• Amazon Women On The Moon (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: November 10th, 2020.
    Director: Joe Dante, John Landis, Carl Gottleib, Peter Horton, Robert K. Weiss
    Cast: Arsenio Hall, Monique Gabrielle, Lou Jacobi, Phil Hartman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Forrest J. Ackerman, Syibl Danning, Lana Clarkson, B. B. King, Henry Silva, David Alan Grierd
    Year: 1987
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    Amazon Women On The Moon – Movie Review:

    A literal hodge-podge of eighties filmmaking directed by a pretty impressive array of directorial talent, 1987’s comedy anthology Amazon Women On The Moon picks up where John Landis’ earlier Kentucky Fried Movie left off. The film finds Landis working alongside such luminaries as Joe Dante (The Howling, Gremlins), TV industry stalwarts Carl Gottleib and Peter Horton and Robert K. Weiss (who directed a slew of videos for the mighty Weird Al Yankovic – and if that doesn’t count as legit comedy credentials in your book, then your book is wrong).

    The basic premise behind the movie is to emulate late night cable TV channel surfing by fusing bits and pieces of strange commercial parodies, infomercials, sci-fi and monster movies, and softcore Playboy – Video Playmate style sex films into the viewing experience. It’s basically what you might come across were you to be looking for something to watch on late night TV in the eighties, with those clichés and stereotypes taken to ridiculous – and frequently very humorous – extremes.

    The result is a mishmash of unrelated skits and bits that range from absolutely hilarious to sometimes kind of dull, but the good definitely does outweigh the bad here and there are more hits than misses. Highlights include David Alan Grier as Don ‘No Soul’ Simmons, a black man born without soul and the subject of a funds drive by B. B. King, and Ed Begley Jr. as The Son Of The Invisible Man, who is in fact not invisible at all and runs around naked acting like a goon. And of course, there’s the now infamous ‘Bullshit Or Not’ segment where the great Henry Silva hosts a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not style television show that seeks to uncover the truth about some modern myths. This one is the highlight of the movie and Silva is the perfect casting choice for the part, his stone-faced delivery really suiting the material perfectly. Also noteworthy is the Pethouse Pet video segment, which does a great job of sending up softcore Playboy style videos from the time period. Here, our voluptuous subject, does pretty much everything naked – she gyrates on the bed, sure, but she also goes shopping, does some sightseeing, visits a museum and more! This is followed by another amusing bit where an everyday Joe gets pulled into the TV and experiences firsthand what he’s watched others go through. The Reckless Youth segment, made to replicate an old youth scare film/juvenile delinquent movie featuring Carrie Fisher ad Paul Bartel, is also great. Fans of TV roast shows will also appreciate the Roast Your Loved One segment featuring some pretty recognizable faces.

    Guest appearances by such cult heroes as Forrest J. Ackerman (as the president of the United States in the title segment), breast aficionado movie maverick Ross Meyer (as a video salesperson in Videodate) highlight some of the other segments. The movie is also notable for early appearances by Michelle Pfieffer, Steve Guttenberg, and Rosanna Arquette as well as cameos from favorites such as Joey Travolta (ok, maybe he’s not a favorite), Howard Hessmeman, the late Carrie Fisher and William Marshall (Blacula - Rest In Peace!), as well as B-Movie Queens like Lana Clarkson and Sybil Danning, and comedians like Rip Taylor, Henny Youngman, Steve Allen, Rip Taylor a young Phil Hartman and even Andrew Dice Clay. Also, if you blink you’ll miss it, but a young Bryan Cranston shows up in here too.

    While comedy is, of course, very subjective and hard to be specific about due to the nature of it all, Amazon Women On The Moon definitely has enough funny moments, great guest appearances, and obscure pop-culture references to make it worth a look for those interested in that type of thing. The anthology format of the feature means that even when you get hit with a skit that doesn’t land for you, the next one is just around the corner. As such, it’s an easy, breezy watch with some moments of inspired creativity and memorable set pieces adding to the fun.

    Amazon Women On The Moon – Blu-ray Review:

    Kino brings Amazon Women On The Moon to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation with the feature framed in its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85.1 (save for the Reckless Youth segment which is framed at 1.37.1, which is how Dante intended it) taking up 26.5GBs of space on the 50GB disc. Picture quality is quite nice. Detail improves over the DVD release considerably and colors look quite a bit better as well. Black levels are also pretty strong. The picture is free of any serious print damage while retaining the expected film grain you’d want it to. There are no issues with any noise reduction, edge enhancement or noise reduction issues to note. This might not look like the latest and greatest big budget Hollywood blockbuster, but it looks quite good overall.

    The only audio option for the feature is a 16-bit English language DTS-HD 2.0 mix. Optional subtitles are offered in English only. No problems to note here, audio is solid. The levels are properly balanced, the track is free of any hiss or distortion and the dialogue is always easy to follow. It isn’t home theater demo material by any stretch, but it suits the low budget, low-fi tone of the film just fine and improves over past DVD editions.

    Extras start off with a new audio commentary featuring Film Historians Kat Ellinger and Mike McPadden, who co-host the Busted Guts podcast together. The track starts off by talking about the directors involved and the film's original status as a sequel to Kentucky Fried Movie, similarities and differences between the movies, the film's success on the VHS market after being savaged by critics, the cult following that has developed for the film over the years, the film's uniquely American qualities, the film's commentary on how pervasive TV culture is in America and of course plenty of details on the casting that is such a huge part of the film's appeal. As the track progresses, they cover how the film celebrates 'genre,' background details that you might miss the first time around, the influence of MTV on the look and editing of the picture, the pitch black humor in the roast sequence, pop culture influences that work their way into the movie, the film's take on pornography and lots, lots more.

    Kino also supplies a new featurette entitled Bullshit Or Not: The True Story Of Amazon Women On The Moon, which is made up of interviews with John Landis, Joe Dante, co-editor Marshall Harvey, casting director Julie Selzer and actress Belinda Balaski. As far as the content goes? Landis admits that he still doesn't know if the movie works even if it has some very funny bits, and Dante recognizes that no one really saw the movie when it first came out. It turns out, Universal didn't really know what to do with the movie and since it was made on such a low budget, they released it straight to video where it wound up doing quite well. They then cover the casting of the film and the importance of getting some name stars onboard, getting some less recognizable stars involved, editing the picture, the size of the cast, editing the picture, Universal's distribution deal (which didn't allow them to use the Universal lot as Dante had hoped!), having to finish the bits very quickly, starting the production without a title, trying to replicate the success of Kentucky Fried Movie and lots more. It's quite well put together and often times as funny as it is informative.

    Also new to this release are some recently discovered outtakes and dailies from Joe Dante's personal archive. The Reckless Youth Dailies section is a collection of twelve-minutes of exactly what it sounds like - dailies from the black and white sketch starring Carrie Fisher and Paul Bartel that finishes up the feature itself. Interesting stuff to see for sure. Complimenting this is a Reckless Youth Deleted Scene, a quick thirty-seven-second bit with Bartel and Fisher that is actually quite funny.

    From there, we get three deleted bits from the Roast Your sketch. First up is Rip Taylor in a four-minute bit that is as over the top and flamboyant as you'd expect it to be. Jackie Vernon then gets a four-minute roast bit that is pretty amusing, which is followed by Henny Youngman full five-minute bit, well worth watching.

    Carried over from previous editions is a series of deleted scenes. First up is the Original Open From Amazon Women On The Moon, and form there we get The Unknown Soldier (starring Robert Loggia) which was directed by Peter Horton. After that is a deleted scene from Roast Your Loved One directed by Joe Dante and then The French Ventriloquist’s Dummy, again directed by Joe Dante, and featuring an English-speaking Ventriloquist who has his dummy replaced with one that speaks French. Dick Miller shows up in that one, which makes it great. From there, dig into deleted love scenes from Amazon Women On The Moon directed by Robert Weiss, and a bit entitled Peter Pan Theater that is included as well. None of these are particularly hilarious, but it’s nice to see them and there are a few minor chuckles contained inside. And hey, Dick Miller.

    Also carried over from the older releases are six-minutes of outtakes from the film featuring some of the cast and crewmembers (B.B. King, Guttenberg, Carrie Fisher, Paul Bartel, Henry Silva, Arsenio Hall, Rip Taylor and a very excitable monkey all show up here alongside quote a few others) as well as the film’s original theatrical trailer. There are also bonus trailers for I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, Mafia! and Oscar. Menus and chapter selection are also provided.

    Amazon Women On The Moon – The Final Word:

    While some of the skits aren’t exactly prime comedy, enough of them are funny enough to give this a look and all of the numerous guest appearances make this a fun movie to watch regardless and a few legitimately classic bits definitely make it memorable. Kino Lorber has done a nice job bringing Amazon Women On The Moon to Blu-ray, with a fine presentation and a strong selection of extra features. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full-sized Amazon Women On The Moon Blu-ray screen caps!