Monster A-Go Go (1965)
Written and Directed by Bill Rebane / Herschell Gordan Lewis
Tagline: "An Anstronaut Went Up -- 'Guess What' Came Down!"
Run Time: 69 min
Other titles: "Terror at Halfday"
Welcome to cinematic lunacy.
Welcome to “Monster A-Go Go”.
Wow. Where to start. This film, if it can be called that, is a travesty. A catastrophe of Biblical proportions.
I think a little history is in order before we embark on our journey into this particular crevice in film hell. In the 1960’s, Bill Rebane came up with the idea for a monster / exploitation flick which he initially called “Terror at Halfday”. Taking advantage of the trends of the time, it was to be a quick and cheap “monster” movie. Coincidently, Rebane happened to know the tallest man in the world (at the time), Henry Hite. Bingo! Throw some cheap make-up on him, and you have a “monster”. If you have a monster, then you can make a monster movie. It was a simple as that.
As luck would have it, Rebane ran out of money and the footage that he managed to shoot was shelved. (And the world was probably better for it).
Enter H.G. Lewis, the undisputed Godfather of Gore and Exploitation flicks. He had just completed a film called “Moonshine Mountain” and needed a second movie to distribute along with it (to complete a double-feature). Well, much to the detriment of humanity, he bought the rotting remains of “Terror at Halfday” and added some extra footage (mostly stock footage), and some voice-overs (using his alias “Sheldon Seymour”) to make the movie “complete”.
Upon seeing the final product, “Monster A-Go Go”, Bill Rebane himself called it “…the worst picture ever made.”, so you can see what kind of territory we are going to be getting into in this review.
So, what do you get when you take two writer-directors, two partially-completed movies, atrocious special-effects, and abominable post-processing, weave them together with insane voice-overs, and then at the end of the film, simply say the monster never existed?
You get one of the most incomprehensible, painful, and mind-rotting movie experiences this side of hell.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present: “Monster A-Go Go”.
Well, we begin our journey of pain by seeing somebody in “space boots” stumbling along overlaid on a picture of a galaxy while some sort of go-go music plays in the background (see Classic Lines for lyrics). Not sure which galaxy, certainly not ours. Somebody in a different review of this movie said it was the same galaxy picture used in a different monster movie. I wouldn’t be surprised.
The movie opens with a narration that sets the tone for the whole film:
“What you are about to see may not even be possible within the narrow limits of human understanding.”
I want to warn all elderly, pregnant, or people of weak constitution to stop reading this review immediately. It only gets worse from here. I will not take responsibility for damage to your mental or physical well being.
We see some footage of a helicopter flying over a wooded area while the narrator continues his exposition. Yes, the government sent up a manned ship to investigate “new objects circling the Earth: satellites that no nation had launched.”
We also learn that the communications “suddenly went silent” with the capsule upon reaching its orbit. Well, apparently the capsule crashed because we see Colonel Steve Connors (Phil Morton) standing beside a rather beat-up looking Chevy. (I must admit, this car is pretty far from what I imagined an Army Colonel would be driving). He is leading an investigation to find the capsule, and the astronaut that went up in the capsule, Frank Douglas.
Did I mention we get to see more scenes with the helicopter flying around in the air? Oh yes. We get to see plenty of meaningless footage in this film, just you wait.
He calls “patrol 2” on the radio (which I assume is the helicopter, never really made clear). Patrol 2 replies with a completely incomprehensible response (see Classic Lines) It’s like somebody was talking into microphone while eating a mouthful of hotdogs and pretzels. As a matter of fact, the sound in this entire film is either completely impossible to understand, or else sounds like they are talking in an echo chamber.
Apparently patrol 2 hasn’t found anything, so Connors tells them to “…c’mon home.”
We then get to know that the wooded area is near the “Space Agency Astrophysical Laboratories” (oh brother!) is where observers saw a strange object fall to Earth.
As Connors and his driver begin to backup (to…go’on home, I guess), patrol 2 reports in that he’s found something (very hard to hear it, but I heard that much at least). Patrol 2 is going to land and investigate.
More shots of the helicopter flying around, coming in for a landing, oh God. Let it end. In fact, we’ve seen more of the helicopter than we have of Colonel Connors.
And more footage of the helicopter…more…more…more…there! It landed.
Patrol 2 reports back with more impossible to understand dialog, then hilariously says “…Oh my God! Blargggaarr ralfffff.” You see, I guess this means the monster got him, or else he vomited after seeing the script for this movie.
Hilariously, Connors tries to reach patrol 2 on the radio by saying…”This is Captain Connors calling patrol 2…” He says a completely different rank than the one the narrator said just 2 minutes ago. Argggg!
Well, patrol 2 doesn’t pick up, despite Captain, err, Colonel Connors repeated attempts to raise him on the radio. They decide to take a look (don’t they always?) and drive off in a very non-government looking Chevy:
After driving around, they finally find the capsule. Now, this capsule looks a weeee bit small for a human to have been in, let alone to have brought back the 10-foot monster that terrifies the local residents. I guess it was all the extra cardboard they could find on the set to build this pathetic model.
Connors looks in the capsule and discovers that Frank is missing. (Yawn…excuse me). The two, ahem, Army investigators walk over to take a look at patrol 2’s helicopter standing in the area. Gasp! It’s empty too! What’s going on here? (Please note the “scary” music that sounds like a spastic-monkey banging away on an electric organ)
The helicopter pilot’s body is found (see Classic Lines for a hilarious description). Instead of wasting money on special effects, we are simply treated to the investigators making ‘oooooo….gross!’ type faces.
With a neck-snapping jerk of a scene cut, we see an empty living room as a door bell rings. Why it’s none other than Dr. Nora Kramer and Carl (no last name), come to tell Ruth (June Travis) about her husband’s (boyfriend’s? brother’s? the relationship is never made clear) tragic disappearance. (Don’t worry too much about Carl, he will disappear halfway through the movie: I guess about the time that H.G. Lewis take over the film and starting adding his own stuff)
(Notes from the Future: A restaurant scene shows Ruth stirring her drink, on her hand is a wedding ring. So who the heck is Frank then?)
Anyhoo, Carl asks about “Jimmy” (who?! Note from the Future: Ruth’s son, i.e., Frank’s nephew? Son? Step-son? Don’t worry too much about Jimmy either, you never see him again after this scene) Ruth offers them coffee, and Carl says yes. Ahh, nice, now we get to see them sit in the living room, not saying a word, while Ruth gets a cup of coffee from the kitchen. Great movie.
Ruth somehow deduces that this little visit has something to do with Frank. Carl plays it cool (see Classic Lines). Despite Ruth’s being upset, Carl insists that the “…shot was a success. The capsule did come back.” (!)
Dr. Nora, Ruth, and Carl discussing the “success” of the mission
Out of the blue (like everything in this movie), Ruth says that “…ever since Harry died, Frank has been like a father to Jimmy.” What? Who the hell is Harry? Don’t worry. He is never mentioned in this film again.
Nora comes up with some heartfelt advice by telling Ruth “…just try not to think about it right now.” Gee thanks, I feel better already.
Nora offers to spend the night and Ruth accepts the offer. Mission completed, Carl says he has “…to get back to the lab.” Yep, it’s pretty much like this:
“Hi Ruth, can I have some coffee? By the way, Frank is missing, but the capsule came back, so the shot was a success. Ok, I gotta get back to the lab. Bye.”
While Carl is leaving, Jimmy comes running into the scene looking for more “rocket parts” (?!). He asks when “Uncle Frank” is coming back. Ok, so he is Ruth’s brother. (I’ll give you some advice: Don’t concern yourself too much with who is who in this movie) . Carl tells Jimmy to go back upstairs and later they will have a “nice, big ice-cream soda” and seems to shove Jimmy right out of the scene. Maybe he shoves him too hard because we never see Jimmy again.
With a teeth-shattering blast, the phone rings in the living room. Carl picks it up (gee Carl, make yourself at home…) It turns out that it was Dr. Logan calling to tell him that they found the capsule. Now why the hell would Dr. Logan call Ruth’s house to tell Carl about the capsule? Didn’t Carl say the mission was a success because the capsule came back? Arggg! To make things even more fun, the script has two Dr. Logans (they are brothers!). This movie is not making things easy on me. Don’t worry too much about him, this Dr. Logan will be dead soon…oops! Hope I didn’t give anything away there!
Ruth insists on coming along to see the capsule (Why?). So, Dr. Nora, Carl, and Ruth grab their coats and head out to the landing site. What about Jimmy? It doesn’t matter. At this point he’s been removed from the script.
In case you want to see Jimmy before he disappears from the movie:
The three of them pull up in the same grassy field we saw earlier in the film. Dr. Nora and Carl get out of the car, but when Ruth tries to come with them Carl tells her to stay in the car and “…get some sleep.” (!!). So really, what the heck was the point of letting her come along in the first place? Oh yeah, that’s right. Nothing makes sense in this movie. Never mind.
Nora and Carl meet up with Colonel Edwards and a new character, which we can only assume is Dr. Logan. They are standing around a covered body which Dr. Logan tells them is… “Jim Taylor. The helicopter pilot.” (Ohhhhh….that Jim Taylor).
Just a note to any aspiring film makers out there: Please avoid having the dialog sound like it was recorded in an echo-chamber. Oh yeah, and when you film an outdoor scene, like this one, please don’t record it while a plane is flying overhead, like in this one, so we can’t even hear what the actors are saying. Thank you.
As Carl pulls back the blanket covering the body, Dr. Logan says that he’s never seen anything like it, and that the body is “shriveled up like a dried prune.” Well, I’ve seen a lot of prunes in my time, and I just can’t see how the body in the scene looks shriveled up at all. In fact, it looks like an actor that was paid $5 to lay down for a few minutes while they filmed a scene in a cheap movie.
Anyhoo… Carl mentions something about a burn on the body. We of course don’t get to see the burn, because that would mean the film maker would have had to use money on some sort of special effects. No, no. We wouldn’t want to do that, now would we?
Dr. Logan takes Carl over to a spot in the field in order to show him something else he has found. (Note how the annoying sound of the plane disappears from cut to cut in this scene) Carl notices that they look like “severe burns” in the grass. (As opposed to non-severe grass burns?) Carl quickly dismisses the burns as “…probably some kid’s prank.” Those crazy kids! Always putting severe-burns in the grassy fields.
After deciding to take back the body and the capsule to the “lab”, Nora walks up and asks what they are going to tell Ruth. Carl says that they are of course going to tell her the truth (what? That this movie sucks?). Dr. Logan mysteriously replies, “Can we, Carl?” (!?).
Carl, equally as puzzled as I am, asks Logan what he means. Logan is of the opinion that since they don’t have a body, they shouldn’t tell Ruth anything. (how nice)
With the finesse of a garbage truck backing over a water buffalo, we shift scenes to Dr. Logan’s “lab”. I especially like the way they couldn’t even hang the chalk board on the wall…I guess they didn’t want to waste any money on nails when making the set.
Col. Connors begins talking to Dr. Logan about the body. Once again the dialog sounds like they forgot to take the microphones out of the closet before filming the scene. I can’t really hear too well what they say, but eventually Dr. Logan tells Connors to look into the microscope. (it is a lab, you know, so of course there has to be a microscope)
Connors takes a brief 10th of a second look before saying “Hey…this is human tissue.” Wow! A biologist and a Colonel in the Army! However, he also notices that it’s “different” and he’s “never seen anything quite like it.” We of course don’t get to see it, because that would mean spending money on special effects. (Do you sense a pattern here?)
Logan explains that he took the sample from the helicopter pilot’s body (ewww! Yech!) and that the pilot was “cooked to death in a matter of seconds.” After some more scientific gobbledy-goop dialog (made even more incomprehensible because of the poor sound quality), Colonel Connors looks into a second microscope (wow! A super-lab!) .
Connors realizes that he is looking at tiny scraps of metal under the microscope that “seem normal” (as opposed to abnormal tiny scraps of metal, I guess). Logan points out that there is no radioactivity (what he doesn’t point out is how the hell Connors could have seen that with a microscope!).
Well, now Connor’s can’t use his theory that it was the capsule that killed the pilot, but Logan is quick to point out that the burnt grass (or should I say, the severely burnt grass…) showed that type of burn as on the pilot’s body. Furthermore, since the capsule was not radioactive, Logan comes to the conclusion (after some mind-splittingly idiotic dialog that I will kindly spare you from) that Frank Douglas, the astronaut, not only survived the crash, but is now so radioactive the merest touch of him brings instant death.
Col. Connors finds this hard to believe (join the club!). He argues against Logan’s theory with some dialog that I literally can not hear well enough to understand (let alone make fun of).
Swallowing his pride, Connors slowly begins to go along with Logan, but wants to know where Frank could be…and why he’s now radioactive (since they had given Frank injections of, get this, “radioactivity repellant”…oh brother!)
Logan can’t answer those questions, but mentions that he and his brother (the other Dr. Logan) are working on it. Now we get the pleasure of listening to Dr. Logan rattle of “the facts” (yes…all the while counting off the facts on his fingers…):
1) A capsule came back
2) A man is seared to death by an unknown force
3) We know an excessive amount of radiation came back with the capsule
4) Douglas is missing
If you can put those facts together into something meaningful, then please contact the Nobel prize committee in order to pick up your award for understanding all this crap.
Dr. Logan teaching us how to count
Connors asks if a “Dr. Manning” has been told about this (what? Who?!) Logan says that he would appreciate it if he wasn’t told, at least until the have more answers. So who the hell is Dr. Manning? Why shouldn’t he be told? What is going on here? Oh wait. This is “Monster A-Go Go”. Never mind.
Colonel Connors finally takes leave of Dr. Logan telling him that he can take as much time as he needs, but adding that “…you better pray that nothing else happens!”. (Gee…Relax, take all the time you want, but you better hope nothing happens or I’ll have your ass!...Gosh. Thanks)
We now cut to footage of an airplane that has just landed at an airport. Carl and Colonel Connors are sitting in the back seat of a car. (Dear God! Please put the microphones somewhere, like, in the vicinity of the actors who are talking!) They are excited to finally meet the Dr. Chris Manning, the “Civilian Head” (??) of the project.
Some nameless General introduces Dr. Manning to Carl and Connors. Carl breaks the ice by saying how he has been impressed by some of Manning’s theories and wants to discuss them sometime. (maybe in Monster A-Go Go part 2) The General says that after he heard about what happened to the pilot, he decided to “break security” and pull Manning off of vacation in order to bring him down to meet them. Manning wants to see the body, so off they go in their government Cheverolet. By the way, don’t get too attached to Manning either: In a little while he’ll be disappearing from the movie too.
Carl, meet Dr. Manning. He’ll be disappearing from the movie too!
Oh Yeah! Cut to a scene of some very jiggly girls dancing at a party. Ahh! Here is the “Go Go” part of the film. (Still no monster, but your really not missing anything there. Trust me.)
Ok, thanks for the “Go-Go”…now where is the monster?
We are treated to a good minute or so of dancing, before we zoom into what is obviously the “Bad Boy”. How do we know? Because he is smoking! And Drinking booze!
Well, apparently one of the nerds at the party was dancing with his girl, because he walks over and shoves the nerd away from her. Much to everybody’s disappointment, they leave the party and drive off to make out somewhere.
The young couple pull up and start to make out. (Who wants to guess what happens next? Anybody? Did somebody say “Monster attack”?) Before the action gets started, the narrator comes in with some typically awful monologue (see Classic Lines). Besides confusing me, the narration really only serves to distract me from watching the two kids make out. (Hey, I’m trying to make use of one of the only enjoyable scenes in this movie)
This passionate interlude is interrupted by a dog that begins to bark wildly from off scene. Whether or not this was intended is not clear. Given the overall quality of this film, I wouldn’t be surprised if a dog actually did start barking from somewhere and they just continued to film.
Fore some reason, the girl jumps from the car and we briefly, and I mean, briefly see the monster walking up from behind the car. The girl lets off a couple standard horror-movie screams and the scene ends.
Suddenly, Col. Connors, Dr. Manning, and General Nameless walk up and examine a blanket-covered body. (Who covered the body? There is absolutely nobody else at the scene.) Blah Blah. We are told that the same thing that happened to the helicopter pilot happened to him. We of course don’t get to see anything.
Dr. Manning reaches into the car and pulls out a piece of clothing. We can’t see what it is because the clothing is dark, the scene is at night, and the movie is shot with crappy lighting. It really doesn’t matter to tell you the truth.
We hear a girl moaning from off scene and the three men set off to investigate. In the dark, they manage to find the girl that was in the car. She has somehow run off and fainted in the grass.
Hey! Look what we found!
Dr. Manning, being an “Expert in Everything”, determines that she is OK, but in shock. He hilariously decides to “…get her back to the lab.”(!). Hmmm…I’m not a doctor or anything, but wouldn’t a hospital be a better place to start?
They carry her off and put her into a second car which has mysteriously pulled up next to theirs while they were examining the girl. We don’t know whose car is really is, but hey, who cares? It’s “Monster A-Go Go”!
If you are watching the film at this point, and God help you if you are, you will now notice the absolutely most annoying soundtrack ever conceived by man or demon. It’s like somebody pulled the nerve out of an empty tooth-socket and is plucking it with red-hot tweezers. This is musical Chinese water torture.
Not to mention the dog start madly barking in the background. This reinforces my theory that the dog just happened to be barking while they filmed the scene and they didn’t bother to re-shoot.
The next scene shows Dr. Logan driving down a road through the woods. In a narration which would have made Ed Wood green with envy (see Classic Lines), we learn that Dr. Logan is going to check out the landing sight himself.
Logan pulls up to the landing site, I guess, and takes what looks a police radar gun out of the car. He takes this ‘tool’ with him (what the heck it is supposed to do is left up to the viewer) and begins walking through the woods ‘investigating’.
Now we are punished with scenes of Logan walking through the woods and pastures ‘looking’ for clues. Truly, the only parallel I can think of is the driving scenes in “Manos: The Hands of Fate”. No really, this is what the film makers must have thought was exciting for us to watch:
1) Drives up a road, looking out the window
2) Parks his car
3) Takes out ‘radar gun’ and walks around
4) Walks through grass
5) Stops and looks around
6) Long, slow, pan shot of an empty field
7) Starts walking again
8) Walks behind tree
9) Stops and picks up a stick (!)
10) Examines stick
11) Throws stick on the ground
12) Adjust tool and starts walking again
13) Walks through high weeds
At this point we know the monster is near because we can hear ‘Geiger counter’ noises and an irritating pinging noise. I can only assume the Geiger counter noise was used to remind us that Frank is now radioactive. As far as the pinging noise, I can only assume it was added to further irritate the viewer.
For some reason, Logan turns around and begins to walk backwards (!) so that he can easily walk right into the waiting hands of the monster. Scratch one Dr. Logan. (This makes things easy for us now, because now when I write ‘Dr. Logan’ you know that we are talking about his brother, the other Dr. Logan. Confused yet? Don’t worry. It really doesn’t matter at this point.) Yes, the picture to the left is the monster in the film. Imagine the amount of money used to purchase the peanut butter that was smeared on his face to create this truly ‘terrible’ creature.
By the way, here’s a little experiment for you. Sit and stare at some paint drying, or look at some grass outside your window and try to see it grow. Do this for 2 minutes and 47 seconds. C’mon, I dare you. You see, this is how long it takes for us to see the monster from the time Logan starts driving down the road. This is the amount of time we watch Dr. Logan walk through grass and trees, picking up sticks and adjusting his radar gun before he finally backs into a 10-foot radioactive monster. (that he didn’t see before he turned around !)
After the, ahem, horrible murder of Dr. Logan, we cut to a badly lit scene (no surprise) of Ruth and Dr. Manning having a candle light dinner. (Oh brother!)
By the way, Ruth sure has made a quick recovery from the devastating news of Frank’s death. Oh well, easy come, easy go.
Out of the blue, Manning asks Ruth if she remembers the song being played, even though it is totally silent in the restaurant! I can only guess that somebody forgot to dub in music for the scene. Nice.
Ruth begins to flirt by complimenting Manning on the “dash of gray” in his hair. (A ridiculously fake grey streak, I might add) Manning orders two martinis from a waiter who is not in the scene (I guess it would have cost too much to pay an extra actor $5 to act as a waiter taking a drink order). Oddly, Ruth emphises that she wants “…two anchovy olives.” Hmmm…Ok. You got it lady!
Through some clunky dialog, we discover that Manning and Ruth must have been an item a few years back. However, this fact that was blatantly thrown into our faces is never brought up or explored again.
Ruth, using her “..feminine intuition…” has a bad feeling that the murder of the pilot is somehow related to Frank. (Gasp!)
This touching scene (NOT) is interrupted when the waiter informs Manning that he has a telephone call. Manning excuses himself, and in another pointless time-killing scene, we watch Ruth stir her martini. Note the wedding ring on her hand (!!!). So was Frank her husband? This just confuses things even more, but let’s not waste anymore time here.
Manning returns from his call and tells Ruth there’s been another “strange accident” about a mile from the crash site. He hastily throws down some money and they rush from the restaurant. Once again I ask the question: why is Ruth going with? Has the wife of the missing astronaut somehow become part of the secret investigation? Is this standard policy? Shouldn’t the wife of the helicopter pilot also be allowed to tag along to the murder scenes?
At the scene of Logan’s body, we have what is almost a family reunion: Dr. Nora, Carl, Manning, Connors, Ruth, and General Nameless. (Wow! Word sure travels fast around there) We see a shot of Logan face in an absolutely ridiculous grimace. (You can even see him twitching his face as he tries to hold still for the shot!) Carl notes that he looks worse than the others. If he meant “stupider than the others” then I would agree.
Manning goes to look around the woods a little bit, and by a little bit I mean about 2 seconds before coming back. Gee, we seemed to have filmed another seen with a jet flying overhead, that helps a lot when trying to hear the dialog. Manning tells Colonel Connors (once again referred to as Captain(!!)) to take the body back to the lab (that place is becoming quite a morgue…) and then goes off in for a little pow-wow with Carl.
Carl and Manning try to figure out what brought Logan out here this morning. Let me give you some more advice: Don’t worry about it. Why not? Let me tell you:
1) What they say doesn’t matter to the, ahem, plot
2) Nothing they say is ever mentioned again
3) Carl, Manning, and Ruth are never to be seen in the movie again
You can almost feel the transmission dropping out of this clunker right here. I tend to agree with other reviewers that it appears that this is the end of the footage that Rebane shot. It seems that from here on out is what H. G. Lewis added to make it “complete”…and God knows he didn’t really seem to care too much about what had already happened in the film.
Ok, some more stock footage of a small plane landing. We see a man then get out of the plane (which is now looks like it’s a completely different color!). Who is this man? What is he doing here? Well, we don’t get to know. We simply cut to the next scene. Thanks.
We now see Colonel Connors talking to New Guy. New Guy asks if the tapes that Connors gave him “bring him up to date.” Connors confirms it and adds that “in the last 8 weeks, nothing has happened”.
Whao! What the hell? This is happening eight weeks after the last scene when they were in the forest with Logan’s body? Oh boy. Just wait…things get even worse.
New Guy then says that he thought it would be just “leg work” after Manning turned the case over to him (see Classic Lines). In other words, this is just a plot hole patch since the actor that played Manning wasn’t in the new footage.
Connors takes New Guy to the lab to meet Nora. He is introduced to Nora as Dr. Brent. (gee…thanks scriptwriters! Now I don’t have to type “New Guy” every time) Nora greets him by saying “With deepest respect” (?), to which he replies “Glad to know you” (??).
Anyhoo, pleasantries aside, they now get down to business.
Brent asks about if a blood count (?) was performed on Taylor’s body. (Jim Taylor, the helicopter pilot. The one from the beginning of the first movie. Remember him?) Nora informs him that there was no blood, that in fact it had all turned to powder (!) and that’s what “…accounts for the shriveled effect..” (!)
After several more questions (hey, I thought Connor’s tapes brought him completely up to date!), Connors admits to Brent that they have a “monster” out there that is “…10 feet tall and weighs 400 pounds.” How do they know the monster’s height and weight since the only people that have seen the monster are dead?
Connors and Brent continue to debate whether or not Frank has come back as a monster or not. I’ll do you a favor and skip the whole thing. Eventually Brent asks about “Antidium-51” (should have been called ‘Tedium – 51….tedium, ha ha, get it? Oh never mind). According to Nora, Frank received extra injections so that he could withstand “all kinds of rays.”
Dr. Brent reading a “very correct” log book
Brent wants to see Dr. Logan’s log book to verify this. Nora fetches the logbook and hands it to Brent saying “…you’ll find it very correct.” Ooooohhhh kayyyy. Nothing I hate more than an ‘incorrect’ log book. Brent peruses one of the pages for about 2 seconds before asking to see Nora’s log. She goes and fetches her log book from the same drawer where she got Logan’s book. I guess that must the “log book drawer”.
For some unfathomable reason, Nora hisses “He sure is thorough” to Connors, to which he rightly replies “That’s why he’s here”!” Geez Nora, lighten up! What are you getting so impatient about? Keep up that attitude and I’ll write you straight out of the movie!
After reading Nora’s log book for about, hmmm, 4 seconds, he notices that Nora and Logan switched Frank’s medication from Antidium-50 to Antidium-51 about 6 months before he was launched into space. Connors, irritated that he wasn’t informed of this change, asks Nora why they did it.
Nora tries to shove the blame on Dr. Logan (“…he was sure it would be alright….”). Now, remember this isn’t the Dr. Logan that was killed in the first part of the movie, this is his brother, the other Dr. Logan (good grief!!!). Of course the script never mentions that, we have to find that out at the end of the scene when Brent goes to talk to him.
Oh uh! Now Nora is really busted! Brent also finds out that Dr. Logan’s log says Frank received a 100cc injection while Nora’s log says he received 200cc! Doh!
Brent, fed up with the lack of “security” wants to talk to Dr. Logan. Nora says he’s in the “commissary” (!), to which they all leave the lab, of course not before Nora shoots Brent an evil eye. (What’s with her?!)
Dr. Conrad Logan (the brother of the other (dead) Dr. Logan…)
We now see Dr. Logan, Dr. Brent, and Col. Connors sitting in the, ahem, “commissary” (drinking beer!!). Brent wants to know why he wasn’t informed about the switch from Antidium-50 to Antidium-51. But wait a minute. Brent didn’t assume control of the project until this day. Before that it was Dr. Manning: so of course he wasn’t told! He wasn’t even part of the project. But maybe I should just shut up and get this over with.
An interesting side note: other people have pointed out the fact that the two Dr. Logan’s look very much alike. This can only mean that the directors of this crap used the same actor for playing both brothers! You can decide yourself:
Hmmm…it kinda looks like it, especially the nose….The fact that the two halves of the movie were shot a few years apart could explain the hair loss. What do you think? Sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised…
Equally as sad, the movie continues.
Grilling Logan further, Brent wants to know why Frank was injected with 200cc instead of the “customary” (?) 100cc”. Dodging the bullet, Logan says he “…gave it for added protection. That was my reason.” Good enough.
Not to be outdone, Connors starts in on the interrogation. He asks Logan if he had ever overdosed an animal. Blah Blah….yes he overdosed a pig, but it killed all the other pigs that touched it. (Killer bacon) Oh yeah, and it grew to twice its normal size. Gee, thanks for mentioning that.
Logan gleeful adds that his brother had developed an antidote. (…an antidote to…what?), “…but the animal died.”
Gee…and if the antidote had not worked?....
Thankfully, we fade out from this fascinating exchange of useless information and return to the lab to see Nora and Logan busily at work (doing “lab-type” stuff: looking through microscopes, picking up test tubes, that sort of thing.)
Logan suspiciously asks Nora if she’s working late. Yes, she is, she hasn’t finished “this” up yet. Then with a pause of between 20 and 30 seconds where nobody says anything, Nora finally asks Logan what he thinks of Brent (see Classic Lines)
Nora, continuing her chitter-chatter, notes that it’s been “pretty quite” the last few weeks. I guess this means that nobody has been strangled by a 10-foot, 400-pound, radioactive monster.
Nora, now really irritating Logan, continues talking to nobody in particular…”There’s been no deaths. No monster reports.” (!) Logan turns in his chair and gives her the ‘can’t-you-shut-up-and-let-me-look-through-my-microscope-in-peace!’ look…and I can’t blame him).
Logan notices that she has made another batch of antidote, to which Nora says “It was your brother’s last order.” Gee, he died what, 8 weeks ago. Thanks for really getting right on that order. By the way, the dialog is interrupted by an absolutely ear-splitting ringing noise to which neither Nora or Logan respond at all! This makes me wonder if this sound effect was dubbed in at the wrong spot in the movie. (All together now…’We wouldn’t be surprised’…)
Finished with the order of antidote (that she received 8 weeks ago…) Nora leaves for the night. Logan slyly says that he is going to stay a little later. Hmmm, I wonder if he’s trying to hide something. Ooops! I hope I didn’t give anything away!
A terrible boring scene where Logan takes a syringe out of a box (yes, they managed to make even something as simple as that into something that has to be endured) is broken by some incredible narration:
“Dr. Logan did know where the giant was: in a storeroom in that very building.”
What the…?!!! You mean to tell me that Logan has:
a) Captured the monster (whose very touch brings instant death)
b) Transported it to the lab (10-feet tall and 400 pounds)
c) Kept it in the lab for 8 weeks, without anybody knowing it!!!
My brain hurts.
The narration continues to exposit more wads of information:
“Logan had learned that massive doses of the antidote brought about an almost human appearance.”
Well, it doesn’t matter because we don’t get to see the monster in this “almost human” condition. That would be asking too much.
Now comes another scene of such tedium, such turgid, pointless time wasting, that it is hard to believe. You see, for some reason the script calls for the monster destroying the lab, so we have to get Dr. Logan out of the lab so the monster can destroy it. Hmmmm, how to write that into the script.
Yes! I got it! Have Dr. Logan walk down a dark hall (don’t worry, the camera follows every step he makes), then have him open a door and go into a room. (yes, the camera will stay behind in the hallway, focused on the closed door the whole time he is in there) Finally, have him come out again with no explanation as to what he was doing in there, and have him walk slowly back to the lab to find it destroyed.
This whole scene takes 1 minute 13 seconds. Try the little “sit and watch paint dry” experiment for this long. Yes. This movie can be that boring. Really, what were they thinking?
Logan returns to the lab to find it “destroyed” by the monster. (By destroyed, some papers and beakers are laying on the floor) Oddly enough, the only thing Dr. Logan picks up from the floor is the phone.
This whole incident is a really cheap shot to the viewer. I mean, they couldn’t even show a scene with the monster throwing some stuff around the lab?! I guess that would have, gasp! cost money. Instead, Logan just comes back to find everything ruined. I hate this movie! But to show my true devotion for the readers of this review, I will stick it out and finish it up before casting myself into the sea.
Well, the monster destroyed all the equipment and notes needed to make the antidote longer lasting, or something. Now I guess he will no longer have his “almost human” appearance, and is now on the loose.
Dr. Logan picks up the phone and calls “Laboratory D.” When they finally pick up, he tells Dr. Brent that he is coming over. (Oh boy, I can’t wait…)
Well, Logan rushes over to Lab D and confesses everything to Dr. Brent. (Hilariously, when he opens the door to come in we can hear dogs barking outside…what is with all the barking dogs in this movie?)
Logan tells Brent that he had hidden the monster in one of his “radiation labs” for weeks. (Didn’t the narrator say the monster was in a store room? Oh well, store room, radiation lab, what’s the big difference?)
Understandably, Brent wants to know why he wasn’t informed. Logan tries to weasel out of it by saying he was in a state of shock. Well, convinced of Logan’s good intentions, Brent wants to know if the series of antidote injects did any good. Logan replies “Yes. He became normal. Except for size.” (!!!)
Yep, he was normal….except for the fact that he was 10-feet tall. Otherwise, completely normal. Yep, you betcha.
Brent continues to interrogate Logan about why he wasn’t told about it. (Hmmm, now sitting on a desk, when in the very last scene he was standing) (see Classic Lines) Logan angrily admits that he made a mistake and Brent shouts back “…It seems to me you’re one big mistake!” (So much for professional courtesy!)
Logan admiring Brent’s “precision mind”
Well, tempers cool down and they agree that they have to inform Connors that the monster has escaped.
Cut to an out of focus scene of some girls sun bathing. For some reason some of them are in bikinis and some are sunbathing in their clothes! I also can’t help but notice the bird-whistling that is obviously dubbed-in sound of somebody making bird calls.
We see the monster walking out of some trees towards the sunbathers. (Now there are only 5 women laying on the grass, but in the previous scene I saw at least 8 or 9 laying around. I guess the others didn’t get paid so they decided to leave)
I guess the monster, after 8 weeks locked up in a radiation lab, decides to check out some women in the park.
Well, despite the obnoxious Geiger-counter clicking and pinging sounds, the women don’t see the monster until the director gives them the signal to jump up and scream. How do I know? Notice how they all lift their heads and scream at exactly the same time.
The girls run off and we are treated to a little bit of the monster’s point of view. The camera walks slowly around swinging the camera back and forth, but it sure doesn’t look like we are seeing the park from 10 feet up, which is what the monster would see. Anyhoo….
Now for a truly classic bit that every reviewer of this movie will surely mention: We shift scenes and see a telephone on a desk. From off screen we hear Connors making a telephone noise with his mouth before picking it up. Yes. It is true: They didn’t dub in a telephone ringing, but rather had the actor make a “brrrrruppp” noise before picking up the phone. Incredible!!!!
Colonel Connors: Phone Noise Maker Extraordinaire
We see Connors at a rather spartan looking, ahem, ‘headquarters’. After both making the phone noise and picking it up, we hear some very useful dialog:
Yup. That was the entire dialog for that scene. Lovely.
Shifting scenes yet again, we see Connors talking to Logan back at what I can only assume is Logan’s office. We find out that Washington D.C. has put Connors completely in charge (after more scenes shifting between Connors standing and sitting…oh dear…)
Connors, being the “take charge” guy that he is, demands answers and “fast”! Logan, after being warned not to “mince words” (?), finally explains his theory to Connors: Frank Douglas (the monster) has gotten worse, and is getting progressively worse. Great theory. A lot like this movie, eh?
Wading through some confusing dialog we finally get to the point (see Classic Lines). You see, the monster’s “danger zone” is getting larger and larger. (oh brother!) In fact, Logan thinks that if the monster runs out of antidote he could contaminate “everybody and everything” with 50 miles!
That’s enough for Connors! He decides that the monster has to be destroyed. Yeah! That means the film is almost over. Oh, you wish! Oh, how you wish it were almost over!
Connors orders Logan to call up “...the entire division, civilian forces,…anything available.” (Why the hell he thinks a lab scientist should do this instead of him is not discussed). Connors also tells Logan that he will be with him every minute. (Hey guys…get a room!)
Next we see some Army jeeps driving in the dark, and I mean dark. We can only see their headlights until they pull up under a murky street light. The narrator informs us that “Because this was, after all, an American astronaut [!?], official orders were not to fire.” Who wants to guess what happens next?
We next see (sort of, I mean the following scenes are filmed in near total darkness) a boy trying to run out from his back door. A soldier grabs him and tries to make him go back inside. (Notice how the soldier drops his rifle on the ground when he grabs the boy!) For some reason, the soldier then fires his standard issue starter-pistol in the air a few times (I guess he saw the monster. Who really knows anymore)
Some more soldiers pull up in some jeeps (can’t tell how many, it’s too dark) and start moving into position. (I think) We then hear soldiers shouting and starter-pistols firing. Remember that this scene is filmed in near complete darkness, so the only light we see is the occasional muzzle flash from a pistol. We can’t even hear what the soldiers are saying either. (but we can of course hear a plane flying overhead…where the hell did they film this movie? O’Hare National Airport?)
This is really a great film.
Mercifully, we cut back to headquarters and see Connors holding a phone (for some reason he has the mouthpiece above his nose. He hangs up without saying a word, and makes a concerned face. For all of you who are new to acting..this means that something “bad” has happened.
He tells Logan that the monster got away (“….it was like shooting at a wall” (?))
Project Headquarters (and laundry mat)
Connors asked Logan what they should do next. Logan helpfully replies “I don’t know.” Gee, thanks, doc.
Walking over to the map Connors then says that they have the area surrounded and the monster will be captured within the hour. What? Then why the hell did you bother asking Logan what they should do next?! Then in truly wooden response, Nora says “Yes….but then what?” You have to see it to appreciate it. She must have graduated with honors from the Tor Johnson Acting Academy.
Alas, “Monster A-Go Go” just will not end. We are now forced to see a truly bizarre scene; and that’s saying a lot for this film!
A white convertible is stalled alongside a road. (a dark, empty road of course) A woman sits in the car unsuccessfully trying to start it. She gets out of the car and flags down a truck that just happened to be driving by (how convenient).
The truck driver gets out of the car and grudgingly takes a look under the hood, but only after she says “…Hey! I thought truck drivers were the Gentlemen of the Road!”
After asking her how it came to be stalled, he figures out that it must have run out of gas (..it “sputtered”, she said). Our Gentleman of the Road then walks back to his truck and pulls out a can of gas from the front seat. (!!!)
He starts to fill up her gas tank while she pokes him in the back with her pointy 1960 breasts. I mean, she is all over this guy. He finally tells her to go back and sit in the car because she’s making him “nervous”.
He goes back and fiddles with something under the hood before starting the car for her.
Oh no! We see a brief cut to a pair of “space boots” walking along a road, along with a “pinging” noise. I guess this is supposed to inform us that the monster is on the way. (In film making terminology, this creates “tension”. You probably didn’t notice it here though)
The car starts and she thanks him (“Thank you, sir Lancelot”), all the while making the most blantant “goo-goo gaa-gaa” eyes for this guy. (Why? What the hell is she attracted to in him?)
As he gets out of the car she slips him some money. He refuses to take the money and throws it into her lap (!). Not to give up too easily, she calls him back and gives him a kiss(!!!)
After this rather nauseating event, she drives off and he walks back to his truck.
Please let me know if you can figure out what that was all about. On second thought, don’t. I never want to hear about this movie again.
Back at project headquarters (the cheapest looking headquarters I’ve ever seen), a soldier informs Connors that Frank is now “in the city”. He explains that Frank killed a truck driver (so that’s what the previous scene was about) and took his truck. (!!!)
Of course we don’t get to see the monster attacking the truck driver, that would have cost money
Frank’s presence in the city creates a big problem. You see, “the city” has over 5 million people in it, and according to Nora’s calculations, the monster “danger zone” is now between 20 and 25 feet! I guess that’s a “bad thing”, right?
Connors, apparently coming up with a plan, asks Nora how long it would take her to come up with 3000 cc (!!) of antidote. According to Nora it won’t take long. (I guess she’ll just scoop it out of the antidote barrel back at the lab) Nora and the nameless soldier walk off scene to make the antidote, leaving Logan and Connors to flesh out the rest of the plan alone. Connors also needs an “air gun and a tranquilizer dart” (!). Wow! Great plan! (see Classic Lines) Connors intends on tracking Frank down with Geiger counters and then tranquilizing him. (Didn’t he say earlier that he was to be destroyed?)
Wait a minute…Dr. Logan has a better plan. They can set up Geiger counters around the area where the truck driver’s body was found and then hook them all up to a “centralized oscilloscope” (!) (But I thought that the monster was already in the city…what good is it to surround the area around the truck driver’s body?)
Connors goes along with the new plan, but he first wants to know what Frank’s “radius of danger” will be in an hour. (Is his “radius of danger” different from his “danger zone”?)
Logan rather ambiguously calculates that it will be “…oh…about a hundred feet or more…” Gee, that really narrows it down. Thanks again, doc. So it could be 200 feet, a mile, 10 miles.
Logan comments that it’s “hard to say” exactly what the “radius of danger” will be, so he walks over to a easel with a pad of paper hanging on it. After a few silent seconds showing him writing something, he turns and says “Yes…a hundred feet.” Thanks, that was a really useful scene.
Logan and Connors go over the plan…note goofy model rocket on the table…
Cut to a stock footage scene of a fire truck driving down a dark road. We now have the pleasure of seeing the city being surrounded and the soldiers setting up the Geiger counters. In fact, the next scenes comprise the longest series of utterly useless, boring, repetitive shots imaginable. Here you go, enjoy!
1) Fire trucks driving down street
2) Motorcycle cop driving through intersection
3) Firemen (!) unrolling cable (we get to see a lot of cable in these scenes)
4) Two soldiers unrolling cable
5) A close up of somebody unrolling cable
6) Close ups of Geiger counter sensors
7) More fire trucks driving down a street
8) Two firemen and two soldiers unrolling cable
9) A fire truck driving down a street
10) Fire men jumping out of the truck with, yes, cable
11) Two soldiers looking at an oscilloscope while a fireman stands by with a fire extinguisher (!)
12) Somebody unrolling cable in near total darkness
13) Soldiers looking at a oscilloscope
14) A soldier taking a closer look at the oscilloscope
15) A soldier pushing a button on the oscilloscope
Finally, and I mean, finally, we see a scene with neither cable or oscilloscopes. Somebody in a pair of shiny boots is half-walking half-stumbling down a winding metal staircase.
Well, Logan’s ingenious plan seems to work because the two soldiers watching the “central oscilloscope” start getting a reading. Dr. Logan and Nora and called over to look at, well, whatever it is they are supposed to see. Inexplicably, the soldiers leave the oscilloscope.
Oh, I see why. We are treated to further scenes of people aimlessly walking around. Well, maybe not aimlessly. The two soldiers have a Geiger counter (or a police radar gun, hard to tell which), and are following some sort of radioactive trail which leads to a manhole. The soldiers stop at a manhole, or some sort of opening, and begin discussing what to do. (of course there has to be a boring conversation involved in this)
Connors and Brent put on some sort of rain suit, which I guess is suppose to be radiation proof. Oh, and we get to see every button buttoned and every zipper zipped, if you know what I mean. At the end of this incredibly tedious scene, I guarantee that you will be an expert in putting on anti-radiation suits.
Now comes some more narration, which makes me wonder about my sanity:
“There is one terrifying word in the world of nuclear physics: radiation!”
Well, I would have guessed something like “Accident” or “Meltdown” but what do I know…
A gang of firemen join Connors and Brent at the mouth of the “sewer tunnel”. Using “special equipment never tested under emergency conditions…”, the brave group of men, well, they do something. And you get to see every precious second of it!
OK, what took over a minute and a half of screen time resulted in the firemen opening the sewer tunnel door. I kid you not. I really want to hurl myself in front of a train now.
Connors and Brent walk down into the sewer in their…ahem…”lead-lined suits”.
Deep in the sewers, we see the shadow of the monster on a wall. We of course don’t get to actually see the monster, because that would have required special effects. Oh wait, I take that back. We do get to see the monster walking in the tunnel. Wow! This is really exciting stuff here! For some reason he looks entirely different: the actor is now bald and they haven’t bothered to put on any peanut-butter radiation burns. But who would ever notice this? Is anybody still awake? Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?
Connors and Brent are <sigh> still walking down the tunnel with their tranquilizer gun. (Good grief!)
And now I want you to sit down. I want you to prepare yourself for the single most infamous cinematic betrayal of all time. After all this time spent watching the most boring scenes I have ever had to watch, putting up with idiotic dialog, horrible lighting, out of focus camera work, ever worse sound,….we are given this punch-in-the-kidney narration:
(Really, are you sitting down yet?)
“As if a switch had been turned…as if an eye had been blinked [!?]…as if some phantom force in the universe had made a move eons beyond our comprehension [??]….Suddenly, there was no trail. There was no giant. No monster. No thing called ‘Douglas’ to be followed. There was nothing in the tunnel but the puzzled men of courage, who suddenly found themselves alone with shadows and darkness.”
Please, feel free to read that again. Has it sunk in yet? Do you notice the feelings of rage and betrayal working their way up from your guts and forming a scream in your throat?
Yes, after suffering for 69 long, long, long minutes, we are told that there was no monster.
Connors and Brent, our so called “men of courage”, emerge from the tunnel and take off their plastic hoods. Dr. Logan walks over and hands them a telegram (!) from NASA:
Yup. Frank is actually alive and well. They found him in the North Atlantic. (Alive and well after floating in the ocean for 8 weeks?...). The narrator, damn him to eternal hellfire, begins his final oration:
“…Astronaut Frank Douglas…rescued…alive…well…and of normal size (!!), some eight thousand miles away in a life boat. Nobody knows where he has been or how he was separated from his capsule. Then who, or what, has landed here? Is it here yet? Or has the cosmic switch been pulled? Case in point. (?) The line between science fiction and science fact is microscopically thin. You have witnessed the line being shaved even thinner...
But is the menace with us? Or is the monster gone….”
- Dennis Grisbeck (Jan 2005)
This movie, if it can be called that, is a true betrayal of the movie-viewer contract. I, the viewer, gave this movie 70 minutes of my life (actually more because I’ve seen this movie 3 times now during the course of writing this review). This movie, on the other hand, has stabbed me in the back, kicked me in the groin, you name it.
I can accept the horrible effects, the terrible camera work, even worse sound, but to have the monster just disappear? It was like the director of the second half of the film looked at his watch one day and said, “Whoa! That’s 70 minutes, that’s a wrap!”
Don’t let this review discourage you too much, you should still see it to believe it. I would highly recommend that you see this movie only with the tried-and-true Mystery Science Theater gang. It lessens the pain of viewing this disaster by just a little bit. But just a little….just a little.
Lyrics to opening theme song (credited to a band called “The Other Three”):
Go, you monster, back to space
Patrol 2 responding to Colonel Connors:
Narrator describing the helicopter pilot’s body:
“The helicopter pilot, who discovered the capsule, was dead. Horribly mangled in a way no one had ever seen before.”
Narrator talking about fate (I guess) before the first monster attack:
“What changes the delicate interlocking of fates that determines life or death. A series of ‘ifs’. If the girl had danced with her boyfriend instead of the other boy, and they had stayed later. If the two of them hadn’t parked to kiss and make up. But that is not what happened. And fate, and history, never deal in ‘ifs’”
Narrator explaining what Dr. Logan is doing out at the landing site:
“Dr. Logan, puzzled by the laboratory analysis, made his own exploratory trip back to the landing area. His theory was proved right. And it was proved right so unexpectedly, and so violently, that he never lived to record it.”
Dr. Brent explaining what he thought he would do when Manning turned things over to him:
Dr. Nora Blake asking Dr. Logan about Dr. Brent (a lot’a doctors in this film)
Dr. Brent trying to find out why Dr. Logan didn’t tell him he had the monster in one of his radiation labs for the last eight weeks:
Dr. Logan explaining his theory to Col. Connors regarding Frank’s worsening condition:
Logan and Connors going over the plan to catch the monster in the city:
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