Moon in Scorpio is a 1987 film starring Britt Ekland, John Phillip Law and William Smith. Law plays the role of Ekland’s husband. Cast as a Vietnam War veteran, Law takes Ekland on a yachting trip where they are joined by two of his friends, also Vietnam veterans, and their wives. During their time at sea, each member of the group is killed, one by one, leaving only Ekland and the apparent killer on board. The film was directed by Gary Graver who specialized in directing low budget movies and was distributed by Trans World Entertainment.
The term “Moon in Scorpio” is an astrological reference that has many different meanings, but generally refers to a person who seeks out emotional intensity and whose life may be characterized by transformation and rebirth.
Ekland plays Linda, who is married to Allen, played by John Phillip Law. Allen is a Vietnam War veteran. Together, they plan to take a trip to Acapulco for their honeymoon on a yacht owned by Burt (William Smith) and his wife, Claire (Jillian Kesner). Joining them are a third couple, Mark (Lewis Van Bergen) and his wife, Isabel (April Wayne). Burt and Mark are also Vietnam War veterans and friends of Allen. Prior to the yacht leaving the harbor, a marina employee is stabbed to death by a mysterious figure in black pajamas.
The couples meet on the boat and set sail. During the voyage, war time flashbacks show the three men committing atrocities during their tour of duty in Vietnam to include the murdering of innocent villagers. The men are clearly troubled by this and tensions on the ship, some of which are sexual, begin to rise. Soon, the boat is vandalized, rendering some of the navigation and communications equipment inoperable. Isabel begins acting erratically and mentions several times that when the “moon is in scorpio”, bad things happen. In a short period of time, Mark, Burt and Claire are gruesomely killed, leaving only Linda, Allen, and Isabel as the survivors. Allen is killed later; as Linda looks for him on the yacht, she surprises Isabel who is in possession of the murder weapon, an odd-shaped grappling hook.
Isabel tries to kill Linda and the two women fight each other. The fight ends when Linda overpowers Isabel and stabs her to death with the grappling hook. The entire story is told via flashbacks, from Linda's point of view, as she is the only survivor. The movie opens with an unseen person escaping from a mental institution and Linda in a hospital being comforted by a doctor. The movie closes with Linda being released from the hospital, after she has narrated her story to the police.
In an on-line documentary, Graver explained the difficulties in making the picture for less than $250,000 and how those difficulties were exacerbated by a two-week filming schedule. Graver, who died in 2006, also explained how the executive producer, Moshe Diamant, continually interfered with the project and significantly altered Robert Aiken’s screenplay. The original story line described how the veterans had burned down a Vietnamese temple dedicated to a “snake goddess” and that years later, a young Vietnamese child came to the United States to exact revenge on the soldiers. Diamant believed the story line was too confusing and instead demanded that Graver make a mad slasher movie, similar to Halloween, but set on a yacht. The result, according to Graver, was some of both, but mostly confusion. Worse, Graver explained, after he went on vacation following the conclusion of the editing, Diamant hired another editor to re-arrange the scenes, creating yet more confusion. Graver claimed that Moon in Scorpio was the only project he ever worked on that made him want to “get into a fistfight”. Although the movie was never released theatrically, Graver claimed it made the producers more than a $1,500,000 profit from video sales and TV and cable showings.