I suppose in the interest of all thing atompunk we should mention Barbarella.
Released in 1968 and starring a young Jane Fonda, Barbarella is… it’s insanely campy, and i mean insanely. It’s very sexually themed but i can’t quite tell if it thinks it’s being liberating about women’s sexuality. I think it DOES think it’s being all liberating, but i ain’t buying what it’s selling. Interestingly, it was directed by Fonda’s then husband French film director husband Roger Vadim.
If you’re at all famirliar with alternative comics of the time, you can’t miss that it has that flavor. Indeed, it is taken from a French comic Barbarella by Jean-Claude Forest.
As you can see, basically a science fiction heroine who is almost always in some state of undress, sexual post even when just hanging around some foreign planet and often times in a sexual liaison, roams the galaxy finding various fantastical villains and exploits to be erotically charged around.
First published in the French magazine V-Magazine in 1962 it soon became a bit of a hit amongst the French and Belgium comics scene. It created a few scandals for it’s sexually charged content (although there was no actually… you know…there were no x rated shtupping scenes explicitely shown). For her creator, the character did in fact embody his idea of the the modern emancipated woman in the era of sexual liberation.
It may be unfair of my to look back on that era with so much judgement, although i do have a hard time getting around the idea that the best way to create a new, emancipated female science fiction icon is to just concentrate on great stores with a great, deeply developed character. Occasionally you can throw some eroticism in, but when all she does is run around half naked, in uber sexual poses, and constantly in and out of sexual situations, all you’ve done is create a two dimensonal, masturbatory icon. But hell, maybe this is modern thinking and back then the guy was doing the best he could.
I’m not against super erotic comics based around sexy people and sex. I’ve read some awesome ones written by both genders. They’re usually quite funny, winking their tongue in cheek self awareness at you as opposed to misguiding earnestness. Hell, some, like like Fairies series… someone remind me the name, just gets flat out CRAZY with fiaries humping every kind of animal under the sun. But honestly, it’s hysterical, and i just don’t get the same annoyance i get with Barbarella.
I digress. (A habit of mine.)
SOOOOO, in 1968 they cast a young Jane Fonda, who ahd already had great success in 1967’s Barefoot in the Park with Robert Redford. (Everyone has seen this right? I mean it’s like this STAPLE play/movie. If you’re involved in theater you HAVE to have seen it. I’m under the impression that everyone who ever so much as goes near a stage is required to see it. it’s pretty damn good. Classic Neil Simon play.)
A year after Barbarella she made They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? which won her an Oscar nomination. In between she made Barbarella. Maybe she was really into it. Maybe it was because her husband was really into it. Who knows? This is all 2 years before she got involved with the opposition to the Vietnam War (1970) and 4 years before the Hanoi Jane stuff which interestingly STILL pisses of people in the armed services today.
The premise of the insane campy film is, and i quote: “In an unspecified future (the video release states it is the year 40,000), Barbarella (Jane Fonda) is assigned by the President of Earth (Claude Dauphin) to retrieve Doctor Durand Durand (Milo O’Shea) from the Tau Ceti region. Durand Durand is the inventor of the Positronic Ray, a weapon. Earth is now a peaceful planet, and weapons are unheard of. Because Tau Ceti is an unknown region of space there is the potential for the weapon to fall into the wrong hands. Donning the first of many outfits, Barbarella sets out to find the missing scientist. She crashes on the 16th planet of Tau Ceti, on an icy plain.”
The rest, is B movie history.
And a scene that is actually kind of cool:
No, i’m not gonna show the stupid Orgasmtron scene. You can YouTube it.
Anyway, there we go! Barbarella. Many like myself would LOOOOOVE to Mystery Science Theater 3000 do Barbarella, i mean it’s MADE for them, but alas it never happened, probably because they couldn’t get the rights.