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"Don't think, honey. Just be beautiful."—Gary in Missile to the Moon, unwittingly presenting the Aesop of both movies.
Mankinds' first expedition to the Moon courts disaster by including a woman in the crew.
Well there's more to it than that, but not much. Part of the Lady Land subgenre of sci-fi cheapies (see also Queen of Outer Space and Fire Maidens from Outer Space) in which an Interplanetary Voyage leads to the discovery of an all-female society on another world. Rather than using this premise to explore gender politics of the time, we instead get Fan Service and the restoration of a reassuring sense of male patriachy by the end.
What were you expecting -- rocket science?
The film was remade in 1959 as Missile to the Moon. Somehow it managed to be even worse than the B-Movie original.
Cat-Women of the Moon provides examples of:
- 3D Movie
- Anticlimax Cut: At least Missile to the Moon had an explosive climax. This movie ends with Rip running offscreen firing his gun after Alpha and Beta. We then hear him shouting back, "The cat-women are dead! Helen's all right!"
- Artificial Gravity: Used in the cave to hold an atmosphere. Presumably on the rocketship too, as we're spared the obligatory zero-g sequence. Also Laird says their space boots won't weigh as much once they're out on the moon's surface.
- Brainy Brunette: Supposedly Helen, but it turns out her skill in navigation was provided by the evil cat-women! No wonder she doesn't have to ask for directions in space.
- Death by Materialism: Walt Walters is constantly pulling cheap stunts to get money (postcards from the moon, advertisement plugs on the radio). He gets stabbed In the Back in a cave of gold.
- Dying Race: Why the cat-women are desperate to Take Over the World. The Moon is running out of oxygen.
- Elmer Bernstein did the score.
- Exact Time to Failure: The Captain points out that Kip's Hazmat Suit will barely last a minute in the overloading engine room. Kip quips that he'll have to be 59 seconds then.
- Fanservice Extras: The Hollywood Cover Girls (whoever they are) play the (non-speaking) cat-women.
- Fauxlosophic Narration: The Opening Monologue.
- Five-Man Band
- Future Spandex: The cat-women at least wear catsuits.
- Giant Spider: Our heroes are attacked by giant puppet spiders, reducing Helen to a Screaming Woman.
- Gratuitous Greek: Alpha and her Co-Dragons, Beta and Lambda.
- Gold Fever: As usual, the moon has plenty of gold. Helium 3, what's that?
- Hazmat Suit: Kip dons a hooded suit to fix a coolant leak, after the obligatory meteor shower damages their nuclear-powered Retro Rocket.
- Interspecies Romance: Lambda and Doug. It doesn't take them long to discuss what boys and girls get up to on Earth and fall in love.
- Let's Split Up, Gang!: Averted when Helen is abducted by the cat-women. Kip points out that it makes more sense to wait to see whether she's returned. She is.
- Love Triangle: Helen loves Kip, but the evil cat-women have made Helen turn her attentions to Laird because it's more suitable for their purpose.
- Mind Control: Weak-Willed Helen
- Non-Indicative Name: Warning -- this movie does not contain Catgirls.
- Notable Original Music: This is one of the films Elmer Bernstein scored while waiting for McCarthy to leave power.
- The Power of Love: Kip breaks Alpha's Mind Control just by holding Helen's hand.
- The Power of the Sun: If you put a cigarette over the dividing line between the light and dark sides of the moon, it will burst into flame!
- Prop Recycling: The space helmets are leftovers from Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, produced the same year.
- Sinister Silhouettes: Difficult to achieve when the subject is a hair-bunned woman. Except for the Hand of Death when Walt gets killed.
- Space Is Cold
Laird: I want everyone to check each other's heaters. It must be set on Number Two, because of the absolute cold of the dark side.
- Space Madness: Laird puts down Helen's call to Alpha (which she doesn't remember) as "a touch of space madness".
- Stock Footage: The usual 1949 film taken from an A4 rocket launched into the upper atmosphere is reused in a constant loop.
- Take Over the World: Alpha's evil plan.
Alpha: Four of us will be enough. We will get their women under our power, and soon we shall rule the whole Earth.
Alpha: We need no language. We can project our thoughts long distances.
- Villain Teleportation: Lambda teleports herself via a bad jump cut. Leads to a Fridge Logic moment -- if the cat-women can do this, why do they need the spacesuits to get to the rocketship?
Missile to the Moon provides examples of:
- Alien Among Us: Dirk Green was sent to Earth to evaluate its suitability as a new home. His obsession with building the rocket is so he can return and bring his people here (the spaceship having brought him was destroyed).
- Arranged Marriage: Dirk has already been promised to Alpha. This causes problems when Steve pretends to be him.
- Artificial Gravity: 'Gravitational shoes' are mentioned, though strangely not until they're on the Moon.
- Beehive Hairdo: The Moon Girls.
- Being Watched: Gary in the cave.
- Big Electric Switch: Large levers are used to land the rocketship and release the Deadly Gas.
- Blatant Lies
- California Doubling: That 'ole sci-fi standby, Bronson Canyon, passes for the Moon. Including bushes.
Rifftrax: Real nice day on the Moon! Must be a high pressure system.
- Cat Fight: June vs. Alpha.
- Continuous Decompression: Rather than release the Deadly Gas that will kill the Earthman she's fallen for, Zema throws a grenade that blows out the window of the throne room, killing everyone as there are no doors to seal off each section.
- Dramatic Slip: Lon trips on the sand, as it's the only way the slow-moving rock creatures could possibly get close enough to menace anyone.
Rifftrax: "I think you'd have a better chance of being overtaken by an actual rock."
- Dull Surprise: All the actors at one time or another, but Cathy Downs' (June) tone of voice never matches whatever dramatic events are happening on screen. No wonder her screams are all dubbed.
- Evil Army: The military seeks to take over Dirk's research, as missile work is their sole prerogative. Apparently they're unaware of the existence of the military-industrial complex.
- Extreme Graphical Representation
"The signals from the missile are flashing!"
- Fanservice Extras: 'International Beauty Contest Winners' -- ranging from Miss Florida to Miss Yugoslavia -- play the Moon Girls.
- Giant Spider: The Dark Creature.
- Good Guns, Bad Guns: Mad Scientist Dirk removes a German Luger from the desk, while Steve takes out a good 'ole American Colt automatic.
- Got Volunteered: Dirk ropes in escaped convicts Lon and Gary as a scratch crew to help him go to the Moon. Good thing piloting the ship only consists of pulling big levers at his command!
- Green-Eyed Monster: Their lives depend on the Moon people thinking Steve is Dirk, so naturally June blurts out the truth when she sees Alpha smooching Steve.
- He's Dead, Jim: Dirk.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Alpha somehow manages to impale herself on her own knife.
- Hollywood Torches: Our first sign of civilisation on the Moon. Why they'd use such things on a world rapidly running out of oxygen is not mentioned.
- Immune to Bullets: The rock creatures.
- I Resemble That Remark
Gary: "The papers, what would they know? They said I stole three cars."
Gary: "It was five cars!"
- Mad Scientist: Dirk Green acts like one, though it turns out he's got a reason to be obsessed with going to the Moon.
- Mind Control: This time a man is on the receiving end, with Steve Dayton being hypnotised by the evil Alpha.
- Ominous Walk: The rock creatures. One wonders how they avoid starving to death.
June: "Oh Steve, we've got to stop it!"
Rifftrax: "If not we'll be forced to walk away slowly without the slightest trace of urgency, laughing the whole time!"
- The Power of the Sun: Stepping into the direct light of the sun is enough to make Gary turn into a burning dummy, and then a plastic skeleton.
- Rape as Drama: Gary makes an attempt to grope June, leading to Good Old Fisticuffs with Dirk. He is Easily Forgiven once the obligatory meteor shower flies at them.
- Space Suits Are Scuba Gear: The spacesuits are air force jumpsuits, helmets and oxygen cylinders.
- The Starscream: Whichever woman has the strongest mind power becomes the Lido. When Alpha fails a contest of minds, she thinks "Stuff it" and stabs the current Lido In the Back.
- Stock Footage Failure: Stock footage of a German V2 launch is used. Unfortunately this includes the launch gantry -- while they're landing and taking off from the Moon.
- Swiss Cheese Security: The control circuits for the electric fence are outside the fence, protected by a small easily-picked padlock. The rocket is right next to the fence, too.
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: Alpha removes a dagger from her ample cleavage.
- Worthless Yellow Rocks: This time it's diamonds that are common, and it's no surprise that Gary suffers Death by Materialism by refusing to drop the two bags of uncut diamonds that are slowing him down.