Nude on The Moon/Review

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“I lost my love to a Moon Doll” croons the theme tune to Doris Wishman’s 1961 sci-fi sexploitation opus ‘Nude on The Moon’, neatly providing a one-line synopsis of what passes for the movie’s plot.

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Having been led to believe, by numerous scientific sources, that the Moon was an uninhabitable, freezing cold lump of cosmic rock I was astonished to discover that, according to Wishman’s film, it is in fact home to an Eden-like colony of extra-terrestrial nudists.

Ambitious young scientist Jeff inherits 3 million dollars from an uncle who made ‘a fortune in the fur business’ and decides to use the cash to fund a trip to the moon. With help from his colleague ‘The Professor’, Jeff brews up some super potent rocket fuel in his lab. The Professor has strange metallic grey hair (perhaps the side-effect of a previous experiment) and owns a pet monkey.

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Before setting off for the moon Jeff and the Professor relax by driving around Miami and, in a moment of post-modern self-reflexivity (yes, I did indeed just say ‘post-modern self-reflexivity’ in a review of a film called ‘Nude on The Moon’) the pair pass a movie theatre that is showing Doris Wishman’s earlier nudie cutie Hideout in The Sun. The Professor confesses that he went to see the movie already and enthuses that it was “well worth it”.

After the fastest countdown you ever heard the astronauts take off into space pulling half-hearted, comedy G-force faces as they exit the atmosphere. The trip proceeds without episode however the space cadets become inexplicably drowsy as their ship approaches the moon and they both fall asleep at the controls. I guess the movie has been pretty boring so far - 25 minutes in and no-one got nude yet. However audience and astronauts are soon jolted awake when the spacecraft touches down on the surface of la luna.

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Donning matching His & Hers spacesuits Jeff and the Prof disembark from the ship and are stunned to discover that the surface of the moon is covered with freshly mown grass. Trees and flowers grow in abundance and at the edge of a peaceful lake they discover nuggets of gold scattered on the ground. The Professor is trying to persuade Jeff that they could use the gold to finance further expeditions when they stumble across a ladder lent against a high stone wall. Climbing to the top the pair are astonished to discover that beyond lies a lush garden full of naked Moon babes and muscular Moon dudes who communicate telepathically via curly pipe-cleaner antennae!

The Queen of the Moon Nudists surmises that the strange visitors pose no threat to the colony so Jeff and the Professor are allowed to wandered around taking pictures like a couple of tourists. The Professor is fondled by some Moon cuties but 2 of them make fun of his moustache. Much like their human counterparts the Moon nudists enjoy playing ball games; the women in particular are excited by any outdoor activity which causes their breasts to bounce up and down. ‘We’ve got some highly useful data’, says the Prof, having spent some hours ogling the space-babes. With their oxygen supply running low it’s soon time to leave but Jeff refuses to return to Earth; he’s fallen in love with the Queen of the Moon Nudes . . . and she with him!

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Nonsense of the most exquisite variety, I guarantee that this movie will hurt your mind. Such distilled, concentrated camp may simply be too much for all but the most sweet-toothed cult film connoisseur to stomach. Welcome to the wonky world of Doris Wishman.

In this early entry in sexploitation auteur Wishman’s filmography the awkward framing of shots and eccentric editing patterns which are the director’s stylistic signature have yet to fully develop and co-writer/director Raymond Pheelan would appear to deserve equal credit/blame for the film’s rudimentary execution. Considering its terrifically goofy premise the film is perversely mundane in its pacing and presentation (although no more or less than any other nudie movie I could name). Of course, a budget of approximately zero doesn’t inspire great technical experimentation. And I’m guessing that the nudists had to provide their own costumes.

By 1961, when the film was released, the American cycle of nudist camp movies was already sagging at the rear so adding a sci-fi twist to the familiar ‘boobs, bums & volleyball’ formula no doubt appealed as an exploitable gimmick. And ultimately that is all the film set out to be; a piece of gimmicky exploitation, the type of which we will never see again. It’s pointless to dwell on the film’s many technical shortcomings, the simple fact that someone thought to make a movie about a nudist camp on the moon is reason enough for me to celebrate.

Now, where’s my telescope?


Narcan is the GCDb's esteemed UK contributor. As a youth his earliest exploitation film experience was a My Bloody Valentine/The Funhouse midnight double bill. Grindhouse icons that he holds in highest regards are Christina Lindberg and Frank Henelotter. Two of his favorite exploitation genres include Nunsploitation and Lucha Libre.

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