To think when I did my very first Wicked Wisconsin Wednesday, I was afraid to tackle Bill Rebane head-on and alone. When I watched my first Rebane film, The Giant Spider Invasion, I was assisted (see: cheated) by watching the Mystery Science Theater episode instead. Not this time! Despite there being an MST3K episode in existence for Monster a Go-Go! I am putting on my big girl pants and refusing to be helped out on this one.
Rebane’s 1965 film is considered one of the worst ever made, but I don’t think that’s much of a stretch for any of his films (despite how fond I really am growing of them). Though Monster a Go-Go! (along with Spider Invasion) remains one of Rebane’s most notorious films. Considering that I have watched all but one of his films, I think I shall be the ultimate judge on this, thank you.
Monster a Go-Go opens with a sort of radio-narrator who insists on interrupting us throughout the movie. But to be fair, he’s the only one I can really hear in the movie. He tells us of a rocket that went silent after launch and no one has been able to find the astronaut or the capsule.
A search team is sent out with the police. The police are chatting with the helicopter on the radio when they hear him scream. They eventually find the helicopter, not too far from the capsule. The pilot is “shrivelled” (he’s not) with burn marks around him. But the astronaut is nowhere to be found.
Later that night (?) a bunch of kids are out having a swinging party. A girl is dancing with her friends when her boyfriend pulls her away, ruining the party. The narrator tells us that fate would have been different if she would have simply danced with her boyfriend instead of those other boys. If she would have stopped being a tramp, her randy boyfriend wouldn’t have been killed by a ten-foot-tall radioactive man.
A group of scientists involved are trying to figure out what has gone wrong with their project and find out what happened to their astronaut – all while dealing with people getting picked off by the tall coral-face man. Members of their team go. More randoms that we don’t care about. But all the ladies sunbathing seem to get away alright.
There is a subplot about the astronaut’s family, but don’t worry, that doesn’t matter about halfway through. Instead we are treated to two men and a assistant dealing with the bodies. The woman claims that all the victims look “shrivelled” because their blood had been turned to dust.
One of the scientists has been mucking about by giving an antidote to the man. It’s not really explained how the scientists got ahold of the specimen, but he’s got loose anyway. And really, the last thirty minutes or so of this film is utterly dull and disjointed. Even if it did make sense I wouldn’t know because I could hardly hear anything that was going on the audio was so shoddy.
But I can tell they want to get rid of the radioactive man. They (whoever they is at this point) decide to set a trap for the monster before he starts to spread the radiation to the people around the area. He falls for it but after two men in their led-suits follow him into a sewer tunnel, they find that he’s disappeared. While waiting for the two men to come back, everyone above ground receive a telegram saying that the astronaut has returned.
The narrator (who, by the end of the movie, is the only character that I seem to know about at this point) alerts us that this could be a “cosmic switch,” which is possibly what has happened to my brain midway through this movie.
This is by far one of the weirdest Rebane films. This is mostly due to the fact that this isn’t entirely his. Apparently he ran out of money and wasn’t able to finish the film, but when Herschell Gordon Lewis (director of the delightful Wizard of Gore) is the second, unnamed director of the film. He picked up Rebane’s film several years after he abandoned it in 1961 and finished the film off with other actors when he couldn’t get the original cast together, which really explains how I didn’t have a freaking clue what was going on in this film. Though it’s still more watchable than Invasion From Inner Earth – which I personally rank at one of the worst Rebane outings. But that could also be because this film clocks in at a tidy 68 minutes.
But I do think Rebane’s unusual style is apparent in the parts he had filmed. Name the weird dance scene, because every Rebane film needs a dance scene. And really, a film with such a cracking title deserves more dance scenes and swinging, hip kids.
I dunno, there wasn’t enough dancing this movie for me, so you can have Smokey Robinson as a substitute: