Review: ‘Vegas in Space’

Futuristic no-budgeter is a showcase for drag sensibilities of the late Doris Fish. Shot on a veritable shoestring in the mid-1980s, film premiered late last year in a San Francisco midnight showcase and has since been making the rounds of various fests. Success of bookings will depend on the depth of a local public interested in supporting a witless film that coasts on outlandish makeup and outfits and cheesy special effects, all designed by Fish.

Futuristic no-budgeter is a showcase for drag sensibilities of the late Doris Fish. Shot on a veritable shoestring in the mid-1980s, film premiered late last year in a San Francisco midnight showcase and has since been making the rounds of various fests. Success of bookings will depend on the depth of a local public interested in supporting a witless film that coasts on outlandish makeup and outfits and cheesy special effects, all designed by Fish.

Story involves members of the USS Intercourse sent to the planet Clitoris to solve a jewel heist. If rare gems are not recovered, then the pleasure planet–where men are forbidden–will be destroyed. Crew (played by both men and women) is all male and undergoes a sex change to fit in on the planet as a touring lounge act.

Plot is merely an excuse for mostly male cast to get decked out in the most outrageous collection of fashions and colors on view since the heyday of the Freed musical unit at MGM. Acting is amateurish, but they give it their all.

Story of pic’s production is much more interesting. It was shot between 1983 and 1985 in starts and stops, in B&W and color, with the script evolving as new money became available. Total budget for opus is reported at $ 65,000.

Director Phillip R. Ford somehow manages to keep it coherent and not a collection of random bits, and Robin Clark’s cinematography brings out full value of the garish sets and costumes. Only the sound betrays low-budget nature of tech credits.

While this will probably never reach widespread cult status, it pleases its intended audience. Many more expensive productions can’t even boast that.

Vegas in Space

Production

A Phillip R. Ford presentation from Fish/Ford Films. Executive producer, Doris Fish. Produced, directed by Ford. Screenplay, Fish, Miss X, Ford.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W), Robin Clark; editors, Ed Jones, Ford; music, Bob Davis; production design, Fish; sound, Todd Ritchie; associate producers, Dalton Bradley Chandler III, Laura Milligan; Reviewed at ICA Theatre, Boston, July 12, 1992 (in Boston Gay/LesbianFilm/Video Festival). Running time: 85 min.

With

Dan Tracy/Tracy Daniels - Doris Fish
Vel Croford/Queen Veneer - Miss X
Empress Nueva Gabor - Ginger Quest
Mike/Sheila - Ramona Fischer
Steve/Debbie - Lori Naslund
Lt. Dick Hunter - Timmy Spence
Princess Angel - "Tippi"
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