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 of 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 fanservice and the restoration of a reassuring sense of male patriarchy by the end.
What were you expecting — rocket science?
It recieved a 1959 remake titled Missile to the Moon.
Was covered by Rifftrax
Cat-Women of the Moon provides examples of:
- Aliens Speaking English
- 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.
- Déjà Vu: Helen has the strangest feeling that all this has happened before. And worse, it will all happen again.
- Dying Race: Why the cat-women are desperate to Take Over the World. The Moon is running out of oxygen.
- Chekhov's Gun: When they first go exploring on the Moon, Kip takes along a firearm, and Helen takes cigarettes and matches, even though there's no logical reason to do so. Both come in useful.
- Establishing Character Moment:
- Kip is the first on deck, checks on the well-being of his captain and rouses the others on his orders, making a point of helping Helen unstrap from her hammock.
- Helen does her hair and relies on women's intuition instead of checking her instruments.
- Captain Laird barks at the others to check their instruments instead of taking a moment to answer the desperate calls from White Sands, so the people back on Earth will know they're not dead. When he does answer, he just gives a status report and only reluctantly allows the others to say a few words to their expectant audience.
- Walt jokes of the money he'll collect from a Side Bet.
- Doug marvels at the fact that they finally made it into Outer Space.
- Exact Time to Failure: There's a nitric acid leak in the engine room, so Kip gets into a Hazmat Suit to fix it, despite being told that it will only last a minute flat. (Kip: "I'll just be fifty-nine seconds...I hope!") The crew are even shown looking at their watches during this scene.
- Fanservice Extras: The Hollywood Cover Girls (whoever they are) play the (non-speaking) cat-women.
- Fauxlosophic Narration: The Opening Monologue, but at least they cut straight to the action.Narrator: The eternal wonders of space and time. The far away dreams and mysteries of other worlds. Other life. The stars. The planets. Man has been face to face with them for centuries, yet is barely able to penetrate their unknown secrets. Sometime, someday, the barrier will be pierced. Why must we wait? Why not... now?Smash Cut to rocketship blasting into space!
- Fishbowl Helmet: Worn by the crew, though with a flat face-piece for an undistorted view.
- 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.
- Gold Fever: As usual, the moon has plenty of gold. Helium 3, what's that?
- Gratuitous Greek: Alpha and her Co-Dragons, Beta and Lambda.
- Human Aliens: They're not even green!
- Hazmat Suit: Kip dons a hooded suit to fix a coolant leak, after the obligatory meteor shower damages their nuclear-powered Retro Rocket. Shouldn't the engineer be doing that?
- I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Averted; the cat-women decided to use Helen for their schemes because they have no control over men.
- 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.
- The Lancer: Kip, who is more informal compared to the by-the-book Laird, and doesn't hesitate to voice his suspicions about Helen or take action on his own behalf whenever he thinks it's necessary.
- Let's Split Up, Gang!:
- Even though they've just been attacked by Giant Spiders that dropped from the roof of the cave, the men walk off in two different directions, leaving an exhausted Helen alone. A cat-woman sneaks up and puts a mind-controlling disc on her.
- Averted when Helen is abducted by the cat-women. Kip points out they only have one gun, so it makes more sense to stick together and wait to see if 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.
- Lunarians: Somehow a society of women who match contemporary Earth standards of beauty has arisen on the Moon.
- Mind Control: Weak-Willed Helen
- Must Have Nicotine: Helen insists on bringing cigarettes even though she can't smoke them in a spacesuit. They just happen to come in handy for demonstrating the dangers of the Light Side, or testing if there is oxygen.
- Neutral Female: Helen stands by as Doug is attacked; justified as she is being mind-controlled.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The poster above has snarling, clawed cat-women who don't appear in the movie.
- Non-Indicative Name: Warning — this movie does not contain Catgirls.
- No Seatbelts: Averted; when the crew have to put their Retro Rocket in a spin to dislodge a Flaming Meteor that's become lodged in their tail section, they buckle up the seatbelts on their swivel chairs... Swivel chairs?
- Not Herself: Helen whenever she's channeling the Alpha. She either speaks in a Creepy Monotone or gets a lot more assertive.
- Permission to Speak Freely: Kip voices his increasing suspicions when Helen leads them to a cave into the interior.Kip: I wonder if the commander would permit an observation?
Laird: Ah come on Kip, we don't have to get that formal.
Kip: Well I only wanted to point out, that from the angle the ship entered the crater, it would have been impossible for Miss Salanger to see that cave.
- 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! In that case, why was Captain Laird surprised that Helen chose a landing site on the Dark Side?
- Properly Paranoid: Kip insists on taking a revolver with him, even though they have no reason to believe there is anything or anyone living on the Moon. It comes in handy defending them against cat-women and giant spider-puppets.
- Reentry Scare: Inverted as the movie opens with White Sands Missile Base desperately calling the crew of Moon Rocket 4 because they've blacked out from the terrible G-forces of takeoff.
- Retro Rocket: Moon Rocket 4
- Sinister Silhouettes: Difficult to achieve when the subject is a woman with a Beehive Hairdo. Except for the Hand of Death when Walt gets killed.
- Space Is ColdLaird: 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". Despite this temporary insanity he's not concerned when she picks a landing ground on the unsurveyed dark side of the Moon.
- Stock Footage: The 1949 film taken from an A4 rocket launched into the upper atmosphere is played in a constant loop for the takeoff scene. However a model is used for Moon Rocket 4 instead of the usual V2 launch footage.
- Take Our Word for It: At least Missile to the Moon has 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!"
- Take Over the World: Alpha's evil plan.
- Telepathic SpacewomenAlpha: We need no language. We can project our thoughts long distances.
- Trip to the Moon Plot: We choose to go to the Moon not because it is easy, but because it's full of hot babes!
- Vanity Is Feminine: The first thing that Helen does on getting out of the acceleration couch is open a wooden desk drawer, take out a comb and mirror and start doing her hair. Walt apparently made a Side Bet that she would.
- 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?