Why did President John F Kennedy challenge our nation to send a man to the moon in his famous 1961 speech? Some say it was scientific exploration, some say it was a matter of beating the Soviets to the punch. The real answer is simple: because the moon is populated by beautiful women! I know, I know, they won’t admit it at the air and space museum but you need only look at our movie today for the evidence. Prepare to blast off with 1953’s Cat-Women of the Moon.
Our story concerns the crew of Moon Rocket 4, which despite its name is the first space mission to the moon. Four men and one woman are on their way to make history. Commander Laird Grainger (Sonny Tufts) is very by-the-book, meanwhile, crew member Walt Walters (Douglas Fowley) is obsessed with getting rich off this historic voyage. The trip starts to turn strange when navigator Helen Salinger (Marie Windsor) is able to find a perfect landing spot on the moon without checking her charts. When the crew dons spacesuits and heads out to explore, she directs them to a cave that is too far away to see, yet she knew it was there.
In the cave the crew discovers breathable air (of course) and giant spiders that attack by flopping on top of our heroes and wiggling their legs. This causes Helen to scream a lot. Not wishing to encounter any more nasty creatures, they decide to head back to the ship, problem is their spacesuits have been swiped. With no other choice, they proceed into the cave and discover a temple filled with hot babes in black catsuits. And by “filled” I mean there are about eight cat-women…none of whom have ever seen a man. It turns out that head cat-chick, Alpha (Carol Brewster) has been psychically leading Helen to their location so they can capture the crew, take over the ship, and head back to earth to conquer it.
Cat-Women of the Moon is about as bargain basement as 50’s sci-fi gets. Take our explorers ship: for takeoff our heroes are strapped into cots and grimace due to the G-force, yet the desk chairs they sit in when they work stay quite stationary despite being on rollers. One of the crew even accidentally gives a swift kick to what must be an important control panel as he unstraps himself but doesn’t seem at all fazed by potentially damaging expensive space stuff.
If you aren’t already on board by this point, we have the epic battle with the giant spiders. These things slowly descend from the roof of the cave, dangling their legs in front of the crew’s faces for what seems an eternity. Yet they don’t notice these Shelob wannabes until they’re literally sitting on their faces! When the four men try to battle the creature it looks like a wrestling match with some sort of furry pasta.
Trust me, this is just the tip of the iceberg. You’re also in store for a clumsy script, wooden acting, a falling meteor that looks like a 4th of July sparkler (“Look out! Meteorite!”), and a trippy little dance number courtesy of the cat-women. I always cracked up at site of the male astronauts passionately kissing the intergalactic hotties in a way that looks like they are inhaling their faces. It’s downright hilarious. Clocking in at a whole hour and three minutes, Cat-Women of the Moon crams a lot of laughs into that short running time…and every single one of them is unintentional.