Two Moon Junction (1988) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I've mentioned this film quite often because it, like Wild Things and Sirens, meets my vision of a good junk film for men. Women like to read their romance novels, and this type of movie is the equivalent for us guys. Fundamentally, it's a softcore sex film gussied up as a Southern Gothic erotic potboiler like The Long Hot Summer or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Women's skirts ride up as they ride on carousel horses. Sweaty, shirtless, guys erect carnival tents, their muscles glistening. People have secret trysts on steamy summer nights. Adults exchange glances at the picnic, behind the backs of their spouses. Teens steal a kiss behind the mansion. The bad girl skinny-dips in the pond. The poor boy and the rich girl fall in love against her father's wishes. Evil patriarchs and matriarchs sip lemonade and mint juleps on the veranda.

Whatever the hell a veranda is.

Two Moon Junction is just the usual 1950s Southern Gothic stuff, except that it's in color, the dialogue is a little raunchier, and it has beautiful nudity to enhance the intrinsic lurid appeal of the genre. The director was Zalman King, the guy who did Red Shoe Diaries. I'm willing to bet that many of you have watched episodes of Red Shoe Diaries in complete frustration. I know I have. I want to take the director, hold him down and tell him not to move that friggin' camera again until I see the star's complete breast. Then I want to tell him to move the camera much more slowly and pull back a bit because a nipple close-up is only sexy if it is in context - follow it with a nipple and a face together. Then I want to stand in the editing room and tell that editing dude that 60-90 cuts should be plenty in a 22 minute film, and that 400 cuts is just a bit excessive.

When you get this frustrated feeling, sit down and watch director Zalman King's earlier work. Two Moon Junction is an excellent example of how soft-core erotica should be made. It is not meant to be a work of art, by any means. It is a completely commercial venture, but it has a stylish, artistic way of presenting the erotic elements of the story without resorting to gimmicky close-ups, swirling camera movement, or quick edits. Zalman King knows how to use the steamy music and dreamy visuals to augment the atmosphere and maximize the eroticism of his sex scenes, and in this particular film he delivered the steak as well as the sizzle. I have written that Radley Metzger is probably the world's classiest and most intelligent pornographer, but ol' Zalman could have been a contender, if he hadn't become an MTV wannabe.

Of course, the plot is only an episode of Red Shoe Diaries padded out to 90 minutes, and the characterization is really just caricature, but I did  love some of the casting choices:

  • Ancient Burl Ives appears, not as the patriarch this time, but in the role of the "you in a heap a trouble" southern sheriff, complete with the sunglasses. Let's face it, if you're going to do a steamy Southern Gothic in 1988 and Burl Ives is still alive, you just have to have him in the cast!
  • Burl's usual Southern Gothic role, the scheming head of the rich family, was played by Big Nurse this time.
  • Milla Jovovich was also in the film. She was a cute little kid, if you're interested to see what she looked like then.
  • Kristy McNichol is in it as well. You may remember her as the kid sister "Buddy" on the TV series "Family." She does a good job as the booze-swillin', tough-talkin', nipple-paintin', 92-wheeler-drivin' floozie who represents the other side of the Southern caricature, in contrast to Sherilyn Fenn's rich plantation-ownin' pampered princess.
  • Tattoo from Fantasy Island even managed a brief appearance, as a traveling Shakespearian actor. His tiny blackfaced Othello will bring a tear to your eye. OK, maybe I made up that part about Shakespeare, but ol' Tattoo is in the film, doing whatever the hell a guy can do when he's three feet tall and speaks with a squeaky French accent.

The dialogue is not just high camp, but celestial camp. Some quotes:

The Carnival Hunk says to the Southern Gal: "I ain't got nothing but a bike, a truck, and a post office box in Clearwater, Florida."

The Southern Gal says angrily to the Carnival Hunk: "You hollow, manipulative piece of shit ... everything you are is between your legs!"

Since Two Moon Junction miraculously managed to wrangle a brief theatrical run, several major print reviewers covered it, including Roger Ebert, The New York Times, and the Washington Post. Unsurprisingly, they didn't care for it. They huffed that it was just a Skinemax film which did not deserve a theatrical run, and that the dumb script consisted of nothing but clichés. Fair enough. No argument from me on those points. I can see that it's dumb, but I still like it, for two reasons: (1) the dumb stuff is not boring; (2) the film is sexy. In my opinion, Two Moon Junction is a truly entertaining movie simply because it is one of the sexiest films in history. It accomplished that with nothing more than a simple formula. Zalman got a serviceable high camp script, hired a beautiful woman, placed her in front of artistic backdrops, got her to remove her clothes completely in good light, let us have a good look at her beautiful body, photographed her well, and accompanied his photography with sexy music. 



  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1, plus a full screen version. Image quality is not that good. It's filled with shimmer.

  • no meaningful features



  • Full frontal nudity from Sherilyn Fenn

  • Kristy McNichol shows her breasts.

The Critics Vote

  • Ebert 2/4

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDB readers say 4.1 of 10
  • with their dollars ... virtually nil - $1.5 million
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. Viewed as a serious film, it is not good at all. It never rises above the level of caricature, as the critics noted. Forget that. Viewed as a delightful 90 minutes of mindless high camp and erotic stimulation, it is one of the best.

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