|MISSILE TO THE MOON
|Copyright 1959 Layton Film Productions
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 27 April 2008
- Steve - Back in the 1950's, space rockets had panels filled with little lights. If one of those lights started blinking it meant that you had a problem. Steve was the guy who could tell you what the blinking light meant.
- June - Star of the lost film, "Catfighting Women of the Moon."
- Dirk - The only thing he loved more than his rocket was the moon women he built it for. His brain gets crushed by a falling battery.
- Gary - On the verge of escaping from the moon with enough diamonds to give half the De Beers cartel strokes, he stumbles into direct sunlight and bursts into flame.
- Lon - He fell in love with a moon girl, lost her, and returned to Earth with one purpose: create an alcoholic beverage in her memory. Unfortunately, spelling was never Lon's strong point.
- The Lido - My word, is that a chandelier on her head? Stabbed in the back by her protégé.
- Zema - She should have fallen in love with a man who could spell. Dead.
- Alpha - "Look into my eyes! My eyes, they are up here! I command you to obey me! Up here, you fool!" She eventually runs out of air and dies.
- The Rock Monsters - They look like killer triangles (with arms and legs) and move very slowly. I suppose that someone with two broken legs would find the Rock Monsters threatening, but most everyone else could just outwalk them.
|This is a remake of 1953's Cat-Women of the Moon. Not quite as fun as the original, but still enjoyable in that classic b-movie way.
Dirk and Steve have a problem that most hobbyist moon rocket builders never encounter: they built a ship that is superior to anything at NASA. So, a polite (but firm) representative of the United States military stops by to give them a pat on the back and news that their project is being "adopted" by the government. Steve and his girlfriend, June, are delighted and break out the champagne. Dirk is not so happy.
Meanwhile, a pair of boys escapes from the local prison. One of them is a remorseless criminal; that would be Gary. The other is Lon, a kid who just made a mistake, and now he made another mistake by helping Gary break out. In fact, I think that Lon is bloody stupid. He only had six months left on his sentence. Idiot. Anyway, the convicts hide inside of the amazing moon rocket, which is in Dirk's backyard. The local sheriff stops by to tell the scientists about the escapees and also searches the property. Dirk spots the young men inside the rocket (somehow, Gary thinks that Dirk didn't see them - which is incredibly naive, considering the scene). Instead of alerting the sheriff, the scientist climbs up and locks the convicts inside of the rocket's cockpit. Why does the hatch lock operate in that manner? It seems to me, and I am not a rocket scientist, that the cockpit hatch should lock from the inside.
I am not even going to try and figure out why the rocket, which has to be filled with tons of highly flammable fuel, is in the backyard. If something goes wrong with the launch, the darn thing is going to fall on the house. Most homeowners insurance policies do not provide coverage if you do something colossally stupid. I have read about an insurance claim that was denied because a moron tried to deep fry a turkey in the garage. What do you think the State Farm agent is going to do when you submit your claim for an untested, amateur-built moon missile burning down the house?
They are going to laugh at you.
Perhaps you are wondering why Dirk locked the fugitives in the rocket, rather than turning them in. Well, he procures a pistol from the house and uses it to convince Lon and Gary to help him blast off. Takeoff is surprisingly simple, but the scientist needs a few extra hands to flip all the levers. All that Dirk needed was a pair of trained monkeys, but the escaped convicts will have to do (Lon might be dumber than some monkeys). June and Steve realize that somebody is fooling around inside the rocket and go to investigate. All they accomplish is getting trapped inside the lower cargo hold when Dirk seals the ship. To survive the launch, the lovebirds grab oxygen masks and sit on the floor. The trick works. Eventually, Dirk finds his friends in the lower hold, rather than the thick morass of human salsa that should have resulted.
During the short trip to Earth's natural satellite, Dirk is mortally wounded by a battery that falls off a shelf during a bumpy encounter with some meteors. Before dying, he gasps out some final instructions to Steve. What he does not tell the other scientist is why they put a battery on a shelf eight feet off the floor to begin with! "Uh, Dirk, why is that battery there?" "So it can fall on my head and kill me halfway to the moon." "Oh, right."
Upon their arrival, the moon explorers don spacesuits and descend onto the lunar surface. Almost immediately, they encounter the Rock Monsters. Imagine a guy in a big foam suit that is supposed to resemble a pointed rock. It looks neat, but it is also painfully obvious that the man inside the foam Rock Monster outfit can barely walk. Still, the frightened humans flee into a cave to escape from the moon monsters. Once inside, they get captured by moon women!
The moon women are the remnants of a great civilization that once flourished on Earth's satellite. Unfortunately, something went wrong and now their world is dying. Food and oxygen are both in short supply, along with men. Dirk was one of the last moon men, and his expedition to Earth never returned. That is why Dirk built the rocketship, to return to the moon and save the Lido. Just before he died, Dirk gave Steve an amulet; because of it, the Lido believes that Steve is actually Dirk. Masquerading as his dead friend provides Steve with some insight, though the Lido sees right through the deception (because she is blind, and Steve failed to remark on it).
I am not sure what ecological disaster befell the moon. Maybe strip mining your entire terrestrial sphere is a bad idea. Actually, the moon women engage in a lot of dubious conservation practices; oxygen is growing scarce, but they use torches for illumination.
I also wanted to point out that "Dirk Save the Lido" doesn't have a very good ring to it. Even the British can do better.
Another perk of pretending to be Dirk that Steve discovers is an arranged marriage. The old man was promised to the Lido's successor, Alpha. However, June is not going for it. I guess Steve tried using the old, "But I have to marry this other woman for a little while." line before. June confronts Alpha and the two of them scratch and claw at each other for a bit.
June's fit of jealousy was not a good idea; especially after Alpha assassinates the Lido and takes control - of both the moon kingdom and Steve's mind. The young male convicts (remember them; they're still here) are slated for eventual execution; June is chained to a post in one of the caves. There are some big ol' moon spiders mucking around in the caves; June is meant to become a snack. One that screams and struggles to get free, but I doubt a piercing female shriek is enough to put a giant spider off of its meal. Fortunately, Zema helps Lon and Gary to escape. They hear June's screams and charge in, pistols blazing. A .45 ACP is enough to ruin the appetite of almost anything.
Still one person missing from this escape party: Steve. He is in the throne room, looking hypnotized and waiting to become Mr. Alpha Queen of the Moon. Lucky for him, Zema confronts Alpha and manages to dominate the evil leader in a test of mental wills. Steve stumbles off (that's one small step...just the start of a panicked dash) to catch up with the other humans. Zema throws a grenade at the throne room window. "Boom!" goes the grenade. "Whoosh!" goes all the air. The moon women gasp like fish out of water, they even flop around a little, and the curtain closes on yet another all-woman civilization. I tell you, if a volcano does not get them, the interstellar vacuum does.
Before escaping from the moon, one more member of the rocket's crew becomes a casualty. Gary lets greed get the better of him and tries to carry out two sacks of diamonds. The Rock Monsters surround the hapless criminal; he stumbles into direct sunlight and catches on fire as the others look on. Once Gary finishes burning, Steve, June, and Lon return home.
Once the flames were out, I bet that the Rock Monsters did the Watusi on Gary's ashes. Rock Monsters are mean like that.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- The Painted Desert got its name because the sky looks like a piece of folded canvas.
- Building a spaceship is against the law.
- The 1959 national shortage of pegboard was an unfortunate byproduct of the Space Race.
- Creatures made of stone are not known for their stealth.
- Oddly, the best place to hide from a Rock Monster is inside of a cave.
- Donuts, like Marshmallow Peeps, taste better after sixty years.
- Great White Sharks became extinct on the moon because their teeth were used by moon women to make high-heeled shoes.
- There are three ways to beat rock: paper, oxygen, and grenade.
- Opening Credits - How do you pronounce that person's last name? I know that they were teased in school.
- 16 mins - That is science talk for, "Unauthorized personnel are accessing the launch system."
- 19 mins - "If these school lockers don't fall on us, we just might have a chance!"
- 22 mins - Is that a barometer? Why?
- 23 mins - Is that a grandfather clock? Why?
- 47 mins - Because Steve is a Sixty Minute Man.
- 49 mins - In other words, the moon women killed off all the males for being useless, then realized that they had a problem.
- 59 mins - Not particularly, no.
- 60 mins - How about doing what most men do when a woman starts winning the argument? Punch her in the nose!
- 76 mins - That was...actually a bit gruesome.
- Lido: "You seem to have forgotten much during your stay on Earth, Dirk. You have not even commented on my blindness."
Steve: "I was very sorry to see it."
- June: "This heat is unbearable."
Steve: "Our only chance is to make our way in the shadowed area near the cliffs. The heat of the sun would roast us alive."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Dirk: "Outside stands a missile, capable of safely transporting a man into space, and I've proved it! I've proved it time and time again!" |
Steve: "That's quite true, Colonel. In a series of static tests we've simulated several trips to space. The graphs from these telemetering devices will confirm that."
Colonel: "In a project of this magnitude static tests prove nothing. Gentlemen, you must understand that missile experimentation is government business. Strictly government!"
||Gary: "I knew there'd be a catch. Well, go on. What is it?" |
Dirk: "I want to take this ship up tonight."
Lon: "Up? Up where?"
Dirk: "To the moon."
Gary: "Now look, George, if you want to speak to me you'd better shake the loose parts out of your head."
Lon: "Yeah, man. Look, we're trying to get away, but uh...not that far."
||June: "Why it's delicious." |
Lido: "I am pleased to see that you find our offering satisfying. It may interest you to know that the food in front of you was produced long before I was born."
||Gary: "What gives? What gives? Where are all the men around here? Don't you even have a boyfriend?" |
Moon Girl: "You are the first man I've ever seen. I am told we used to have many."
Gary: "Well, honey, we got to catch up for lost time."
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|The human explorers suddenly discover that moon rocks are not very friendly. |
Look closely and you will see that the monsters have eyes and noses.
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
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