Sunday, April 11, 2010

MONSTER A GO-GO: Attack of The Crusty Faced Spaceman

By Steve Stones

I have sat through many awful films in my lifetime, but this one
definitely takes the cake. Monster A Go-Go began production in the early
1960s by director Bill Rebane, who brought us The Giant Spider Invasion,
then was passed on to Herschell “Godfather of Gore” Lewis in the
mid-60s. The original title was: Terror At Half Day. Half Day refers to
a town in Illinois. Lewis purchased the film, added filler footage and
came up with the idea to release it on a double-bill with his hillbilly
epic Moonshine Mountain. Lewis’ screen credit appears as Sheldon S.
Seymour, a pseudonym he frequently used to give the impression that he
was not the one doing most of the work on his films.

An astronaut goes up into space and crashes back to earth. A crusty face
giant standing over eight feet tall emerges from a cardboard painted
space capsule to terrorize the countryside. His first victims are a
young couple making out in a car. He then strangles a scientist
investigating the crash scene and attacks a group of young sun bathing
beauties. The Chicago Fire Department later traps the giant in the city
sewer. The plot is similar to First Man Into Space and The Snow

According to Scary Monsters Magazine issue #74, director Bill Rebane had
been introduced to Ronald Reagan (yes, THE later to be President Reagan)
in downtown Chicago early in the project and suggested that Reagan star
in the film. I’m glad Mr. Reagan never agreed to star in Monster A
Go-Go. I can’t imagine the Carter Democrats running negative political
ads on TV of Reagan starring in this film. What a disaster this would
be. Thank you President Reagan for not starring in this film!

The film concludes with one of the most confusing and lame endings in
the history of motion pictures. As the Chicago Fire Department traps the
giant in the underground sewer, a telegram from Washington is relayed to
the Chicago Police Department informing them that astronaut Frank
Douglas has been found in a lifeboat alive and well on the North
Atlantic Ocean. The giant is never captured, and the viewer is left
wondering if the giant was a second astronaut in the capsule or was he
someone who arrived from another planet. It’s a very confusing and
abrupt ending.

It’s hard to recommend a film like Monster A Go-Go. The only film worse
than this one is The Creeping Terror and Manos: The Hands of Fate.
Still, like all Z-Grade cult films, it does improve a bit with each
viewing. The plot and acting overall is really not that bad. The pacing
of the film is what kills it the most. Not much footage is shown of the
wandering space giant, which also hampers the film.

Although the film runs only 69 minutes total, it feels as if it runs six hours long. The end sequence showing the Chicago Fire Department seems to drag forever. Fans of Herschell Gordon Lewis and Bill Rebane need only apply here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have no idea why I have such a soft spot for this movie. I know it's terrible in almost every respect, yet I own the DVd and still program my DVR every time TCM telecasts the blamed thing. It's somehow addictive, trying fit all thsoe square plot-points into thsoe round logic-gaps, like I'm waiting for the "a-HA" monent whe mit all makes sense, and I can lord my superiority over everyone else. Or at least the other 106 people who have watched it too.