Mar 7, 2018
Monster A-Go Go (1965) (part 5 of 8)
We cut to a small plane landing at an airport. Some guy gets out and climbs down the wing. Abruptly, we cut to him in a library talking to Connors near a reel-to-reel tape player. The guy is basically a dead ringer for Michael Badalucco, and he asks Connors if this tape brings him up to date. Connors tells him that’s everything, then notes that for “the last eight weeks, nothing has happened”, because whatever came down in the capsule just disappeared. Yes, that’s right. We’ve now jumped ahead eight weeks, just like that. And all of your burning questions about the first half of this movie will never be answered. Where did Carl drop off Manning? Will Manning ever get back together with Ruth? Whatever happened to Jimmy? Why does Ruth like anchovy olives? And who are the Overlords of the UFO? The world may never know.
Anyway, the guy who just arrived on the plane leans back. “Man, I thought this was gonna be a lock up. Thought it was just legwork when Manning turned it over to me.” Connors actually has the New Guy explain to him the meaning of “legwork” before they get down to business. New Guy wants to see Nora AKA “Dr. Kramer”, learning that she’s probably in her lab. For some reason, Connors feels compelled to explain that she used to work with the dead Dr. Logan, but now works with his brother, Conrad. They both then head over to “the lab”. You know, the place where they presumably have about fifty corpses stacked in a corner?
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Anyway, in the lab, Connors introduces New Guy to Nora as “Dr. Brent”. Nora says, “With deepest respect!” and Brent replies, “Glad to know you!” WTF? Who the hell talks like this? Dr. Brent wants to know if they did a “blood count” on Taylor. Taylor, in case you forgot, is the helicopter pilot, but again, it doesn’t really matter. Nora says they did a blood count, but there “wasn’t any blood!” So, then I guess the blood count was zero. Nice work, Nora. She says, “It had all turned to powder, and we think that accounts for the shriveled effect!” You think?
Nora says Taylor was probably on his way back to the helicopter “when it got him.” Dr. Brent doesn’t understand what she means by “it”, and she clarifies: “Whatever it was that came out of the capsule! The monster!” Connors confirms that “we have a radioactive… something-or-other. Ten foot [sic] tall, 400 pounds!” Or something like that. But I guess the title Something-Or-Other A-Go Go wasn’t quite snappy enough.
A nonchalant Dr. Brent seems to be in complete agreement. He says that after they sent the astronaut up, “something changed him, or affected him in the atmosphere”, and he wants to know what. Connors suggests there was “imperfection in the equipment” [?], but Brent shoots that idea down. He insists, “Douglas is back.” And this time, it’s personal. Connors says, “A monster? I don’t know.” I mean, a “radioactive something-or-other” that’s ten feet tall and 400 pounds is one thing, but a monster? Get outta town!
Then we learn that the Radiation Repellant that Frank was taking is actually called “Antidium-51”. Nora says Frank received plenty of injections, “so that he could withstand all kinds of rays!” Dr. Brent wants to see Dr. Logan’s logs of these injections. Nora goes to get it, but is all of a sudden acting really condescending about it. She pulls a slim book out of a drawer and tells Dr. Brent he’ll find it “very correct”.
Dr. Brent looks at, I kid you not, one page in the log, before asking to see Nora’s logs. She returns to the same drawer and pulls out another book. Nora says to Connors in a very loud “whispered” aside: “Sure is thorough!” I mean, why do those pesky investigators have to, you know, investigate? Connors angrily says, “That’s why he’s here!” The military flew this guy all the way out to look at the first page of your log, the least you could do is not loudly whisper insults!
Dr. Brent sees they changed from “Antidium-50 to 51” six months ago and wants to know why. Nora says Dr. Logan thought it would be more effective, but Dr. Brent waxes poetic on the efficacy of Antidium-50. After all, it was “tested on animals for a two year period”, whereas Antidium-51 was only tested on them for six months.
Connors freaks because he wasn’t informed of the change in medication. Then Dr. Brent, Mr. Fact Checker Extraordinaire, notices a discrepancy between the two logs when it comes to the amount of Douglas’ last injection. In response, Nora pretty much says, don’t ask me, I only work here. Connors tries to calm her down by saying, “Security must be upheld!” Yeah, that doesn’t make any sense to me, either.
Then Dr. Brent asks where Dr. Logan is. Of course, they don’t clarify that they mean the brother of Dr. Logan, making it seem like Brent wants to meet with the guy who just died a couple of scenes ago. Nora says he’s in the “commissary”, and we instantly cut to a corner booth at Bob’s Big Boy, where Dr. Brent and Connors are meeting with a bald beatnik type who I assume is Conrad Logan.
Dr. Brent says, “I’m not a sensitive man, I deal in facts. [?]” Not sensitive? Come on, doc, I know there’s a tender side of you just yearning to be free. Dr. Brent tells Dr. Logan he “crosschecked” Logan’s log with Nora’s log. Logan momentarily turns into MC Hammer when he says, “That’s proper!” He adds, “You’re head of the project!” I don’t need any validation from you, you pot-smoking hippie. And actually, now that we’re getting a closer look at him, I’m almost positive Dr. Logan and his brother are being played by the same actor [!]. I mean, this Dr. Logan is balding, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same guy. If there really is a difference of several years between the earlier scenes and this new footage, this could conceivably explain the hair loss.
Anyway, Brent is still harping on the switch from Whatever-50 to Whatever-51. Logan dismisses this by telling him, “They’re almost identical!” Yeah, they have similar names and everything. Dr. Brent incoherently replies, “Well then, why not call it 58?” [??] Wait, what happened to 52 through 57? Did Heinz threaten to sue?
Logan reminds him he said “almost” identical, then tells Brent that 51 “can stand one half times more radiation.” Brent says, “You mean the subject can stand more.” Oh, geez, looks like somebody had a big bowl of Anal Flakes this morning. Brent asks what would happen in the event of an overdose. Logan replies, “An overdose of anything, candy with a child, has a bad effect!” He’s right, you know. I mean, just look at what it did to poor Jimmy. He got too much sugar and now he’s disappeared from the movie.
Brent asks Logan why he doubled Frank’s last injection of Whatever-51. Logan explains he just wanted to give Douglas “more protection”. Next time, slip a Trojan in his pocket. Connors asks if he ever tried a similar overdose on animals. Logan says he did, and gleefully reports that “it absorbed great quantities of radiation!” And of course you always want a “radiation repellant” to “absorb” radiation.
Apparently the animal he tested on was a pig, and after hemming and hawing, Logan casually admits that “It grew twice its normal size. [!]” Hey, I think maybe Dr. Brent just cracked this case! Hm, asking questions, they ought to try that next time right away. But it seems the Dead Dr. Logan “developed an antidote. It worked.” Then half a second later, he adds, “The animal died.” Okay, this is some strange, parallel universe where “worked” means “failed”, “up” means “down”, “orange” means “blue”, and “Herschell Gordon Lewis” means “Francis Ford Coppolla”.
Dr. Logan explains that the pig’s heart couldn’t take the strain of the transformation. Connors asks him about Douglas and Logan answers, “He’s alive out there, somewhere.” Huh? If the pig’s heart couldn’t take the transformation, why would Douglas’? Anyway. In a neck-breaking jump cut, we’re suddenly back in the lab with Nora and Dr. Logan. Logan is acting very shifty, asking Nora if she’s working late. She says she’s just finishing up, then they silently work for half a minute.
They begin discussing Dr. Brent, and Nora admits he “scares me with his exactness”. Yeah, asking questions in a murder investigation. That can be exact. Then they have a foreshadow-y conversation about how it’s been quiet for several weeks now. Nora says, “No death, no monster reports…”
More silence ensues, and Dr. Logan continues to impatiently glance over his shoulder at Nora. I guess he can’t wait for her to leave, so that he can listen to MP3s and surf the web. Dr. Logan notes that Nora is making more “antidote”. I’m assuming he means the antidote to Whatever-51, but all he says is “antidote”. This is followed by more dead silence. Finally, Nora announces she’s packing it in for the night, and we’re treated to a lengthy sequence of her changing from her lab coat into a trenchcoat.
As soon as she’s gone, Conrad Logan gets a cunning look, then takes a cigar box out of his desk drawer. He pulls a syringe out of the box as the Obnoxious Shouting Narrator returns: “Dr. Logan did know where the giant was! In a storeroom, in that very building!” [!!!] Okay, I’m feeling dizzy now.
The Narrator says, “Logan had learned that massive doses of the antidote brought about an almost human appearance! But with such unpredictable side effects that enough tranquilizer to subdue ten ordinary men had to be given each day! This day, it was late!” Damn that Nora, working late!
Okay, let me see if I have all my facts straight. An astronaut is about to be sent up into space, and is given regular doses of “Radiation Repellant” for a while before the launch. For no particular reason, just prior to the launch, the astronaut’s doctor switches to a totally different Radiation Repellant which hasn’t been tested as much. And, naturally, he does this without telling any of his superiors. And, well, the test that they did conduct resulted in an animal doubling in size, right before that animal died. As expected with these kind of results, they not only gave the new repellant to the astronaut, but doubled his dosage.
So, the astronaut’s capsule crashes in an empty field (and don’t think we’ll ever find out the reason behind that). The astronaut, thanks to the untested Repellant, is now freakishly huge and killing random people. Until, that is, one scientist locks him up in a storeroom [!] for eight weeks [!!!] and gives him doses of an antidote. And, again, he does this without telling any of his superiors. So, are we fully appreciating the Bizarro World logic being utilized in this screenplay?
Anyway, we see Dr. Logan filling a syringe as the Narrator says, “Logan knew that each minute might mean a return to violence!” Then, as before, the Narrator starts to tell us all about stuff that’s about to happen while referring to it in the past tense. “As it turned out, he was too late! Like his brother, the scientist had an intuitive knowledge of the situation! Plus, an extraordinarily bad sense of timing!” I don’t know, he’s got so many bad senses about so many different things, it’s really hard to single out just one.
We cut to Logan slowly making his way through corridors, and boy, this has got to be the most poorly lit “Astrophysical Laboratory” in the country. The camera is tilted for no real reason, and Logan is lit from underneath for a supposedly “creepy” effect. And he’s also completely out of focus, which is not such a creepy effect. He goes to unlock a door as “spooky” sound effects are heard. He goes inside, we stare at the door for a few seconds, and then Logan comes out again. You didn’t think that was him going to see the monster, did you? No, actually he just needed to use the john.
Logan returns to find the lab completely trashed. Hilariously, the voiceover informs us that this was the monster’s work, and that all the material needed to create the antidote “vanished with one sweep of the monster’s arm!” Hmm, that might have been this movie’s only watchable scene. Too bad we didn’t get to actually see it. You know, something tells me the H.G. Lewis version of Titanic would have ended with a narrator saying, “And so, the boat sank.”
In a panic, Logan starts opening up random cigar boxes. He then picks up the phone and asks to be connected to “Laboratory D”. When he reaches them, he asks for Dr. Brent. Logan says he’s coming right over, and that it’s “urgent”.
We cut to Laboratory D when Logan shows up, and I swear when he opens the door we can hear dogs barking [!] outside. Quite a laboratory you guys have here. Logan tells Brent that Frank Douglas was just in the building, and, oh, by the way, “I hid him in my radiation lab for weeks!” He says he’s been giving him antidote all this time.
A nonplussed Dr. Brent asks, “Why weren’t we informed?” like he’s talking to his son’s teacher about a bad report card. Logan says it was his “state of shock” or his concern for Douglas’ safety that led him to keep it a secret. Or, perhaps it was his incompetence. My vote is for incompetence.
Brent then casually asks if the antidote worked. “Yes, he became normal,” Logan says, “Except for size!” So, other than being ten feet tall, completely normal, huh? Brent asks again why Logan didn’t tell him about any of this. Logan, given a second chance to come up with a coherent reply, can only spit out, “I could only think of logging what I’d witnessed!” [?]
Brent asks for a third time why Logan didn’t tell anyone. You know, I’m wondering if he thinks Dr. Logan is a Magic Eight Ball, and if he keeps asking the same question and shaking the guy, maybe eventually he’ll say “All signs point to incompetence”. Logan cleans his glasses as he says he was only trying to help. Help who (or what), I don’t know. Brent says that, instead, he may have “jeopardized this whole project!”
Logan suddenly turns defensive. “What the hell do you want from me, Dr. Brent?” he yells. “I don’t have a precision mind like yours!” Yes, and in other breaking news, the Pope is Catholic. “Alright, I made a mistake!” Logan cries. “But the fact is, Frank Douglas is gone with the antidote!”
Brent turns to him, and totally pegs it when he says, “It seems to me you’re one big mistake!” Okay, so he put the emphasis on the wrong word, but I can still appreciate the sentiment. There’s a jump cut where Dr. Logan’s glasses suddenly appear back on his face, and in a rare moment of candor, he tells Brent to “Chalk me up as incompetent!” Doc, consider yourself chalked. For some reason, Dr. Brent actually apologizes [?] for being sort of peeved that Dr. Logan didn’t tell him he was keeping a monster in his lab for two months. Logan accepts this apology, and the two decide they had better tell Connors about Douglas being on the loose.