|The Cast of
|Frank Douglas (Henry Hite). A tall, gangly astronaut
transformed by radiation into a tall, gangly, oatmeal-faced monster who, for
no particular reason, murders every human being he sees that's too slow to outrun him.|
|Dr. Logan #1. The scientist who initially investigates some
peculiar deaths in the area. Unfortunately, he kindly places his neck directly between the monster's hands
and becomes one of Frank Douglas' very first victims.|
|Col. Steve Connors (Phil Morton). The military man
trying to locate and stop Frank Douglas. He eventually comes up with a plan
that involves lots of cable, Geiger counters, and a oscilloscope, and lucky viewers get to see every last moment
of this plan being implemented.|
|Carl. One of the scientists at the
"Space Agency Astrophysical Laboratories". I'm not sure what he does, but he definitely likes
to be right there whenever one of Douglas' victims is discovered. Being that he's pretty much
useless, he abruptly disappears about halfway through the movie.|
|Dr. Nora Kramer. Another scientist at the
Astrophysical Laboratories. Her sole responsibility is to whip up the antidote
to Douglas' condition. And by "antidote", I mean a serum that causes him to mutate and
become even more deadly.|
|Ruth (June Travis). Sister or wife or girlfriend or
something to Frank Douglas. Terribly worried about Frank, and worries a lot about him in her
worrisome way until she, too, disappears about halfway through the film.|
|Dr. Chris Manning. Supposedly the "civilian head of the
project", but he really doesn't do anything different from the other scientists. After an investigation
that consists solely of poking around some trees with a flashlight, he also disappears halfway through the film.|
|Dr. Brent. Takes over for
Dr. Manning, doing whatever the hell it was that Dr. Manning was supposedly doing. However, Dr. Brent takes a different
tack. In an investigation of bizarre deaths, this guy has the
moxie to ask people questions!|
|Dr. Logan #2. The brother of the first Dr. Logan. Further proof that
scientists are very lonely men. He takes a shining to Douglas, locks him in a closet, and spends two months desperately
trying to make the monster love him.|
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Well, here I am. Hitting bottom. Again.
After more than a year of running a bad movie site,
I'm no longer in a position to accurately state how bad movies rank in comparison to
each other. To be blunt, repeated viewings of Moment by Moment,
Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, and the
oeuvre of Tony Malanowski have completely warped my
sense of what's quality and what isn't. And yet, there's still no denying that Monster A-Go Go is one of the
very worst films ever made.
This movie barely exists, with the most eventful
moments being when you put the disc in your DVD player and push "play". (And then, ten minutes later,
when you push "eject" and immediately ship it back for a refund.) In that respect, the film is a lot
like another Agony Booth subject, the crushingly awful Red Zone Cuba.
I have no idea which is the worse film, but forced to decide between the two, I
will always choose to watch Monster A-Go Go. Why? It's twenty minutes shorter. And that, sadly, is
the only positive thing I can say about this movie.
This is a film that's
dull from the very first frame, and somehow grows even more tedious and more insignificant as it slowly
lumbers towards its conclusion. Halfway through, personality-less characters disappear, only
to be replaced by actors that manage to be even harder to
distinguish from one another; The script is a patchwork of lifeless scenes that have very little to
do with each other; And by the time Monster A-Go Go gets close to its ending (or, to put it
more accurately, the point where the film runs out), you're not even sure if you're still watching a
movie, instead of the result of someone pointing a camera in a random direction just to see what it
happens to pick up. And the movie, it would seem, will actually agree with you, as a
voiceover narration is used in the final moments to deliver one of the most pathetic non-endings in motion picture history.
Monster A-Go Go originally began life as
Terror at Half Day, a sci-fi horror flick on the bottom rung of the cinematic evolutionary ladder
that was initially begun by infamous Z-grade director Bill Rebane. The title
Terror at Half Day remains something of a mystery, since none of this movie actually seems to
take place in Half Day.
(Random Trivia Note: Half Day, for those like me who don't spend
much time in the Midwest, is actually the name of a small town near Chicago, and the apocryphal
explanation for the name is that in the days of old, it took a "half day" to reach it by
stagecoach from Chicago. Which is a trip that I assume was far more exciting than watching this movie.)
Regardless, Rebane began the film in 1961, but unfortunately ran out of
money before it could be finished. The footage sat around for several years, but before it could
mercifully rot away, it was purchased by one of Rebane's acquaintances, fellow B-movie
director Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Lewis is a legendary figure, famous for
singlehandedly inventing the gore genre with films like Blood Feast,
Two Thousand Maniacs! and
Wizard of Gore. He bought Terror at Half Day from Rebane in order to finish it, but his
contribution to the film varies depending on the source. Some say that all Lewis did was edit the
incomplete footage together and add a voiceover narration (which seems likely, considering he gave himself
a credit for "Additional Dialogue" under his pseudonym of "Sheldon Seymour"). Other sources
claim that he actually filmed new scenes with totally different actors. No matter what his
involvement, Lewis' motivation in buying the footage from Rebane was quite simple. As Lewis himself later told
H.G. Lewis: There wasn't much of a movie, no climax or anything, so I turned it into a parody called
Monster A-Go Go and used it as a second half with Moonshine Mountain. In that period, if you
didn't have a second feature, the distributor would throw in another second feature and claim to
each producer that that picture was the second half, then pay $25 flat instead of a percentage. I
wanted to make sure that I controlled the play, so I always had two pictures coming out
So, there you have it. This movie exists for one reason, and one reason alone: Money.
And sadly, not very much money, even in 1960's dollars.
(I'll leave it to readers to decide whether or not this movie really qualifies as a
"parody" like Lewis claims it is. The only notable "evidence" for this is on the movie's poster,
which declares, "The picture that comes complete with a 10-foot-tall monster to give
you the wim-wams!" I'm not exactly sure what "wim-wams" are, but if it's something that makes
you run to the bathroom repeatedly during the movie, then Monster A-Go Go definitely gave
me a case of them.)
Once he saw the finished product, Bill Rebane was utterly disgusted.
(Though I have to admit that calling this movie a "finished product" is something of a stretch.)
To this day, he insists that Monster A-Go Go is "the worst picture in
the world", and, I admit, he might not be too far off. But considering Rebane later went on to direct
movies like The Giant Spider Invasion and Invasion from [the] Inner Earth, which,
presumably, turned out exactly the way he wanted them to, I'm not sure how much right he has to
The film begins with some muffled go-go music, and along with just
one other brief scene, this is all the justification there was for putting "go-go" in the title of the
movie. Actually, there's even less justification for putting "monster" in the title, but I'm getting
ahead of myself here.
So as the music plays, we see a black and white photograph of a galaxy, and
I'm not sure which galaxy this is, but the exact same photo would later pop up behind the credits of
The Giant Spider Invasion. We see a couple of legs in silver boots superimposed over the picture,
trampling all over the galaxy. As expected, it's a piss-poor A*P*E-level
superimposition with parts of the galaxy bleeding through the legs.
Geez, at least wipe your feet before you walk all over my galaxy.
So, anyway, these boots were made for
walking, and as the legs stagger and the feet drag, we notice that the figure
is dressed in an "anti-radiation suit" like the kind worn by Prof. Erling and Bob Hedges
at the end of Terror from the Year 5000. I wonder what store they all shop at. Anyway, we see the
title of the movie, and it's spelled out in the same high-class "horror" font last seen on boxes of
The legs fade out and the singing begins, and it's obvious this theme song
wants to be a bad knock-off of Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)", but unfortunately
the band is made up of double amputees playing their instruments with their feet. Or at least, that's
what it sounds like to me. But I'm sure these guys eventually got a nice gig playing each and every night (along with
opening acts Off
the Wall and Ray Gregory and the Melmen) at the lounge of the Econo-Lodge in Hell.
According to the credits, this band is called "The Other Three". Wait, is this Genesis after
Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett quit the group? Anyway, here are the lyrics:
Go, you monster, back to space
I don't like your haunted face
Go, you monster, go
Go, you monster, go now
Go, you monster, go!
You may come from beyond the moon
But to me, you're just a goon
Go, you monster, go
Go, you monster, go!
The music ends with a crashing thud, and we immediately cut to a
helicopter circling over some trees. A disembodied voice begins explaining what's going on, because
without a doubt, what this movie really needed was an Obnoxious Shouting Narrator to help
make things even more confusing.
Obnoxious Shouting Narrator says, "What you are about to see may not
even be possible within the narrow limits of human understanding!" Well, at least he's being
honest. "Case in point: A space capsule is rocketed into orbit, on schedule. Its mission: To observe
new objects circling the earth!" I guess all that "seeking out new life and new civilizations" stuff
fell victim to budget cuts.
"Satellites," the Narrator says, "Which no nation had launched!" The
narration is sounding very Twilight Zone-ish here, so I guess this was meant to be a Rod
Serling parody. Yeah, that's it. "Parody". Anyway, at this point we cut to a car parked in the
woods, and inside are two military guys in full dress uniform. Oddly, the car is an ordinary Buick
[?]. The first military guy gets out and looks up at the sky.
The Narrator explains, "As the capsule reached its orbit, communications
with it suddenly went silent!" Then we go back to the helicopter, which is still circling around. The
Narrator says, "Several days passed. A search team headed by Colonel Steve Connors began an
intensive search of the entire area!" Uh, which area, exactly? If the thing was in orbit when they
lost contact, where would you start looking for it?
We cut back to the military guy, who I'm now going
to assume is Col. Steve Connors, as he's handed a CB radio.
Connors speaks to "Patrol Two" while his voice gets distant and
reverberating. Patrol Two responds, and their reply is even more incomprehensible. It's like little
Debbie from "Manos" The Hands of Fate, only speaking to us from behind a six foot wall of
Connors tells Patrol Two to "come on home", prompting the Narrator to barge in
again to say, "In a wooded area not far from the Space Agency Astrophysical
Laboratories in Chicago [??], observers had reported that a strange object had fallen to earth!" Ah,
the good old reliable "Wooded Area", the site of many a no-budget B-movie. We see the helicopter, presumably
Patrol Two, swoop down to prepare for a landing. Then we cut back to Connors as he gets in the
Buick, and the other military guy starts the car and pulls off in reverse [?]. Making this even
weirder is how the guy doesn't even bother to look behind him [!] before hitting the gas.
However, he suddenly stops when Connors gets another call on the CB. Patrol Two says
something, but given the audio quality, my best guess is that the pilot has "spotted something!" Connors then
turns to the other military guy and says, "They may have found something!" Gee, it's almost as if
the other guy weren't sitting two feet away and able to hear every word. (Also, the use of "they" in this
context is puzzling, because as we'll soon see, there's just one guy in the helicopter.)
We cut back to the helicopter, and the narrator asks, "Was it the space
capsule?" No, I think the helicopter just happened upon a freeway chase and is now covering it
for the local Fox affiliate. There's a long, long pause as the helicopter again swoops down towards
the ground. We go back to Connors again on his radio, now referring to Patrol Two as "Jim".
Connors wants to know "how it looks" and Jim replies that "it looks like this it!"
Jim then shoves his radio into his mouth, or at least that's what it sounds
like, as the rest of his lines are completely garbled. We then get to watch in its entirety as the
helicopter sets down in a field. This is a helicopter landing, alright. Yep, I can definitely certify
that this is a helicopter landing. No need to call the Helicopter Landing Certification Authority on this one, no sir.
We go back to the military guys just sitting in their Buick, until finally Jim
radios them again. He squawks for a while in what must be Esperanto, before suddenly crying
out, "Oh my God!" It's full of stars! Then he makes a heaving noise like he just drank a carton of
milk that was two years past its expiration date. Which I assume is also more exciting than
watching this movie.
The conversation is cut off and Connors tries unsuccessfully to get back in
touch with Jim. The other military guy casually asks, "What happened?" Okay, so I guess he
can't hear radio conversations going on two feet away from him, after all. Connors
tells the other guy it "sounded like he was in trouble!" In trouble of pissing himself, that is.
After half a minute of silence, Connors suggests they go over and
investigate. Yes, that sounds like a good idea. Let's do that. This time when they pull off, however,
they're going forward. So did the other guy finally figure out what "PRNDL" stands for, or what?