March 06, 2007

More Hippy Horror

Some time ago, I listed a whole bunch of movies that I wanted to track down and see, based simply on their descriptions. One of them was Track of the Moon Beast, and here's the synopsis that was given in the catalog:

During a meteor storm, a fragment strikes Paul Carlson, burying itself deep in his skull. An unpleasant side-effect develops causing Paul to mutate into a giant reptilian monster at night and go on murderous rampages.

I've recently added Track of the Moon Beast to my collection. Just for a change, I'm going to live-review this flick as I watch it.

Opening scene: an astronomer gazes into the night sky and focuses in on a flaming fireball. Really bad special effect.

Quick cut to an indian dance and chant ceremony, then back to the cheesy fireball. We find out via a news report that it's a meteorite that's going to hit the moon.

Joe Stud (Paul Carlson) shows up, takes off his shirt and begins carefully excavating a small bone in the ground. Apparently he's an archeologist. Funny thing though, after delicately brushing away the dirt from around the bone, he carelessly drives the shovel into the ground not two feet away to get it out of his way.

Professor buddy shows up, named Johnny Longbow. Another indian reference. Two graduate students accompany him, and we learn that the thing they just threw on the ground was an ancient Indian burial mask that they'd borrowed from a museum.

Bimbo photographer also introduces herself. Short shorts. Big blond hair.

He's not an archeologist, nor an anthropologist, he's a minerologist. What's he messing with bones for?

News report: impact on moon was "beyond the end of the Richter scale". NASA keeps reassuring everyone that all the ejecta headed towards the Earth will burn up in the atmosphere. The grad students are raving over the "authentic indian meal" that the professor made. When they ask what's in it, he rattles off chicken, corn, green pepper, chilies, onions... Wow, that's some serious ethnic cooking.

Joe Stud takes the photographer up to the top of a mountain. They're falling for each other. She's changed clothes, kind of, still short shorts.

Pretty good meteor storm, right up until one zings into the ground right near them. The photographer dabs a cloth at Studs temple, where he's bleeding a little from the meteorite grazing him. He snags the cloth from her good naturedly and flings it to the ground. Way to go, eco-boy. He finds the meteorite that almost nailed them and waits for it to cool off (maybe 10 seconds) before putting it into his pocket.

The photographer was hired for looks, not for acting talent. Either that, or the casting director was related to the producer.

They wind up at his place, where they have some deep soul-searching conversation before he scares the shit out of her by introducing her to his pet Komodo Dragon.

Hippy music!!! Yay! A Tom Petty wannabe on accoustic guitar accompanied by a bass and a chick singing harmony. Hint to bass player, don't wear black if the spotlight isn't on you. Looking at this 70's crowd, I'm thinking it might be a zombie movie, but no, they're all just "grooving" on the music.

Costume change! Photographer wearing a dress-kinda thing, still short short, but proves that she's not completely flat-chested. She looks nice, if only she'd stop trying to act. More indian lore and references, they're really pushing that aspect. We get it already.

Twenty seven minutes into this flick before the first murder happens. Still no monster shot, no gore, just a puddle of blood and some screams.

Next morning, police chief calls in Professor Johnny, shows him a bloody handprint on the wall (super-sized) and then a footprint in the mud. It's a dinosaur footprint.

Pink short shorts and matching terry top.

Chief and Professor see an expert over at the university, and when the Chief expresses disbelief that anything that large can be living in New Mexico, both of the academics assure him that lizards that large do exist. It takes a minute to realize that they're both talking about Komodo Dragons in Indonesia! The footprint though, is from something "closely related to Tyrannosaurus Rex!" (cue scary music)

The professor makes all of his own archery equipment (Johnny Longbow, get it?), right down to chipping flint arrowheads. He keeps it in the back of his car, along with two ears of maize for impromptu demonstrations.

Forty minutes in, we get our first look at the monster as he kills four guys in a tent. The monster looks like a man in a lizard-suit, minus the tail. It's pretty pathetic, as is the gore and special-effects. Particularly pitiful is the arm being ripped off.

Photographer dress-up day! Maroon business outfit over pale-pink blouse. Still short shorts though.

Stud's Komodo Dragon escaped at some point, and he doesn't seem the least bit concerned. He sure get a lot of shirtless time in this movie. Oh, and he's got a chunk of meteorite embedded in his brain.

Professor Longbow is showing the police chief a series of 400 year old paintings that depict an ancient lizard demon attack. I'm no indian painting expert, but those were drawn by a third grader told to paint like an indian.

Fifty-one minutes. Scientific mumbo-jumbo alert! At least the professor says he doesn't really know, just before launching into a detailed nonsense explanation.

Joe Stud is tied down in the hospital so they can see if he turns into a lizard monster overnight. Theory confirmed. There's a fairly well done sequence of him turning into the monster, up to the last scene, which really doesn't follow from any of the prior physical changes. He's shook up when he realizes that he's killed six people.

VIP's. Gotta hate 'em. "May we get off the plane first, please? (we're very important)". "Of course, that's already been arranged."

Experts have been brought in, but Joe Stud is screwed. His solution is to run away from the hospital to commit suicide. Photographer (monotone): "Oh Paul, why couldn't there be time for us?" Dressed in a tight white top and tighter black slacks.

How convenient, someone leaves a motorcycle running (and helmet) in front of the hospital just as Joe Stud comes out to make his escape.

One hour, eight minutes. Piss-poor motorcycle spill. Obviously every expense was spared when it comes to stunt performers.

The photographer randomly pulls off the road and grabs a pair of binoculars. She spends 10 seconds scanning a mountain and zeroes in on Joe Stud among the rocks. At least she looks both ways before crossing the road.

Another nice scene of transformation into the monster, this time focusing on his hand. Two cops on the road hear the photographer screaming halfway up the mountain and start to fire into the darkness, as if they could see anything.

Professor Longbow pulls out his bow and a special arrow. He's made a special arrowhead out of meteorite. I'd be a lot more confident if he wasn't lashing it to the shaft while he explained what he wanted to do.

Photographer lies to everyone else (again) and drives off. She takes a random turn and slams on the brakes because the monster is right in front of her. Instantly, professor shows up, takes aim and puts the arrow into the monster's chest.

Pretty special effects, mostly ruined by everyone standing ten feet away while monster disintigrates in spectacular fashion. This thing was supposed to be atomically unstable, shouldn't you be getting the hell away from it?

No closing credits. Huh.

This wasn't the hippy-fest I was expecting. The hairstyles and clothing was seriously 70's, and except for that one goofy song, the soundtrack was conventional monster movie fare. Pretty bad, but not in a bad way. Don't go out of your way to see it, but if it comes on tv and every single thing you've ever wanted to do with your life has already been done, then I suppose...

Posted by Ted at March 6, 2007 09:49 PM | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

As I read this, I was thinking: this movie sounds familiar. I remember both the lizard and the band. (California Lady?)
I feel better realizing that yes, I did see it, but it was on MST3K.

Posted by: nic at March 7, 2007 04:55 PM

Oh yeah, California Lady. I'm surprised MST3K did this movie, it wasn't as awful as their usual. Then again, it was public domain, so they didn't have to pay big bucks for the rights to crucify it. Wish I could've seen it.

Posted by: Ted at March 8, 2007 05:59 AM

Speaking of cheesy horror movies, we should have a night out and go see Black Sheep when it comes out. Naked Villainy has a trailer, in a post called, "The Violence of the Lambs." Looks like the right kind of stupid.

Posted by: buckethead at March 8, 2007 11:26 AM

I agree Buckethead! It comes out June 22nd, and you gotta love the idea of genetically mutated killer sheep. B-a-a-a-a-d.

Posted by: Ted at March 9, 2007 07:48 AM

Exceptional examine, I just passed this onto a colleague who was carrying out slightly research on that. And he actually bought me lunch for the reason that I located it for him smile So permit me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

Posted by: Angel Ozzella at December 15, 2012 06:37 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Site Meter