Monday, May 30, 2016
Rifftrax Meets Catwomen of the Moon Without Julie Newmar or Michelle Pfeiffer
Science Fiction movies presented movie fans with incredible predictions of what life will be like in the 21st Century with moon bases, flying cars and TV's that fit in your pocket. (Guess which one wound up coming true).
However, they also provide guys with way too much reassurance that they'll always be superior to women. Movies like Queen of Outer Space, Devil Girl From Mars or the Rocky Jones movies feature brave and macho astronauts who land on a planet ruled by women who seem superior. Of course, to preserve the Movie Status Quo, the macho astronauts either defeat the alien women or take them back to Earth to turn them into the Housewives of Tomorrow.
Fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 know this genre all too well, and now it's Rifftrax's turn with Catwomen of the Moon. Mary Jo Pehl and Bridget Nelson are the lucky (?) riffers who are taking on this movie, possibly to prepare them to riff on Gravity, the absolute opposite of this film. It's also one of the shortest features at 63 minutes. Thanks to a holiday discount, and an extra two-dollar discount, I decided to check it out.
A crew led by Laird (Sonny Tufts) heads to the Moon. The ship features office chairs with casters and a desk, and hammocks that are supposed to be beds. A female navigator named Helen (Marie Windsor) starts to act strangely. She even suggests where they should land on the Moon, even though it's on the Dark Side. Once the crew gets there, they discover the Catwomen who apparently want to get to Earth to stay alive...and maybe take it over, too. They also had telepathic powers that influenced Helen even before the launch. Yes, folks, the movie is suggesting whatever's happening is her fault.
Still, another of the Catwomen falls for one of the other guys and actually feels torn about the whole plot. Eventually, the Earthlings win, but how it's done is treated as an afterthought.
There's even an attempt at a romantic subplot between Kip and Helen, and how their "love" is used to snap her out of the spell of the Catwomen. It would have been cooler if Helen wound up being a Catwoman while one of them sides with the men, but that would have involved thought. This movie is a classic example of the They Just Didn't Care School of Film.
As I said before, fans of MST3K are quite familiar with sexist sci-fi. Project Moonbase featured a female pilot who outranked her fellow male astronaut on a mission to orbit the moon. She thinks they should try to land, but she gets shot down because she's a girl. When they do land because of a stowaway who tries to sabotage the mission, she not only has to marry the guy but he's promoted to Brigadier General. The movie, of course, also makes sure she's really incompetent. No wonder Servo is disgusted at the end.
Then there's Fire Maidens of Outer Space. Another group of brave men land on a newly-discovered moon. It turns out the moon is a male fantasy with sexy women who dance but really belong in a Hercules movie. The only two threats occur when one of the girls is chosen for sacrifice, and a furry monster appears for 20 seconds to be killed. It ends with one of the women coming back to Earth, no doubt to become a Housewife of Tomorrow.
Sharp-eyed fans also recognize Helen as Marie Windsor, who played Josie in Swamp Diamonds. She was the one was "doing a nickle at UPS" with Beverly Garland.
This time, though, we have two smart and witty women who rip this piece of futuristic chauvinism a new one. So, riffing time:
Catwomen of the Moon
Single and Loving It
One of the crew wears a hazmat suit to try to resolve a major problem:
This is what it's like when you have to clear your junior high boy's bedroom. (The description is even funnier).
Then he comes out
Try new Man in a Can.
They head to the cave that Helen led them to...somehow. "Exactly as I dreamed, or did I? Maybe this is the dream"
Elaine May in Inception,
Helen wonders why the guys think the aliens are automatically evil. "Why can't we expect love and friendship instead of death?"
One of the guys stares at one of the Catwomen
Acting or coma?
There's also riffs on Elton John, Grazing In The Grass, Tang, Peyton Place, HDTV, Catholic schools and City Limits (mainly who's in it).
If you'd like to see this "movie" and other Rifftrax selections, visit the website at rifftrax.com. It includes the mp3 riff of Glitter, aka Mariah Carey's version of A Star Is Born. She and Bridget will be part of the MST3K Reunion from Minneapolis. Tickets to the broadcast on June 28th are available at the Fathom Events website.