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Amazon Women on the Moon: Collector's Edition

Sketch comedy films are intrinsically erratic, which may be why they work best with comedy troupes, and also why sketches work better on television with its inherently interrupted rhythms — it's much easier to stop and start when you have commercial breaks. Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) has always played better on the small screen, where the viewer can take it or leave it, and do their own editing. Directed by Robert K. Weiss, Carl Gottlieb, Peter Horton, John Landis, and Joe Dante, Amazon Women is ostensibly linked through the trials of modern man as his life has been changed by technology — the quality veers from hilarious to dull, but it's peppered with enough famous people to keep it amusing. Some of the highlights: Dante's segment "Critics Corner" where a Siskel and Ebert type begin grading lives of everyday people, including one of its viewers, while Dante's post-credit "Reckless Youth" is a pitch-perfect parody of the old scared-straight films like Reefer Madness; Gottlieb's "Son of the Invisible Man" has Ed Begley Jr. running around naked thinking he's invisible; Landis' "Video Date" has Russ Meyer giving a young man (Marc McClure) a personalized porno only to have it go horribly wrong, while "Blacks Without Soul" launched David Allen Grier's career by playing Don "No Soul" Simmons. The longest bit (which runs sporadically throughout) is Weiss' spot-on parody of old sci-fi films called "Amazon Women on the Moon," where Forrest J. Ackerman is the U.S. president and sends three astronauts to the moon, only to discover it being run by women (led by Sybil Danning!) Some of the comedy is very specific — especially in the "Amazon Women" section where many of the jokes are based on the specious science of earlier sci-fi flicks — and like the Airplane movies, there are jokes for the attentive viewer. But there's also quite a bit of shoe leather, and some jokes just go on a little too long — Horton's sole segment "Two I.D.'s" is a clever premise that runs out of gas. Universal's Collector's Edition of Amazon Women on the Moon presents the film in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and DD 2.0 stereo, and includes 20 minutes of cut scenes (including the Dante directed "French Ventriloquist's Dummy," which is usually included in the TV cut of the film) featuring Dick Miller, Robert Loggia, Ronny Cox, Jennifer Agutter and Bernie Casey. Also included are six minutes of outtakes and the theatrical trailer. Keep-case.

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