Review: Monster A-Go Go DVD

Monster A Go Go DVD boxSTUDIO: Synergy/Cultra | DIRECTOR: Bill Rebane, Herschell Gordon Lewis | CAST: June Travis, Peter Thompson, Phil Morton, Henry Hite
RELEASE DATE: 10/19/10 | PRICE: DVD $9.99
BONUSES: commentary, two vintage music short films, 24-page booklet with reprint of Scary Monster magazine article about the production
SPECS: NR | 70 min. | Cult science-fiction/horror | 1.33:1 fullscreen | 2.0 mono

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie  no stars | Audio | Video | Overall

Monster A-Go Go is officially the “Second Worst Movie” on the IMDB Bottom 100 list. Having screened the film, the question now is, “Can the number one entry, Superbabies: Baby Geniuses, be that bad?

In the annals of cult films, it’s hard to think of one that doesn’t actually have a following. Still, Monster A-Go Go stinks so badly that even fans of the zaniest, lamest, psychotronic piffle refuse to wallow in its stench. Trust me, you can make a better movie with your Flip camera, a cast of action figures and a brain-numbing hangover.

So you have to wonder what the crew at Synergy Entertainment was putting in their brownies as they unspooled this science-fiction/horror “gem,” which is shot in grainy black and white and illuminated with little more than a flashlight.

The dialog seems to be all dubbed, but without any ambient sound effects, so you see lips moving and hear voices having conversations, but you don’t hear footsteps, car engines or space capsules crashing — the event that gets the plot rolling … straight downhill.

Yes, an old-school Gemini-type space ship has crashed, and the astronaut is missing. Cue the single-chord organ music — one loooong note. Next thing you know, innocent people turn up horribly mutilated — not that you ever see them — and bulbous-headed scientists are brought in to figure things out. But . . . they . . . move . . . slowly. Slower even than the menacing monster, seen in the big reveal to be real-life 7’6″ Henry Hite stumbling around like a dazed zombie (that’s dazed squared) and looking like Abraham Lincoln with a bad complexion.

You want to put this on in the background of your hip Halloween party? Go ahead, it’s the ONLY time of the year you’ll want to have it on, even in background, and it will probably be ignored.

Actually, you have to give major props to the folks at Synergy for respecting this forgotten film enough to reissue it for at least the third time. There’s an interview with the director, Bill Rebane who disparages Herschell Gordon Lewis, who is said to have “taken over” the production after Rebane started in 1961 before heading off to Europe to finance his film company. (The other version of the story is that Lewis purchased the footage, added a few transitional shots and his own narration, changed the title from Terror at Halfday, and made the film part of a double-bill with Moonshine Mountain.

The DVD also has two cool, seldom-seen short films, whose value is fleeting and dependent on individual taste for dance crazes: Twist Craze, which was produced as a short film for the 1961 premiere of Frank Capra’s Pocket Full of Miracles at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre, and Dance Craze from 1962. Both have plenty of retro-cool clothes and music, all of it painfully dubbed, but what the hey…

 

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About Buzz

Buzz McClain reviews DVDs for Playboy magazine and is a former critic for Video Business magazine. But what he really wants to do is direct.