unnecessary: "Satirists are in trouble when their subjects are funnier than they are."[4]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times, in a largely positive review, described the film as "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."[5]

Certain portions of the film were singled out for praise. "The funniest episode probably is 'Son of the Invisible Man', directed by Carl Gottlieb, in which Ed Begley Jr. plays a man who thinks he is invisible but is not", wrote the Chicago Sun-Times.[4] "The film's best sight gags come from Robert K. Weiss, who deserves kudos for the inspired idiocy of his Amazon Women segments", was the opinion of The New York Times.[5]

In a retrospective article for Entertainment Weekly, Chris Nashawaty called this film "the beginning of the end of Landis' career". He cited the episodes featuring Monique Gabrielle, Archie Hahn, Ed Begley Jr. and David Alan Grier as "inspired", but criticized others for their failure: "You'll never see Michelle Pfeiffer look as trapped as she does in her skit with Thirtysomething's Peter Horton, or Joe Pantoliano and Arsenio Hall as unfunny as they are in their skits."[6]

Amazon Women on the Moon has a rating of 65% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 20 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10.[7] On Metacritic it has a 42% score based on reviews from 11 critics.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Amazon Women on the Moon at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Scott, Casey. "Amazon Women on the Moon". DVD Drive-In. Archived from the original on November 12, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  3. ^ "Amazon Women on the Moon". Variety. Penske Business Media. January 1, 1987. Archived from the original on April 5, 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (September 18, 1987). "Amazon Women on the Moon". Ebert Digital LLC. Archived from the original on April 5, 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (September 18, 1987). "Amazon Women on the Moon". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 5, 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  6. ^ Nashawaty, Chris (September 7, 2006). "Chris Nashawaty mourns for John Landis' career". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Archived from the original on April 5, 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  7. ^ "Amazon Women on the Moon (1987)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  8. ^ "Amazon Women on the Moon". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2022-02-19. Retrieved 2022-02-19.

External links[edit]