I rescued Amazon women on the moon

"Well, what is this one called Amazon Women on the Moon?" said my wife. "Have you any reason for keeping this?"

We were having one of our regular tactical talks about keeping videos. My tactics are clear. Record anything that looks halfway interesting and watch it later, in old age if need be. This occasionally pays off. When The Young Ones with Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson first appeared on TV, I taped them for my two sub-teenagers. Now, a dozen years later, those two are grown-up but my nine-year-old son (who was not even born then) has rediscovered the very same Young Ones tapes in the cellar and thinks they are wonderful.

My wife's tactics are equally clear. If you haven't watched it within two days, wipe it. Either way, can't we get rid of some of those videos cluttering up the place?

"Like which ones?"

"Well, what is this thing called Amazon Women on the Moon?" said my wife, picking up a video at random. "Have you any reason for keeping this?"

I couldn't even remember having taped it. I had a vague idea that it was one of those spoof science fiction movies which tend to have names like The Invasion of the Giant Tomatoes and which are never quite as funny as you hope, but I didn't know. All I knew was that I must have thought it looked worth recording at the time.

"It's meant to be a great underground cult classic", I lied fluently. "But I haven't had a chance to watch it yet."

"You never will."

"I will one day."

"Wipe it now!"

We came to a compromise. I would look it up in the TV film guide and if they gave it the thumbs down I would wipe it. So I looked it up in three different film guides, and they all said it was a hopeless mishmash of a film. It looked doomed.

You may wonder why I should have three different TV film guides on the premises. Well, I actually have four, but the fourth has gone missing. I think it is under that pile of videos over there.

There is a good reason for this. Over the years I have noticed that TV film guides often clash violently with each other. You quite often find a film being praised extravagantly in one guide, and torn to bits in another. It has always been my intention to collect some of these inconsistencies and disagreements and use them to build a light-hearted article from, though I have never got round to it.

The Time Out Film Guide, for instance, tends to give experimental or avant-garde films the benefit of the doubt while Halliwell's Guide (9th edition) is more robustly no-nonsense. The Virgin Film Guide is somewhere between the two but often gives fascinating background information about the making of the film which the other two don't bother with. They all pay lip service to "great" but difficult films such as Last Year at Marienbad, but even Time Out confesses its bafflement: "Obscure, oneiric, it's either a masterpiece or complete twaddle ..." I had to look oneiric up. Means dreamlike, apparently.

And there are some surprising omissions. Time Out is the only one to list Sven Klangs Combo a lovely and funny 1976 Swedish film about jazz. Sticking to films beginning with "Sv-", Halliwell has no Sven Klang but does list two versions of Svengali. Virgin lists no films beginning with "Sv-" at all. Hmmm ...

But they all unite in dismissing Amazon Women on the Moon. Virgin did not even deign to mention it. Good sci-fi parody, says Halliwell, but most of the film is silly and weak. "Formless compendium of sketches," says Time Out, "patchy in the extreme."

Despite everything, I thought I would sneak a look at it before wiping it. Much to my surprise, I thought it was hilarious. The low-budget sci- fi parody that runs through it is quite funny, but some of the sketches are wonderful. For instance, there is a running gag about a black singer who can only tackle sentimental rubbish, and every time he appears, we cut to BB King himself, the great blues guitarist, who looks straight at us and says: "Did you know that one in five black people in America are born without 'soul'? That's right - one in five! We must help these people, so please send your money to 'Blacks Without Soul', PO Box 1100, Atlanta, Georgia ..."

Of course, it may be that I am wrong and all the film guides are right, but on the other hand I was brave enough to show the tape to my wife, and she roared with laughter at most of it, and so now Amazon Women on the Moon is safe for posterity.

Unlike all the other videos.

"What's this one?" she said this morning, waving a VHS cassette at me. "Alastair Sim Double Bill. What's that?"

"Two Alastair Sim films," I said. "Classics."

"Which ones?"

"I can't remember."

Here we go again.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable